The criminal justice process can be overwhelming and intimidating. It is important to make sure that, as an accused person that you know and understand your rights.
There are a number of fundamental rights that a person is entitled to exercise in Canada, such as the right to counsel and right to remain silent. In addition, an accused must be presumed innocent until proven guilty and the prosecution (the Crown) bears the onus of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that an accused person is guilty of the crime for which he or she is charged.
Our firm offers aggressive, comprehensive and effective representation in the following areas:
- Assault, including sexual assault
- Driving Offences
- Fraud & Theft
- Bail Hearings
- Drug charges
- Young Offenders
- Break & Enter
- Weapon Offences
We represent both adults and youths aged 12 to 17, providing the following services:
- Meeting with a member of our firm to discuss your case
- Providing a brief overview of the anticipated process
- Devising a plan and strategy for your defense representation
- Collecting witness statements and alibi evidence
- Requesting full disclosure (Disclosure refers to documents that inform the Defendant of the evidence against him or her.)
- Speaking to the Crown and Judge when appropriate
- Requesting an adjournment when appropriate
Crown Resolution Meeting:
- Exploring alternative ways to resolve the matter
- Discussing with the prosecution the reasonable prospect of conviction and whether the Crown can satisfy the court beyond a reasonable doubt of the guilt of the client
- Discussing missing disclosure
- Narrowing issues
- Discussing Charter and other applications or pre-trial motions
- Seeking input from the judge
- Reaching a satisfactory resolution of the charge
- Preparing pre-trial and at-trial applications
- Preparing witnesses for testifying and for cross-examination by the prosecution
- Preparing to cross-examine witnesses for the prosecution
- Securing and preparing expert witnesses
- Voir dire hearings (having to do with the admissibility of evidence)
- Presentation of evidence
Our firm is experienced in criminal law. We are dedicated to achieving the best result for each client.
A bail hearing refers to instances in which an arrested person is not released directly from the police station and must attend before a judge or a justice of the peace to determine whether or not they should be released awaiting their trial or disposition of the matter.
Detention is only justified if it is deemed necessary on one or more of the following grounds:
- To ensure that the accused attends court when required (e.g. if they have a history of non-attendance)
- To ensure that the community is safe during interim judicial release (e.g. is there a previous criminal record and evidence of non-compliance with previous orders)
- To maintain confidence in the administration of justice when looking at the strength of the prosecutions’ case, the circumstances around the commission of the offence and the potential for a lengthy jail sentence.
The onus is typically on the Crown to persuade the court that an accused person should not be released. However, there are instances where the onus is reversed. It is important to have legal representation at a bail hearing so that a release plan can be presented with conditions that would satisfy a court that detention is not justified. Such conditions may include:
- Surety release
- Posting a cash bond
- Reporting to police station on a periodic basis
- No contact or communication with certain people
- No driving depending on the allegations
- No alcohol
- Attend counseling
- No telephone or computer use (depending on type of offence)
- No use of credit cards or debit cards (depending on the offece)
Under the Criminal Code, there are two broad categories of offences, “summary” and “indictable”. Summary offences tend to be less serious offences. Trial is in the Ontario Court of Justice by a judge alone. Indictable offences are more serious and the punishment tends to be higher. An accused person has the option of being tried for an indictable offence by a jury or by a judge alone in the Superior Court of Justice. There are also “hybrid offences” where the prosecution can elect to prosecute either “summarily” or by “indictment”.
Avoiding a criminal record or conviction is important because it can have an impact on your employment, your ability to travel abroad or even, in some circumstances your immigration or citizenship status. A conviction or a finding of guilt related to theft or a crime of dishonesty could affect your ability to work in bonded industries or to travel outside of Canada. A conviction or a finding of guilt for violence based crimes could affect your ability to work in vulnerable sectors or even attend your child’s school trips as a volunteer. In the case of youth matters, a youth record generally is kept sealed from use when you are an adult. However, if you are charged as an adult there maybe circumstances where a youth record is introduced, especially if it is relevant and closer in time to your adult charges.
In some instances, the prosecution may agree to diversion or alternative measures as a means to resolve a criminal matter. What this means is that instead of an accused person acknowledging guilt, he or she performs community service or undergoes counseling or makes restitution in return for the charge being withdrawn. In some instances a peace bond might be available, whereby an accused person is provided an opportunity to make a voluntary promise to the court without any acknowledgement of wronging doing that they will abide by certain conditions, keep the peace and be of good behavior for a period of time in exchange for having the charges withdrawn.
If you do have a criminal record you may be able to apply for a pardon if you demonstrate that the criminal sentence is completed and that you are now a law abiding citizen. A pardon will take your criminal record out of the criminal record database pools so that when an employer does a criminal records check it should not cause you any prejudice.