What should I do after being charged with a criminal offence?

If you have been charged or are being investigated, hiring a Calgary criminal defence lawyer is important. I can explain the strategy for fighting these charges, the repercussions of a guilty plea, the nature of a peace bond if applicable, and other related aspects of your charges. Contact us now at 587-888-7149 for a free consultation.

Do not speak with anyone about the allegations against you.

You do not know who may be called as a potential witness or what others may report to the police. You do not want to jeopardize your chance of fighting your case to the fullest.

While television shows may depict a certain image of how the law and justice system run, they are generally not accurate. I have years of experience and have gone through years of rigorous education and training to handle the intricacies of the law and rigorously defend my clients. Speaking with me will also help alleviate some of your fears and answer questions you may have. I will also be able to direct you towards different resources or legal options available to you if you are concerned about finances. Your financial means need not determine the outcome of your case. I provide a free initial consultation to help you figure out your next steps based on the circumstances of your unique case.

The papers you receive from the police when you are charged will indicate the date of your first court appearance as well as a date for which you must attend to the police station to have your fingerprints taken for most offences. You must attend for fingerprinting either before or on the date listed in your paperwork. If I am retained, I will make the first court appearance for you so you will not have to attend; otherwise, you must ensure you attend this first appearance. Failure to attend either this first appearance or for fingerprinting may result in new criminal charges being laid against you.

What does it mean to retain a lawyer?

Retaining a lawyer means you are hiring the lawyer to take your case. Usually a retainer fee will be payable for a lawyer to start working on your case. Each lawyer will have different fees and different services included in this “retainer”. 

What is disclosure and how or when will I receive it?

Disclosure is a compilation of the evidence the crown prosecutor has in relation to your case. It will include various documents either obtained or prepared by the police and may also include photographs, video and audio recordings such as CCTV, police officers’ body worn camera footage, wiretap evidence, and statements made or given to the police.

Should you retain me as your lawyer, I will request the disclosure from the crown. The time it takes for the crown to provide disclosure to me will vary depending on the volume of disclosure. It may take anywhere from mere days to months for the crown to provide disclosure, and it may come in multiple batches over the course of time. In most jurisdictions, the disclosure is provided electronically. Once I have obtained it, I will thoroughly review it to be in a position to give you advice regarding the legal options and potential defences available. Oftentimes not everything is included in the initial or subsequent disclosure I receive, and additional time may be required to request the relevant material and receive them. Awaiting complete disclosure can be a lengthy process at times, but is crucial to have as much of the disclosure as possible for me to make a fulsome assessment of the case against you and your available options. Consider this as the seeds for building your case and defence.

I will then take the time to thoroughly review the disclosure with you so you are informed of the case against you, your available legal options, and then obtain your instructions on what you would like to do. While I provide the legal advice, ultimately you are in the best position to determine for yourself what is an agreeable and suitable course of action for your life and what you would like to see the results or outcome be. It is an assessment you will have to make based on your own values and future plans. No one else can tell you what decision you should make or will be best for you.

Will I have to go to trial?

Not necessarily.

It is a common misconception that every charge leads to a trial. Each case is highly fact dependent and there are a variety of ways your matter may be resolved before ever having to resort to or consider going to trial.

Will I go to jail?

Not necessarily.

Criminal law is very complex, and each offence has different sentencing requirements and options available. Not all offences require or result in jail. There may be a fine or probation or some other resolution available. You may also be found not guilty or the case against you “dropped” (withdrawn). Once I am retained and upon reviewing your disclosure, I will be able to advise what jeopardy you are potentially facing.

Will I have a criminal record?

It will depend on the outcome of your case. Certain sentences and outcomes result in a criminal record, while others do not. Some are in between where you will not have a formal record of a conviction, but it may still show up on certain types of police record checks. Some of these records may be available for you to apply to have them erased after certain periods of time. I can advise you of the potential you will receive a criminal record once I am retained, look at the particulars of your case, and the proposed legal options or outcomes.

I have been charged in relation to a domestic violence allegation, when can I go home or have contact with my partner or spouse?

The documents given to you by the police or the documents you receive after having a bail hearing in front of a justice of the peace or a judge will contain any conditions you may be under and must abide by. You must follow these conditions or restrictions until a court amends them or determines/rules otherwise. Call me to discuss your options and potential to have conditions changed depending on your unique circumstances.

Will a criminal charge or conviction impact my immigration status in Canada?

Criminal charges and/or conviction have the potential to impact your immigration status. In addition to speaking with me regarding your criminal charge(s), I will advise you of the potential outcomes of your matter. The nature of your charges, and the potential outcomes will be important information for you to consider as it relates to your immigration status. I will be in a position to refer you to an immigration lawyer for a free consultation to fully review your individual immigration case. It may be that I am able to have your charges withdrawn completely, the best possible outcome. Of course, if that is the case, then the potential impact on your immigration status can be greatly reduced. 

Can I travel after being charged or convicted of a criminal offence?

Being able to travel (in particular to the United States) after being charged will depend on the any conditions associated with your release, and the type of criminal or drug charge(s) you are facing. If you are planning on travelling, and your conditions of release do not permit travel, call me to discuss your options and the potential to have conditions changed depending on your unique circumstances. Certain countries may also deny entry if you are awaiting your matter to be dealt with before Canadian courts. Travel after a conviction depends on various factors including the offence and country you plan on travelling to.

What are my rights if I have been arrested?

If you have been arrested, you have the right to contact a lawyer for advice, without delay. The police have an obligation to provide you with the means and opportunity to speak with a lawyer. Speaking with a lawyer upon your arrest can be one of the most important calls you will make. Obtaining legal advice before the police have an opportunity to try to elicit a statement from you means you will be better equipped to deal with police tactics that may cause you to incriminate yourself. Contact me immediately if you have been arrested. 

What types of defences are available to me if I have been charged?

Once you have been charged, the police will provide the crown prosecutor’s office with the disclosure package. That disclosure package will contain what the police allege is the evidence against you. Once I am retained, I will thoroughly review the disclosure package and will then be able to make an assessment as to what defences would be available to you. It may be that the crown prosecutor would not be able to prove that you had the intent to commit the crime, or, it may be that they cannot prove the identity of the person who committed the crime. Other defences available in certain circumstances include self-defence, entrapment, provocation, necessity and duress. Each specific case requires a complete review of the disclosure, along with discussions with the client to determine what defences are available.

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