DO I HAVE TO HAVE A TRIAL?
No. Trials can be time consuming, expensive, stressful, and taxing. Oftentimes, I am able to explore options that will leave you with resolution of the matter without a criminal record and without a conviction. If you wish to explore other options before resorting to trial, I am more than happy to help facilitate this process and guide you in the right direction. There are various options I can explore with you to help find a resolution to your matter. The process is generally called “Early Case Resolution”. The basic premise is that I will complete the work necessary to approach the crown prosecutor to try to obtain the best possible resolution of your matter.
WITHDRAWAL OF THE CHARGES
In reviewing your file in detail, I am often able to find weaknesses in the crown’s case In certain cases, there may be enough weaknesses in the crown’s case that they might be willing to drop the charges altogether. This is the best-case scenario. Sometimes even if the crown does have a viable case, there may be a lack of public interest or reason for them to pursue your case, this is another basis upon which charges may be dropped. With this process, I take an in depth look at your case/disclosure for any weaknesses and errors made by the police. It also takes skillful negotiating on my part to convince the crown this is the right course of action. I am highly successful in many instances/occasions to have charges dropped.
The Alternative Measures Program, otherwise known as AMP may be available to resolve your case without a conviction. The AMP is a diversionary program, meaning your matter is diverted out of the criminal justice system. In order to make a case for your eligibility in the program, I will approach the crown and provide them with reasons why your case should be referred to AMP. If accepted into the program, AMP gives you alternatives to deal with your charges and have them withdrawn at the completion of the program. The program administrators will require you to complete various tasks which can include making a charitable donation, writing an apology letter, paying restitution, attending a program or counselling, or some other measure. Upon completion, your charges will be withdrawn. Speak with me today to see if your case and charges may be eligible!
MENTAL HEALTH DIVERSION
Mental Health Diversion, otherwise known as MHD is another diversionary program that works in conjunction with Alberta Health Services that also results in your charges being withdrawn after successful completion of all requirements. If you have confirmed or even suspected mental health concerns or diagnoses, this program allows you gain supports, resources, and treatment needed to get your life back on track. An assessment will be completed, and they will then work with you to craft goals and support you in achieving them. Speak with me today to see if your situation may fit the criteria!
Where the above options may not apply to you or you may not be eligible, I am often still able to work out a deal with the crown where they will still agree to withdraw your charges if you do similar things that may be asked of you if you were formally in one of the above programs. For example, if you provide proof of counselling that you undertook to attend on your own, or perhaps a donation you made, this can sometimes suffice as an informal completion of a diversionary measure to have your charges dropped. The result is often that I am able to have your charges dropped sooner than if participating in one of the formal diversionary programs. This also takes negotiation with the crown to have them agree to such a resolution, so please contact me to see if this is a possibility for you.
Where you may be facing more serious charges or you have a more extensive criminal record and the Crown is not willing to withdraw your charges or you don’t meet diversionary program requirements, but you still don’t want to go to trial, I can approach the crown to see what plea deal they can offer. Not all plea deals are good, so it takes a knowledgeable and experienced lawyer such as myself, to be able to know what is worth taking or not. It also takes skilled negotiation and disclosure review to find holes in the Crown’s case to give them reasons why you should have a lower sentence than what you might otherwise get. Plea bargaining is an advanced skill that requires patience and strategy, contact me to discuss your situation.
Another option that allows you to avoid going to trial and results in a withdrawal of your charges is to enter into a peace bond. Peace bonds are similar to probation whereby you will be required to follow certain conditions for a period of time and if successful, your charges are dropped leaving you with no criminal record or conviction. Peace bonds only apply in certain situations and to have a crown agree to one takes thorough discussions with the crown as to why this is an appropriate course of action. Speak with me today to discuss if this is a potential option for you.