- After investigating a case the police may decide to charge someone.
- Being charged with a crime does not mean you are guilty.
- You will have to appear in court to deal with the charge.
If you have difficulty understanding or speaking English a translator can help you. If you ask for a translator the police may be able to provide one. With or without a translator, remember you do not have to say anything to the police. You also still have the right to talk to a lawyer.
Being charged with a crime by the police does not mean that you are guilty of that crime. It means the police have some evidence that they think shows you committed the crime. It means you will have to go to court. However, once you are in court the charges against you must be proven. You are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
The police can charge you with a crime without arresting you. In other cases you may be arrested and charged but still released before going to court.
If you are charged but not arrested - or you are released after being charged - the police will give you an appearance notice or a promise to appear in court. These are legal forms that say...
- when and where you must appear in court
- if and when you must go to the police station to be photographed and fingerprinted
The police can also require you to sign a recognizance. This is a form where you agree to pay money to the court if you do not appear on your court date.
If you were arrested with a warrant the police can put conditions on your release. Conditions could include things like:
- remaining in the area
- telling police of any change in address or employment
- not communicating with certain people or going to certain places
- reporting to the police
- depositing your passport (the conditions will say how and when you do this)
- not drinking alcohol or taking drugs
- not having any firearms
If you do not appear in court or report to the police station when you are supposed to, you can be charged with a crime known as "failing to appear."
If you are convicted of a crime it could affect your immigration status. You should talk to a lawyer as soon as possible. For more information see Criminal Consequences.
Published on October 21, 2016.