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Medicine Hat Criminal Defence Lawyers

>Medicine Hat Criminal Defence Lawyers
Medicine Hat Criminal Defence Lawyers 2018-02-08T16:19:41+00:00

Medicine Hat Criminal Defence Lawyers

A Team of Experienced Criminal Defence Lawyers Serving Medicine Hat and The Surrounding Area

Medicine Hat Criminal Defence LawyersIf you have been charged with a criminal offence and are required to attend Court in Medicine Hat we can help!  We are a full service criminal law office handling all types of criminal and regulatory charges from Mischief to Murder, with a particularly strong focus on DUI’s, Violence, and Domestic Violence charges. A short list of the types of charges we handle includes:

With centralized offices in Calgary and Edmonton, we frequently travel to Medicine Hat for court appearances. The Medicine Hat court house is located at 401 Centre St Medicine Hat, with criminal court sitting dates of every 4th Wednesday of the month.  Medicine Hat has a population of only 2,332 (as of the 2016 census), and processes far few criminal cases than a large metropolitan centre like Calgary or Edmonton.  Not surprisingly, most criminal defence lawyers who service Medicine Hat are based in Calgary.

Although virtually all substantive law is the same whether charges occur in a major city like Calgary or in a rural town like Medicine Hat, there are some key differences that you should be aware of. Below are some of the main distinctions, but for specifics about your case, it’s important that you contact one of our criminal defence lawyers directly so you get the right advice.

The Investigation

Unlike major cities that have their own police forces, Medicine Hat is policed by the RCMP.  For all intents and purposes, their powers of investigation, detention, and arrest are the same. However, their training policies, techniques, and oversight is quite different.

When arrested in Medicine Hat the RCMP would bring you to a local RCMP detachment, rather than a centralized processing area (as occurs in major metropolitan centres). The RCMP station in Medicine Hat is located at 104 3rd Ave W Medicine Hat, and the phone number for the main line is 403-854-3393.  This is where you will be housed until your bail hearing, and this is where you will have to attend to give your fingerprints (if they are not taken at the time of your initial release).

The Bail/Release Process

Currently, the RCMP in Medicine Hat have much more discretion to release individuals without a formal bail hearing than in major metropolitan centres around Alberta.   For example, if charged with a drug offence, the RCMP typically release individuals on an “undertaking” with conditions not to possess drugs, report to a probation officer, etc until the case is over.

The distinction between the RCMP and the Calgary Police Service on their release protocols is particularly important in the Domestic Violence context.  In Calgary and Edmonton, the police have a policy of requiring that a bail hearing be held either with a Judge or a Justice of the Peace before an individual is released.  Unfortunately, this process can take up to 24 hours, so you or your loved one could be sitting in a jail cell for a very long time just because of the CPS/EPS policy.  Fortunately, in Medicine Hat, the RCMP will typically release individuals charged with Domestic Violence on a “promise to appear” with an “undertaking” to abide by certain conditions.

If you are reading this before you are charged, it is very important that you ask for the first available court date.  The reason for this is that the RCMP might put fairly restrictive conditions on you, such as not to communicate with the complainant or go back to the residence. For spouses with children, this creates a logistical nightmare! The situation can be fixed, but often not until the matter goes back to court.

The Court Process

Not only does court in Medicine Hat convene only every 4th Wednesday of the month, but all criminal and drug and youth matters are lumped together, and all preliminary court appearances, sentences, and sometimes even trials are packed into one of those days. This is very different from major metropolitan centres like Calgary where at least 15-20 courtrooms are running at any given time, and there are dedicated courtrooms for youth matters, drug matters, domestic violence matters, docket matters, sentencing matters, and trial matters.

Practically speaking, what this means for you is that if you show up to court at 10:00am as required, you can expect to wait around for the good part of the morning until your matter gets called. Remember that lawyer matters get called first, so if you attend unrepresented it will take even longer to speak to your matter. One good thing about having one of our criminal defence lawyers handle the matter is that you won’t have to attend any preliminary court appearances until and unless we advise you otherwise.

The Charges

As mentioned earlier, although the substantive criminal law is the same across all geographic regions, there are some unique aspects to defending specific charges in rural areas that you should be aware of. Some of the post common features are discussed below.

DUI/Over .08/Impaired Driving/Refusal

If you have been charged with an alcohol driving related offence in Medicine Hat it probably has a much more debilitating impact on you than for someone charged in a major centre because it’s often harder to get around without a car in rural areas. As you probably already found out, your licence has been suspended indefinitely until the case is resolved, so it’s that much more important get the earliest trial date possible. Unfortunately, Rural centres such as Medicine Hat can have a significant lag from the date of the offence to when the first court date is actually available, and it’s not uncommon to have to wait 6+ months until trial.Our lawyers are very attuned to this reality, and work hard with the prosecutor and judge to ensure that we secure the earliest date possible. Because court in Medicine Hat allows for multiple trials to be books on the same date, we sometimes petition the court to overbook an otherwise full trial date so that our clients get the earliest trial date possible.

One unique feature of having overbooked trial dates in Medicine Hat is that it also gives us an opportunity to negotiate a favourable resolution with the prosecutor. Sometimes the practical reality is that the prosecutors can’t run every trial set on a specific date. Even they are aware of this, so even the most unreasonable among them are more willing to entertain an early resolution to the charges that is favourable to both sides.

Domestic Violence Charges

Domestic violence is not a charge in itself, but rather refers to a broad list of violence charges, including assault, assault with a weapon/bodily harm, threats, confinement, harassment, etc, that occurs in a domestic context. As mentioned earlier, if you have been charged with a domestic violence charge, you have probably been placed on some conditions, the most debilitating of which are obligations not to have any contact or communication with the complainant and other family members. Indeed, it is the standard policy of the RCMP to put these conditions on you, even if the complainant (likely your spouse) doesn’t want those conditions.

It’s worth reiterating that if you are reading this before you are arrested and charged for domestic violence, be sure to ask for the very first court date possible. The challenge with these charges arising in Medicine Hat is that court only sits on every 4th Wednesday of the month, so it’s often not possible to get the matter into court the next day even if the RCMP were willing to do that. Moreover, the RCMP typically offer a first appearance date 2-4 weeks down the road which in our view is completely unacceptable due to the sensitive nature of these types of charges. Without going into the nuances, it is also much harder to get the matter into court earlier than the date the RCMP provide. There are mechanisms available to us that should be assessed on a case by case basis, but it is quite challenging to do this, so it’s that much more important to get it right at the beginning.

Domestic violence charges (particularly first time charges) can often be resolved without a criminal record with significant counselling in areas of domestic violence, anger management, and substance abuse. Indeed, we resolve the vast majority of domestic violence charges for our clients without a criminal record. Unfortunately, with a much smaller population, Medicine Hat has much fewer authorized counselling centres than major metropolitan centres such as Calgary. Some of the centres available in Medicine Hat include Community Mental Health Services provided by AHS, but you should consult with our of our lawyers to determine if the centre you choose is adequate.

Although virtually all resolutions available in major centres are the same in Medicine Hat, one unique resolution option available in Medicine Hat is called a “common law peace bond”. This option is not available in major centres like Calgary and Edmonton, so it gives us one more avenue to pursue in securing a positive result for our clients.

Drug Charges

Unlike major centres like Calgary, where there is a specialized Drug Prosecution court room, in Medicine Hat drug matters get lumped in with all the other criminal and youth matters. Drug matters are not even heard on every criminal sitting date, so it’s important to always inquire when a federal prosecutor is expected to be in attendance and coordinate the court schedule accordingly. This becomes particularly important if you are looking to modify or remove some of the conditions imposed on you. Because it can take some time to get the matter into court to speak to, it’s important to start the conversation with the prosecutor on the case as soon as possible.

In Medicine Hat the drug prosecutors are not full time government lawyers. Rather, they are typically private civil or criminal lawyers that are hired on contract by the Federal Government to prosecute matters in various circuit points like Medicine Hat. Typically, only one prosecutor will be responsible for all drug matters in Medicine Hat. While on one hand it doesn’t give many options to pick the prosecutor to talk to, it does give some consistency in knowing who to expect and how to approach the situation accordingly.

Again, because the investigating body in these cases is the RCMP, the experts in trafficking cases are also different than those operating in major centres. Sometimes these subtle nuances don’t make a big difference, but sometimes they are important to keep in mind when approaching these cases and coming up with a strategy to argue them.

Why Hire Us

Although many of our clients with charges in Medicine Hat actually live in Calgary, we understand that it might be difficult for some people to travel from Medicine Hat for legal appointments. Rest assured we can handle most (and sometimes all) aspects of the case without you having to attend Calgary.

For those clients who can’t meet us in person, we offer a free initial consultation by telephone or video link. We can review the circumstances of your case, the process, the fee structure and what we can do to help remotely. Moreover, because we have a whole team of lawyers, we can offer a broad range of fees and flexible payment plans to meet virtually any budget.

We pride ourselves on providing not only the best result possible, but exceptional customer service along the way. Contact one of our experienced Calgary-based Criminal Defence Lawyers today and judge for yourself.

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Chey Panda
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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 more
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.


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.



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.

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