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 have been charged, you will receive some paperwork related to that charge. When you come in for your initial consultation, I will look at your paperwork and come up with an estimate of the cost of your case. I will then require an initial retainer based on that estimate. By the time of the second appearance in court (when I have some more information), I will confirm with you a fixed 'ceiling'. This is the maximum amount that I will charge you for my services, regardless of how much work I do. In the majority of cases, the final ceiling will be identical to the original estimate. If it is not, and it turns out to be beyond your budget, I will happily refund your entire initial retainer.
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.