I’ve been charged with Failure to Attend, Failure to Appear, or Failure to Comply with Undertaking. What do I need to know?

4. Figure out if you have a defence

You can defend yourself in a criminal by showing:

  • the Crown has not proven all of the elements of the crime
  • your situation fits into a legal defence in the Criminal Code
  • your Charter rights were violated

For a of Failure to Attend, Failure to Appear, or Failure to Comply with Undertaking, you may also have a defence if:

  • You made an honest mistake about the time and place you were meant to go somewhere. For example, you wrote down the wrong date on your calendar.
  • You were unable to get there for an unavoidable reason. For example, you were in the hospital or you got into a car accident on the way to court.
  • You forgot the date and you made a reasonable effort to find out the correct date, but you didn't find the date until it was too late. For example, you called the court and the 's office multiple times, but no one could tell you the correct date.

Think about what you can use to present your defence. Evidence might include:

  • documents, such as hospital records
  • photos or videos
  • witnesses who saw the incident
  • telling your version of the story in court

Charter violations

The Charter of Rights and Freedoms says that you have certain rights when you're dealing with government. The government includes the police, the Crown, and the courts. For example, the police must:

  • not search you in an unreasonable way
  • not use excessive force against you
  • not or you without a good reason
  • help you contact a lawyer if want one
  • explain why you're detained or arrested

If any of your Charter rights are violated, the judge can throw out certain evidence in your case. In some situations, the judge may even dismiss your charges completely, for example, if it takes too long to give you a trial.

It can be legally complicated to discover Charter violations and know how to present them in court. It's best to talk to a lawyer before your trial to find out if there are Charter issues and how to deal with them.

Hide this website