Ask A Lawyer: When your freedom is on the line, LAA is here to help

Communications and Public Relations
August 03, 2021

Many Albertans find themselves at a disadvantage if they’re arrested and being held in custody by police. 

They can be too frightened, confused, or overwhelmed to exercise their rights or make informed decisions.  

It’s a more common situation than you might think. In 2020, Legal Aid Alberta’s Justice of the Peace Bail lawyers handled nearly 30,000 bail hearings – their services are running 16 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year!

Legal Aid Alberta lawyer Melina Yannacoulis appears on the Aug. 3, 2021 Ask A Lawyer segment of the Global Morning Show in Edmonton.

Watch: What’s at Stake in Bail Hearings? Your freedom.

There’s a lot at stake on a  bail hearing.

Everyone in Canada is guaranteed a bail hearing within 24 hours of arrest, but you only get one hearing. If bail is denied, you could spend another 30 days in custody before you can appeal that decision.

LAA is here to guide people through this process. People who represent themselves, who aren’t lawyers, can make some very costly errors. At the hearing they may raise address issues like having to be home to feed a pet, or to be at work the next day. But the legal criteria for release focuses more on matters like stability and connections to the community, employment, plans to ensure they return to court to answer charges, and so on.

Ask A Lawyer is broadcast the first Tuesday of every month on Edmonton’s Global Morning Show.

Have a topic idea?
Email topics@legalaid.ab.ca

Previously on Ask A Lawyer:
Ask A Lawyer: The Vital Role of Duty Counsel

Ask A Lawyer: Indigenous Courts and Restorative Justice

Ask A Lawyer: Mental Health and the Law

Ask A Lawyer: Immigration and Refugee Claims During the Pandemic

Ask A Lawyer: Teenagers and Crime

Ask A Lawyer: Child Support Payment