What Can You Expect?
Being charged with a criminal offence can mean a stressful time for you and your loved ones. As I help you with the situation, my promise is an effective defence at a reasonable rate.
How much will it cost?*
If you are eligible for Legal Aid:
I will accept Legal Aid for virtually all cases in Kitchener, as well as for some cases at courthouses outside of Kitchener.
If you are not eligible for Legal Aid:
For most matters, I charge "block fees", or a fixed rate, so that you know at the start what my fees will be. The following are examples of the most common block fees*:
For 'drinking and driving' cases that relate to a single incident with no serious aggravating features (for example: no accident, no injuries, no additional charges), I require an initial retainer of $2,000. If it goes to trial (that is, if you decide to plead "not guilty" and fight the charge), I charge an additional $4,000, for a total of $6,000 including HST.
For simple domestic violence cases (single incident), I require an initial retainer of $2,000. If it goes to trial (that is, if you decide to plead "not guilty" and fight the charge), I charge an additional $4,000, for a total of $6,000 including HST.
For matters that are billed hourly (typically, these are more complicated, serious, or unusual cases), I charge $200 per hour plus HST. For such matters, I require a $2,000 initial retainer, and then will ask for the retainer to be 'topped up' as my work on your case continues. In such cases, at the outset, I will also provide, in writing in our retainer agreement, a total maximum price that my fees will not exceed.
*The fees quoted in this section are for informational purposes only. As every case is different, I cannot guarantee that any example given will apply in your case. Additionally, the fees quoted here do not include certain things, which I exclude from my 'normal' quotes because many cases never require these things. For example:
1) Mileage if I need to travel outside Kitchener for your case (for travel time, I charge $100/hour based on the 'normal' travel time it takes to get to the courthouse in question from my office in Kitchener),
2) Any fees paid for the services of a person other than myself (the most common examples are expert witnesses, process servers, or agents to appear for me occasionally if your case is outside Kitchener and this would save you money on mileage),
3) Any other expenses incidental to appearing at a distant courthouse,
4) Bail variations. I charge $200 plus HST for variations with the consent of the Crown Attorney. For variations that are contested (that is, I have to go to court and argue for them), I charge my hourly rate up to a maximum of $2,000 plus HST,
5) Any new charges that come up after you hire me (those charges would need to be subject to a separate retainer agreement). This also applies to any new charges laid in relation to the original incident - for example, if the police "upgrade" a charge of "simple possession" to "possession for the purpose of trafficking", this would require a new retainer agreement with a higher price. In such a situation, if the new price is too high, you don't have to keep me as your lawyer,
6) Bail hearings. I charge a block fee of $800 plus HST for the first day of a contested bail hearing, Plus $400 for each additional half-day. Note that well over 90% of bail hearings finish on the first day. If I can negotiate a release with the consent of the Crown, my fee is $300 plus HST.
7) Bail reviews (that is, you want to 'appeal' the original bail decision in your case). For this service, i charge my hourly rate up to a maximum of $2,000 plus HST, and
8) Transcripts of court proceedings.
What do you have to do?
If you retain me as your lawyer, I can handle most of your case for you. However, there are a few decisions that are up to you, and it's important that you decide for yourself. In particular, you must decide whether to plead guilty or not. Furthermore, if your matter goes to trial, you must decide whether you wish to testify at your trial. As your lawyer, I can provide advice on these questions, but the ultimate decision is yours.
If you retain me, I will have you sign a form, called a Designation of Counsel. This form will allow me to attend court on your behalf, so you don't have to worry about going for every routine appearance. However, if you decide to plead guilty, you must attend court when you do so. You also must attend court, of course, for your trial date(s).
The Criminal Justice Process:
The justice system can seem incomprehensible if it's your first time navigating it. Here are some of the steps involved:
The First Appearances
At your first appearance (or at your lawyer's appearance on your behalf), you will usually receive an initial disclosure package. This includes some of the documents that the Crown will rely on when trying to prove its case against you. The next appearances are usually required to complete the disclosure, as there are often certain items missing from that initial package.
Crown Pretrial/Resolution Meeting
After disclosure has been substantially completed, your lawyer will attend a meeting with the Crown Attorney. The purpose of this meeting is to see what the Crown's position might be if you plead guilty. Sometimes matters are resolved at this stage.
Judicial Pretrial (JPT)
After a Crown Pretrial, the next step is a conference between a Judge, the Crown, and your lawyer. At this stage, it is often already known whether a matter will proceed to trial, or whether the accused person might plead guilty. If it will proceed to trial, the purpose of the JPT is to determine how long the trial might take, and what the issues might be. If you might plead guilty, the JPT allows the Judge to explain what his or her approach to sentencing would be. This can help the Crown and Defence come to an agreement.
At your trial, the Crown will attempt to use the information it has available to prove the charges that have been laid against you beyond a reasonable doubt. Your lawyer will also ask the Crown's witnesses questions, and might call evidence to support your case. Your lawyer's role is to fearlessly raise every argument in your defence to show that the Crown has not proven its case.
DISCLAIMER: All information on this page is for informational purposes only. It is NOT legal advice and it is no substitute for speaking with a lawyer.