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:

  • Representing Yourself at a Criminal Trial, from the Legal Services Society, explains the people that are involved in a Criminal Court case, what will happen when you go to court, what happens at trial, and contains a basic glossary of terms. It also contains a sample letter you can use to get information about your case before your first appearance.
  • 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.
  • How Criminal Trial Works, from the Justice Education Society, explains how a criminal trial works and common terms used in court. The information relates to criminal trials in BC Supreme Courts and Provincial Courts.
  • 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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Last reviewed July 2015

charged with a crime, representing yourself, starting your case, criminal court, rights of accused, rights of offenders, criminal defense