Common Questions

I’ve been charged with a crime. How do I defend myself?

If you are charged with a crime, you have certain legal rights. The resources below provide a good starting point for understanding what those rights are, the options you have and what you need to do, as well as the steps involved in representing yourself if you are not able to afford a lawyer or get legal aid.

Good starting points include:

  • If You Are Charged with a Crime, from the Legal Services Society, describes the court process and what the options are. It also outlines your legal rights, what a lawyer can do, how to find a lawyer, and how to get legal aid or other legal help.
  • Defending Yourself Against a Criminal Charge, from the Canadian Bar Association BC Branch, gives you information about the process if you are defending yourself in a trial.
  • Representing Yourself in Criminal Court , from the Justice Education Society, is a set of fact sheets for representing yourself in a criminal trial.
  • LSLAP Manual: Criminal Law, from the UBC Law Students Legal Advice Program, describes what happens at trial. Look in the section “Criminal Procedure.”
Also see: 

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charged with a crime, representing yourself, starting your case, criminal court