FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

What do I need to bring to the first meeting with my lawyer?

You will need to bring a piece of government issued photo identification, all of the documents police, the Crown, and the courts have provided to you, and any other documents you believe are relevant to the case. It is critically important that you maintain documentary evidence, including such things as text messages.

 

We also encourage accused persons to immediately write down a detailed chronological version of the events in question in order for them to retain their memory. This chronology should include the names and contact information of any potential witnesses.

How much will my legal defence cost?

The cost of your legal defence will depend upon on a number of factors, including the complexity of your case, the amount of Crown disclosure, whether you decide to resolve or proceed to trial, the estimated length of trial, whether you elect a trial by judge alone or by jury, and many other factors.

 

Prior to being retained, our defence lawyers will meet with you and discuss the anticipated costs of your case so that you can be properly informed. We strive to provide you with the most cost-effective ways of advancing your legal interests.

 

Moreover, we understand that individuals don’t plan for the costs of litigation and it can be difficult to shoulder the financial burden that a criminal charge imposes. We offer flexible payment plans to ensure that you can receive a high-quality defence while not breaking the bank.

How does legal billing work?

Our fees are billed in what’s called a “fee per service” manner. This means that you are quoted a specific amount in advance of your lawyer completing the task instead of being billed at an hourly rate. The benefit of a fee per service structure is that you’re provided with certainty as to the cost of the legal service purchased.

 

Once the price of the legal service has been determined and you choose to retain your lawyer, a retainer is typically provided for lawyer to hold in trust. A retainer is a portion of the agreed upon price deposited in advance. Your lawyer will hold this money in a trust account until the agreed-upon legal work is completed, at which time you will be provided a statement and your account will be billed.

What can I expect from my lawyer?

What you can expect from your lawyer will depend on what you hire them to do, but on a typical file, your lawyer can be expected to do the following: attend court appearances on your behalf; obtain and review the prosecution’s file; inform you of the alleged facts and of your legal jeopardy; research comparable cases and your defences at trial; formulate an opinion of your chances of success at both trial and at resolution; negotiate resolution with the Crown prosecutor (if directed); prepare for and attend trial; and prepare for and attend sentencing.

What will my lawyer expect from me?

Your contribution to your defence is critical to its success. Whether that involves preparing to testify or providing witness contact information, reviewing disclosure or suggesting references for sentencing, completing written interviews or attending specific court dates, a reliable communication and dedicated participation is a must. Your lawyer will expect you to communicate reliably and honestly, and participate diligently in the preparation of your case.

How long is the criminal court process?

The length of the criminal process is highly variable. A swift, favourable resolution may only take a matter of weeks, while a trial before a judge jury preceded by a preliminary inquiry may take more than two years to complete. The criminal process is unfortunately a slow process, but experienced defence counsel can assist you in successfully navigating this process and help you to achieve your goal without unnecessary delay.

Can you get my fingerprints and photos destroyed?

We can help you get your identification data destroyed. Persons charged with criminal offences are often required to provide identification data, including fingerprints, to the police – police may then retain this information long after that specific criminal process has ended. Where accused persons have been acquitted at trial or where the charges have been terminated by the Crown, they may apply to the police for the destruction of identification data such as fingerprints.

When can I apply for a record suspension?

If you were convicted of a summary conviction offence, you can apply for a record suspension after 5 years. If you were convicted of an indictable offence, you can apply for a record suspension after 10 years. If you participated in alternative measures or received a discharge, you did not receive a criminal conviction or received a temporary (conditional) criminal conviction.

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