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Assault

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Assault 2021-07-14T20:29:16+00:00

Your Guide to Assault Charges by Assault Lawyers in Calgary

What is an Assault Charge?

Assault covers a wide variety of violent offences but they all have one thing in common: conviction will have a major impact on the rest of your life.

In Calgary, assault charges of almost all types are on the increase, according to the latest crime statistics. Common assault, assault with a weapon/causing bodily harm, and assault have all increased.

In the fourth quarter of 2019, 2357 assault charges were recorded by the Calgary Police Service, an increase of over 27 percent on the corresponding period in 2018. In the last five years, assaults in the city have increased by 31 percent.

Section 265 of the Criminal Code of Canada defines the crime of assault in the following way:

Assault Lawyers Calgary

By far the most common way of committing an assault is through “the intentional application of force to a person without their consent”. This can range from the act of grabbing someone to much more serious actions, like kicks, punches, and choking.

However, notice that even gesturing to hit someone or confronting someone while carrying a weapon can constitute an assault.

Many assaults occur in the Domestic Violence context. If your matter involves violence in the context of a domestic situation i.e. a child, parent, sibling, wife, girlfriend, or common-law spouse, please review the content under that section as it will likely be more applicable to your case than this general review of assaults.

Also, if your matter involved a more serious assault, such as Assault with a Weapon, Assault Causing Bodily Harm, or Aggravated Assault, please refer to those sections of the website, as the content there will be more applicable to your situation.

Investigation of Assault Charges in Calgary

An investigation into an assault allegation in Calgary is typically started by the alleged victim (or relative or witness). They contact the Calgary Police Service and report it. The police will request a written/video statement from the complainant or any other witnesses, and launch an investigation.

Assault is a serious offence and will require a thorough police investigation with witnesses interviewed, CCTV reviewed (if applicable), and appropriate medical evidence obtained to prove the type and extent of the alleged victim’s injuries. 

There is no specialized police unit to deal with these types of charges but, with over 1,900 police officers, the Calgary Police Service has considerable manpower to devote to such investigations. It is the third-largest municipal police force in Canada.

Once the police have gathered their evidence, they will track you down and arrest you, if you are the alleged perpetrator. You will be taken to a Police District Office for questioning and processing. The police will then decide whether or not to press assault charges against you.

Even if a complainant makes an allegation of assault that they later withdraw, it’s still up to the Crown Prosecutor to decide whether to pursue the charges against you. In general, charges are only dropped if:

  • There is insufficient evidence, or
  • It would be contrary to the public interest to prosecute

If charges are pursued, the complainant becomes another witness in the case and can be subpoenaed to appear in court, even against their wishes.

Bail Process and Conditions for Assault Charges in Calgary

How do I get myself or a loved one out on bail for assault charges in Calgary?

For most common assaults, the police will generally release you with paperwork to attend court and for fingerprinting, and a formal bail hearing will not be necessary. Where more serious circumstances are involved, like if the charges are domestic in nature, a formal bail hearing may be necessary to secure your release. 

In order to conduct a bail hearing, you will be transferred from the district office to the Spyhill Services Centre. The bail hearing must be held within 24 hours, a period that starts from the moment of arrest or detention rather than the time when you are brought to the Centre. Although for many years the Centre was located downtown Calgary, it is now situated in the deep North West of Calgary, which makes getting home after being released far more difficult for many people. The exact address of the Centre is as follows:

Spyhill Services Centre
12500 85th Street, N.W.
Tel: 403-428-3400

Loved ones are not able to contact you while you are detained. The police will not release any information to friends or family due to privacy laws. Your lawyer is the only person allowed to contact you. Once the police have verified your lawyer’s details, they will pass on details about your whereabouts, if requested.

Because of these difficulties, while you are held in custody, it is best to appoint a competent defence lawyer as soon as possible to manage the legal processes and communicate with loved ones. After an arrest, the police must provide you with the opportunity to call a lawyer in private and, if that happens, stop questioning you.

Once you retain one of our experienced criminal defence lawyers, we will begin working to secure your release on bail.  We will immediately do the following:

  1. Call into the Court Services Center in Calgary and speak to you
  2. Contact the prosecutor assigned to the bail hearing to start negotiating your release
  3. Order and secure a copy of the police information package that details the allegations against you in advance of the bail hearing. This allows the lawyer to make meaningful representations to the court about why you should be released on bail
  4. Conduct either an in-person or teleconference bail hearing to secure our client’s release

When you attend your bail hearing, the Judge will consider the following factors: 

  • Is detention necessary to secure your attendance in court?
  • Is detention necessary to protect the public from a substantial risk of re-offence
  • Is detention necessary in all the circumstances to maintain confidence in the administration of justice?

Although it is unlikely that you will be denied bail for this type of charge, tight restrictions may nevertheless be applied to your release. 

Rest assured, we will work to not only secure your release but also ensure the least restrictive set of bail conditions (including the minimum cash deposit) possible.

In order for our lawyers to secure less stringent conditions, the judge will need to be satisfied that you will attend court as required and that you pose no significant risk of harm to the public. This may sometimes be difficult in an assault case, but not impossible.

Our lawyers are often successful at persuading the Crown Prosecutor in charge of bail to let our clients out. If we can’t convince the prosecutor, we can conduct a formal bail hearing and work to convince the Court. Even if you are ultimately detained, we can appeal that decision on very short notice through a Bail Review. Such reviews are conducted at the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta.

Where can I pay for bail for assault charges in Calgary?

If you or a loved one is charged with assault in Calgary and granted bail, you can pay bail at any bail hearing office (courthouse) in Alberta. Even if you live in Edmonton, you can pay bail there for someone detained in Calgary.

Bail hearing offices in Calgary are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The contact details of the bail hearing office at the Calgary Courts Centre are as follows:

Calgary Courts Centre
601 5th Street SW
Tel: 403-297-4444

You can also make a bail payment at a remand centre prior to 8:30 pm.

To pay your own bail, you can make a payment after you appear in front of the arrest processing unit, assuming you have sufficient funds with you to do so.

How do I change my release conditions for assault charges in Calgary?

Release on bail with assault charges may mean either a surety, cash or a no-cash deposit. It depends on the seriousness of the charge. 

Beyond that, you may have tight restrictions applied, including refraining from: 

  • Interaction with the alleged victim;
  • Attending the alleged victim’s home or place of work;
  • Staying out beyond a certain time (a curfew);
  • Breaking any laws;
  • Using drugs or alcohol;
  • Possessing weapons;
  • Visiting certain places; and
  • Travelling.

The judge can also impose some additional conditions such as:

  • Residing where approved;
  • Reporting to probation;
  • Attending counselling; and
  • Maintaining or seeking employment.

A variety of factors will be considered when determining your precise restrictions, including:

  • Your criminal history;
  • Your physical and mental condition;
  • The nature of the alleged assault;
  • The likelihood that you will flee; and
  • Your history of drug/alcohol usage.

If you have already been released, at least for the short term, it is very important that you make arrangements to abide by your conditions until they can be changed. Breaching the terms of your release can result in further charges or a revocation of your bail, so be sure to take these conditions seriously.

Once the matter is in court, we can work with the Crown prosecutor to alter your conditions. This includes either adding exceptions to some of the conditions or deleting them altogether. 

If your court date is still far away and you just can’t wait until then, we can arrange to have the matter dealt with sooner. Our first priority is always to stabilize your release conditions. That way, you will not feel pressured to plead guilty because of the restrictive terms of your release. Once the conditions are manageable and minimally intrusive to your daily routine, we can focus 100% of our attention on defending the case.

Aggravated Assault Lawyers Calgary

Penalties for Assault Charges in Calgary

In cases of common assault charges, the likelihood of going to jail if convicted is relatively minor if there is no criminal record for similar offences. However, the risk of jail time increases dramatically once charges move from basic assault to more serious versions of the offence or if there are prior convictions. 

For a standard assault conviction, you can expect:

  • Up to five years in jail;
  • Up to three years of probation;
  • Fines of several thousand dollars;
  • A ban from owning or possessing any weapons or firearms for up to 10 years; and
  • An order that you give a DNA sample to the national DNA databank.

In addition to the immediate penalties resulting from a conviction for assault, it can affect your future. You may have trouble finding employment, especially in roles that require working with children, the elderly, or other vulnerable sectors of society. The lifelong criminal record that results from a conviction can also cause problems with immigration and travel.

Rest assured, our lawyers will work hard to defend you so that you are not saddled with the consequences that stem from a criminal conviction for this offence. In fact, we can canvass a range of sentencing options with the prosecutors that will either leave you with no criminal record or impose minimal restrictions on your liberty after sentencing. To learn more about potential non-criminal resolutions, please visit our Resolutions page, or read our FAQ on Resolutions and other sentencing options.

Defending Assault Charges in Calgary

What are the best defences to assault charges in Calgary?

Because witness testimony is often unpredictable, going to trial can be the best option if you are charged with assault.

We will work with the Crown prosecutors to seek a resolution that does not involve a criminal conviction if at all possible. Our defence is often based around challenging the elements of acting “intentionally,” “recklessly,” or “knowingly.” Other defence strategies focus on the technical steps taken by the police during the investigation and the evidence collection process.

Typically, the best defences for assault charges are:

  • Factual innocence: this is usually the strongest defence because the facts and the evidence do not support you being there, causing the assault, or other basic elements of the case.
  • Violation of constitutional rights: the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms of 1982 sets out your rights before and after your arrest. If they were not followed to the letter by the police, it will aid your defence. 
  • Self-defence: reasonable force can be used to defend yourself against an unlawful assault, provided you did not intend to cause death or grievous bodily harm. No reasonable person would accuse you of assault if your actions were taken to protect yourself and were not deemed to be disproportionate or “reckless”.
  • Defending someone else: reasonable force or the threat of force can also be used to defend someone else against an unlawful attack, provided there was no intent to cause death or grievous bodily harm.
  • Defending property: reasonable force or the threat of force can also be used to defend property, though this may be a weaker defence in many situations.
  • Accident: an accidental assault should not lead to a criminal conviction if it was unforeseeable (which you have to prove).
  • Consent to fight: if both parties agreed to enter into a minor confrontation, neither can be convicted of assault. For example, if both parties consent to a fistfight to settle a grievance. Consent cannot be granted, however, if it is obtained by force, threats, fear, fraud, or the exercise of authority. It is important to note as well that you cannot consent to the infliction of intentional bodily harm.

The burden of proving that an assault was committed remains high for the prosecution. This means that there are many successful defence strategies that our experienced defence lawyers can take, including those outlined above.

Even if the charges proceed and you are found guilty, a good defence can greatly reduce the severity of the consequences. Our lawyers will conduct a thorough examination of the police actions and the evidence against you, and call upon medical evidence and witnesses in your defence if required.

How can I help defend assault charges in Calgary?

If you have been charged with assault in Calgary, the following can help your lawyer build a strong defence:

  • Making a statement about what happened;
  • Collecting and maintaining all documents and records about the event;
  • Gathering any photographic evidence that you may have; and
  • Logging any relevant texts, emails or phone calls.

As soon as you are released on bail, start to gather any information that may be of use to your lawyer immediately.

If you are truly proactive about the matter, consider doing the following:

  • Secure proof of employment;
  • Secure reference letters;
  • Enroll in counselling (anger management/substance abuse/parenting);
  • Secure a record of prescriptions; and
  • Secure a record of any mental health conditions you suffer from.

These steps can be very helpful to building an effective defence (or convincing the prosecutor to drop the charges altogether).

What can a lawyer do to help me defend against assault charges in Calgary?

As we start preparing your defence by examining police actions and the evidence against you, there are certain defence strategies that can be used to aid your cause. Some of these include:

  • Assembling documents, photos, texts, etc. that contradict the allegation and support your version of events;
  • Gathering evidence that questions the complainant’s credibility (e.g., they have lied before, or have a motive to fabricate events);
  • Gathering evidence that questions the complainant’s or witness’s reliability (e.g., they were drunk or unable to see or recall events);
  • Identifying mistakes in the actions of the police, such as Charter breaches; and
  • Uncovering administrative/systemic errors, such as with “Jordan delay”, non-disclosure, lost or destroyed evidence, etc.

What Next?

Most of the information above relates to simple assault cases, which can still be complex and fact-specific.

We have tried our best to provide a general outline of what you can expect if you find yourself in this situation. But this is just the tip of the iceberg.

To learn more about how we can help, please contact our team of Assault Lawyers to conduct a thorough review of your situation so that we can tailor a precise strategy that targets your successful defence.

Get A Free Consultation

Receive a free consultation to discuss your case.

We value your privacy, all information is kept strictly confidential.


Cody Mosionier
Cody Mosionier
12:52 10 Aug 21
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Louie Zhang
Louie Zhang
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I did lots of research before reaching out to Michael and I’m so glad that I made the right decision. He’s honest,... upfront and keep me updated on every step. The outcome exceeded my expectation and exceptionally well, thanks for the great service!read more
Gia A.
Gia A.
21:46 27 May 21
Michael Oykhman is an amazing lawyer. He is very knowledgable of the law and strives to give you the best outcome. I am... grateful that I was able to have Michael take care of my DUI case. He was straight forward, easy to communicate with and understanding of my financial situation. He was able to get my charges dropped and all my tickets withdrawn. I would highly recommend Michael to anyone in need of a lawyer.read more
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Ali Saeed
15:10 17 May 21
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Darcy Muhizi
22:59 20 Apr 21
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d pacman
d pacman
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K B
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Ayden Coulson
16:08 05 Feb 21
I highly recommend Micheal Oykman Criminal Defense Lawyers!!! I had the pleasure of Joseph Beller taking on my case and... helping me easily understand the choices I had and we quickly came to a resolution and my charge was dropped!! He was very caring and if I had any questions he would answer them for me and making me feel better about the situation I was in. I'm really impressed with how fast it was solved they are also very reasonable with price ranges varying and will work with you so you can afford it. Once again I am over the moon happy with how my case turned out. Thank you Joseph and the rest of the team for being there when I needed it most.read more
Reemon Soro
Reemon Soro
19:55 02 Feb 21
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kamyar jooya
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way barrows
way barrows
16:53 04 Jan 21
Can’t say enough about this firm and Greg Janzen. They were so amazing and professional on every end. From the first... time I sat down with them until trial and the finish was one of the best experiences I have ever had. The final outcome full acquittal. I would highly recommend Greg and this firm for your council needs. They are beyond Awesome.read more
Tim Ngo
Tim Ngo
18:07 29 Dec 20
I am reviewing Elena Ryland’s services for me as my criminal lawyer for a DUI and refusal charge. She was very... professional and helped me out a lot. She was considerate of my situation and did everything in her power to reach our desired outcome. She was very thoughtful and helpful and considerate of my financial situation going into this case as well. I highly recommend her to people who have to go to court for a driving offence; she was very well prepared. Words cannot describe how much she had done for me and has saved my life in a sense. I appreciate Elena’s every effort to help me clear my name.read more
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beth bold
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Black Mesa
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Aaron Bidochka
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Mr Oykhman was clear and concise with me with concerns I had about our situation. He made us feel well taken care of,... and we were in good hands. We will be back if the services are neededread more
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Adam M
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Michael is an outstanding man, and an even better lawyer. His professionalism and knowledge of the law is matched by... none. He successfully defended my case and I would definitely recommend him to anyone who is in need of a lawyer.read more
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Cory Hoskin
00:53 11 Dec 20
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Mike Vukic
18:58 28 Nov 20
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A G
A G
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Rodney Tetreault
18:20 10 Nov 20
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Morgan Slusar
20:17 16 Sep 20
Highly recommend. I’ll be breaking the law again for sure.
関健太郎
関健太郎
17:08 11 Sep 20
5 StarVery quick respondVery kindVery reliableVery calmVery reasonable
Takara Seki
Takara Seki
17:05 11 Sep 20
Elena was amazing with helping my father and his DUI charges. Even though my father’s English isn’t very strong she... explained everything as clearly as possible and was calm throughout the entire process. She made us feel like everything was going to be okay and responded very quickly to any questions or concerns we had. We really appreciate her help throughout this difficult time and would highly recommend her to other clients with similar issues.read more
Jonathon Himann
Jonathon Himann
20:19 13 Jul 20
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Brittany Collins-Berthelot
Brittany Collins-Berthelot
14:43 26 Jun 20
Elaine was amazing from the start, she made me feel very comfortable and trusting of her. The staff was very... professional and caring. I would highly recommend Elaine to my family and friends.read more
Brendan Mcdonald
Brendan Mcdonald
16:15 16 Jun 20
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Chey Panda
21:27 28 May 20
I highly recommend Crystal McGraw's services as she is very professional, non-judgmental & reliable. Crystal will keep... you updated every step of the way & will work hard to get you a positive outcome for your case. Thank you for all your help!read more
Conrad Taupert
Conrad Taupert
15:08 28 May 20
Elena Ryland was compassionate and empathetic. She immediately validated my emotions and calmed me down.I found her to... be extremely motivated. She got all my charges dropped. I highly recommend her.read more
classified666 .
classified666 .
19:42 27 May 20
I Had an accident right before Christmas last year an ended up getting a handful of criminal charges. Michael an his... team worked hard an got all charges dropped including an impaired. I’m thankful for his effort an would highly recommend!read more
Mark Paolo Ramos
Mark Paolo Ramos
16:23 04 May 20
After months of dealing with Crystal Mcgraw, Ryan P and Amie I have nothing but utmost respect for their... professionalism and hardwork. I was dismissed from my case and now can breathe normally as I can get my life back to normal. I would definitely recommend these folks to take care of your cases and you will be satisfied with the work that they will put into your case.read more
Kevin Murphy
Kevin Murphy
00:35 24 Apr 20
Thanks to Ryan for doing a great job, and for providing a sense of support and professionalism. My charge was stayed,... which is about the best result I could have hoped for, and better than I expected. Thanks to Crystal as well for everything she did, and for delivering me only good news, and to Amie for the communications she provided. All around very happy with everything, hopefully I never require their services again. 😉read more
Craig Stange
Craig Stange
15:35 23 Apr 20
I am going through an extremely difficult divorce and my ex made a power move by making an allegation against me that... involved the police and the start of a three month investigation. Upon the advise of a former RCMP member who is a good friend I engaged the Services of Michael to help with the investigation phase and contact by the city police. His services in dealing with the investigation and guiding me through this is beyond value. I would highly recommend his team. I am pleased to report that with his guidance the matter was dropped before charges, money well invested. If you get contacted by police your first call should be to his office.read more
Daniel Araia
Daniel Araia
00:55 22 Apr 20
If anyone is looking for professional legal lawyer I’m hardly recommending to anyone to Michael Oykhman with his team.... Trust me you will get quality service with professionalism from Michael Oykhman and all his team. Thanks to you all for your time and commitment I’m totally satisfied with all your hard work keep doing good job guys cheers.read more
David Prosser
David Prosser
14:42 08 Mar 20
After two years of dealing with Greg Janzen on my charges I have nothing but the highest regard for the... professionalism, expert knowledge, guidance, and personal courtesy. I would highly recommend him to my closest friends and family. A great job well done. Thank you.read more
Haifaa Rofail
Haifaa Rofail
23:06 05 Mar 20
5 stars, Everything worked out very well, very timely in dealing with my matter. All responses fromGreg Janzen and his... assistant where professional and helpful. I would highly recommend him. A really good lawyer ! Very happy with my outcome. All my charges was withdrawn.read more
Josh Hawryluk
Josh Hawryluk
01:24 27 Feb 20
Very satisfied of the service I received getting off my charge. Looking for a criminal lawyer? Theses are the guys, I... did not have to appear in court, I only had to make one visit to the office, and the rest was all handled my by lawyer (Elaine). They did an awesome job for me and excellent customer service,read more
Marty Maksymetz
Marty Maksymetz
02:51 31 Jan 20
I highly recommend going with this team. From the moment that I stepped into their offices, I knew that I was in good... hands. I had the privilege of working with Elena Ryland as my attorney and I couldn't be happier. She was extremely professional and well-educated on the subject matter. She was able to negotiate a deal that favoured all parties involved.read more
jay xu
jay xu
01:06 29 Jan 20
Words cannot express my gratitude to Michael, he helped me out of a difficult situation and resolved the matter... unbelievably quick. Michael provided quick professional insight, and showed great compassion working to resolve my matter over the past year. The knowledge, experience, and compassion Michael is clearly the best in Calgary. Michael also has a vast network of grade A lawyers and recommended a fantastic criminal lawyer to help me with my case. I would highly recommend his services.read more
R G
R G
18:39 11 Dec 19
I got in touch with Michael Oykhman directly based on the complexity of the legal matters I was facing. He was... incredibly professional and gave me a great deal of confidence and knowledge that it would be handled to his best efforts. The results were exactly that, the best desired outcome and a huge weight taken off me during a dark time. I would highly recommend Michael and his team to anyone looking for the best outcome possible!read more
Jessica Rafuse
Jessica Rafuse
22:50 15 Nov 19
I was first able to speak to Michael Oykhman himself and felt understood and confident that his staff would take care... of my legal matters. I am happy to report that not only have my matters been resolved but they were exactly in line with my desired outcome. I never felt like I had to compromise my position regarding the events that lead to needing legal services. While my initial junior associate couldn't oversee my file to completion, my gratitude goes to Greg Janzen who took on my case midway through and advocated for me and saw my charges withdrawn in a timely matter. Greg went the extra mile to show up for my appearances even when they were outside the initial legal matter at hand, which surprised me and made my life so much easier. I was out of province for 5 months of the year and thanks to Greg was able to focus on my priorities instead of being limited and interrupted. If your considering a lawyer or in doubt about the value of legal services, do yourself a favor and consult this firm. While there are many names to consider, if you find yourself needing criminal defense lawyers, I am so thankful I made the decision to have this firm represent me.They have been supportive, understanding and expedient. I also saved money and appreciated that I wasn't hit with hidden fees and wasn't footing a bill that was inflated or unwarranted. You definitely get great value! I also super appreciated the face time and timely communication at each turn. Not only were my charges withdrawn but so too were my fingerprints and photos with police destroyed so it's like nothing ever happened. A dream come true. Excellent customer service from start to finish on top of the legal support! Thank-you all so much, and while I hope not to need you in the future, I know I will be in good hands and will refer anyone in similar circumstances to your firm in the future. Cheers!read more
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Glowing Reviews From Our Clients

Excellent service! I would highly recommend going with this team. If I ever need assistance with anything of this manner again, I wouldn’t hesitate to call or email the team at Oykhman Criminal Defence again.


M.M.

Everyone was very professional and understanding. They explained everything and put me at ease. Any question I had were answered right. If you need help I’d highly recommend this law firm.


B.L.

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