Tag Archives: Criminal Defence Lawyers

Getting off on a “technicality”: Criminal charges and your rights

Critics of Canadian criminal law sometimes complain about people getting off on a “technicality.” Usually the so-called “technicality” is that the police violated an accused person’s Charter rights. The prosecution often can’t use evidence that was gained that way. As a result the prosecution’s case falls apart. No surprise then, that your average person may think the Charter mostly protects criminals.

But what is the Charter, and what does it stand for?

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is a guarantee that everyone in Canada has certain rights when dealing with the government. It’s such an important guarantee that it’s part of the Canadian constitution.

Basically, Charter rights are aimed at ensuring that we receive fair treatment at the hands of the government. Things like the right to call a lawyer upon being arrested by the police, or to expect that they won’t show up to search your home without a warrant.

Sounds reasonable, right?

I’ll bet that if you happened to be the one whose rights were violated you’d want to make sure someone was held accountable. That’s what the Charter does. It’s the legal means by which individuals like you and me can hold the government accountable for the rights we all enjoy.

Sure, when a judge tosses evidence in a criminal case because police violated rights of an accused it may mean a guilty person gets acquitted. But that’s only part of the picture. What most people don’t realize is that when judges uphold the constitution they’re protecting us all. It’s called the rule of law – that the law applies to everyone, including the police – and it’s one of the reasons we live in such a great country.

So talk to a criminal defence lawyer

You need an experienced, knowledgeable and skilled criminal defence lawyer in your corner when your liberty is at stake. Someone who isn’t afraid to hold the government accountable. Guilty or not, you need to have your rights protected and defended. It protects you. It protects us all.

5 questions to ask when hiring a criminal defence lawyer

If you’re facing criminal charges you have some important decisions to make. Who to hire as a criminal defence lawyer is one of them. Here are 5 questions to ask when hiring a criminal defence lawyer. The first 4 questions are for you to ask the lawyer. The last question is for you to ask yourself.

1. What percentage of your practice involves criminal law?

If the lawyer says less than 50 percent, you may be dealing with someone who dabbles in criminal law. The practice of law has become highly specialized. You wouldn’t want a doctor who specializes in foot problems doing surgery on your brain. If you’re facing criminal charges, you really need a lawyer with a deep knowledge of criminal law and procedure.

2. How long have you been practising criminal law?

If the lawyer says less than five years, you may be dealing with a beginner. As in most things in life, when it comes to practising law, there really is no substitute for experience. The energetic young lawyer, fresh out of law school, simply won’t have the same level of knowledge or courtroom experience as the lawyer with 15 or more years of experience.

3. Have you done any cases involving charges like mine?

If you’re facing a particularly serious criminal charge, you may be served best by a lawyer who specializes in those types of cases. Canadian criminal law prohibits you from doing many things. When you include regulatory offences, there are literally thousands of ways to get in trouble with the law. Look for a lawyer with expertise in your type of case.

4. Will you do all the important work on my case?

Many criminal lawyers pass along important work on a client’s case to junior lawyers or articled students. They do so for a variety of reasons. Whatever the reason, it increases the chances that something important to your defence might get missed in preparation. When your liberty is at stake, you need to know that the experienced lawyer you hired is the one who will actually do all the important work on your case.

5. Do I trust this lawyer?

When you’re facing criminal charges, you’ve a lot at stake. You may not be looking at jail time, but a criminal record for even a minor offence can affect your freedom in many ways, such as your ability to travel outside Canada, particularly to the United States.

It is extremely important that you trust the lawyer who will be responsible for protecting your rights and defending you against the power of the state.

So ask yourself, do I trust this lawyer? If the answer is no, nothing else matters. Hire someone else.