I have been charged with a criminal offence, what should I do?
The first thing you need to do is to call a criminal defence lawyer immediately in order to understand your rights. A criminal lawyer will help you understand the criminal law procedural process as well as the importance of attending your first court appearance. It’s critical that you do not make any decisions without a consultation with a criminal defence lawyer first, particularly because a rash decision can be costly for your case. Everything that you say to a criminal lawyer remains confidential.
Can I resolve my case quickly?
Every case is different. The timing depends on the complexity of the case and the discussions that take place between a criminal defence lawyer and the Crown Attorney. Procedurally, court scheduling also plays a role in how long it takes to resolve your case. Our goal is to resolve your case as quickly as possible, with minimal impact to your daily life.
Do I have to appear in court or can my lawyer appeal for me?
It depends on whether you retained a criminal defence lawyer. Our practice is to appear in court for you, without you having to appear yourself. This allows you to continue your life with minimal disruptions. In order for a lawyer to appear in court for you, a designation of counsel must be filed with the court in some instances by your lawyer.
The Police have showed up at my door. Do I have to talk to them?
The short answer is no, you do not. If the police obtained a warrant or there are exigent circumstances, it is likely that you would have to open the door. You have the right to examine the warrant if the police claim they have one. There are some situations which would require the police to use force to break into your home. Call us immediately upon your first available opportunity if this occurs.
Am I required to provide a statement to police?
You have no legal obligation to provide a statement to the police. If the police are questioning you about your involvement in a crime, even if they are persistent, they are not doing this to help you. The police are actively trying to obtain evidence to be used against you. Generally speaking, everything you say is video and audio recorded. These recordings can be used against you later on as your case progresses. You have the right to remain silent and it is a right that you should exercise. Always be respectful with the police and just decline their invitation to talk about the case. Express your desire to speak to a lawyer.
What happens during my first court appearance?
If you have been charged with a criminal offence, there are several ways in which you can be summoned to court. If you have been given a promise to appear, you will have a court date and courtroom number in the notice. This is not your trial date, at this stage, you will have to appear in court in front of a judge or a justice of the peace. You will likely receive your package of initial disclosure, which is the evidence that the state intends to rely upon against you. Be prepared to spend an entire day in the courthouse if you have not retained a lawyer. Call us to ask about your first appearance at no cost to you.
How do I pick a lawyer?
Picking a lawyer can be challenging. Large firms often source out the most important part of a criminal law file to articling students, which can be detrimental to your case. We believe in working on the entire file from start to finish without sourcing out work. We become intimately familiar with every aspect of your file. It is also important to be comfortable with your lawyer as this is the person who will fight for you. We do our best to answer your questions and are dedicated to our craft. We live and breathe every aspect of the law and are here to protect your rights.
I have never been charged with a criminal offence, what should I do?
We often get calls from clients charged with different types of crimes where the natural inclination is to simply tell the police that they are innocent, hoping that the case will end right there and then. Unfortunately, the threshold to lay charges in Canada is low. A simple allegation against you can often times net criminal charges, even if you did nothing wrong. This is often true with domestic assault cases, where one partner makes frivolous allegations against their own partner in the heat of the moment. A criminal defence lawyer will be able to assess the case and point to the weaknesses in the evidence against you in order to have the charges withdrawn completely.