What happens when I am charged with a crime?

>>>What happens when I am charged with a crime?

interior of a courtroom

In Canada, you are formally charged with a crime after an information is sworn before the court. The information is a document that specifies the charges against you, where the alleged offence crime, and when the alleged crime occurred. Anyone can swear an information, but in order to do so they must go before a justice of the peace or a judge and, under oath, present reasonable grounds for the justice or judge to believe that it is appropriate to charge you with the alleged crime.

Once an information has been laid and you have been formally charged with a criminal offence, your ability to travel, communicate with certain people, or partake in certain activities may be restricted until the conditions imposed on you are changed or the charges are dealt with. If an information has been laid accusing you of an offence, but you have not yet been arrested by the police, a warrant may be issued for your arrest.

However, even when you have been charged with a criminal offence in Canada, you are presumed to be innocent until you are tried and found guilty in a court of law. Unfortunately, notwithstanding this presumption of innocence, you may still be subject to certain conditions until your matter is resolved. For example, you may be released on bail with certain conditions that will restrict your freedom until your charges have been resolved. Alternatively, if you have been charged with a more serious offence, you may be held in custody until your matter is heard before the court, regardless of whether you are innocent or not.

If you or someone you care about has been charged with a criminal offence, it is vital that you seek the assistance of a skilled criminal defence lawyer immediately. We can help you navigate the extremely complex process of addressing and defending your criminal charges. Importantly, we can also make an application for your release on bail if you have been taken into custody, or make an application to change the conditions of your pretrial release so that you can live your life as normally as possible while your matter is being resolved.

Statute of Limitations for Criminal Charges:

In Canada the only charges that have a statute of limitations are summary conviction offences. Unlike indictable offences, charges for a summary conviction offence must be laid within 6 months of the date of the alleged offence. If the 6 month limitation passes, you can no longer be charged for that particular offence. However, be wary of hybrid offences. A hybrid offence gives the Crown Prosecutor the choice to charge you either summarily or by way of indictment. As such, if you are alleged to have commit a hybrid offence more than 6 months ago, the Crown can still charge you by simply electing to proceed by way of indictment as opposed to charging you with a summary conviction offence.

Unlike summary conviction offences, in Canada indictable offences have no statute of limitations. As such, you can be charged with an indictable offence at any time, no matter how long ago you allegedly commit the crime.

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Disclaimer: All results of cases handled by the lawyer/firm are not provided. The results provided are not necessarily representative of results obtained by the lawyer/firm or of the experience of all clients or others with the lawyer/firm. Every case is different, and each client’s case must be evaluated and handled on its own merits.

All our 30-60 minute free consultations are conducted with one of our Criminal Defence Lawyers and include the following steps:

  1. Gathering of some personal information about you, such as your level of education, occupation, and citizenship status. This information can be crucial for building your defence and seeking a resolution with the Crown Prosecutor;
  2. Careful review of all documents you received from the police. We will explain what each document is, and what you can expect from and need to do for all upcoming appearances;
  3. Critical review of your recollection of events, and any supporting materials you choose to bring with you. This step helps us identify possible defences and avenues for further investigation; and
  4. Discussion of the court process, our fee structure, and what we can do to help.

Beyond these steps, we would be happy to tell you more about us, and answer any questions you may have. If you chose to retain us to help you, we will immediately provide an overview of what steps we plan to take next, and suggestions as to what you should do to improve your chances of a successful outcome.

For the free initial consultation to be as productive as possible, you should bring (or email in advance) the following materials:

  • A written statement (preferably typed) outlining your version of events;
  • All documents that you have been given by the court or by the police;
  • Any disclosure you have received;
  • Photo ID; and
  • Any supporting documents, such as photographs, emails, texts, phone records, medical records, receipts, etc.

Ideally, you will have prepared a copy of these materials for us to keep, but if not, we can always photocopy them during the consultation.

We offer flexible payment options and structures designed to meet our clients’ individual needs. Our lawyers accept all major credit cards, bank drafts, money orders, email money transfers (e-transfers) and, of course, cash.

If you decide to retain us after the free initial consultation, all we need is a retainer (down payment) to get started. The rest of the fee payments for the case can be spaced out over time. We can set you up on a monthly or bi-monthly payment plan, and process payments over the telephone or by email to make it easy for you.

The cost of a criminal defence lawyer will depend on several factors, including:

  1. how complex your case is,
  2. how serious the charges are, and
  3. how experienced the Criminal Defence lawyer is.

The fees of a competent Criminal Defence Lawyer will typically range into the thousands of dollars. The good news is that only a fraction of that amount is due initially. We offer flexible payment schedules so thefees can be paid in monthly installments.

Additionally, we offer flat rate fees, with no hidden costs. It is our standard practice to review all the costs during the free initial consultation. This means you will know exactly what our services cost at the outset and can make an informed decision about how to proceed.