Have you been accused of committing a crime?
The Criminal Justice System can be a complicated place for anyone charged with a criminal offence. To navigate court appearances, to understand your rights and obligations once you’ve been charged, to explore every defence available and, where it is appropriate, to argue for the most fair sentence is complex work. Criminal defence lawyers are professionals that spend their lives working through, understanding, and even changing this system. If you have been charged, you want a professional to properly advise you and protect your best interests.
Charged, but not guilty
If you have been charged with a criminal offence, regardless of whether you are guilty or innocent, you are required by law to follow the rules of the Canadian criminal justice system. This will include attending court, attending to have fingerprints taken, following rules while you await your trial, and may risk being held in custody until your matter is completed.
Failing to follow the rules of the Court and of the Police while you await the completion of your matter can have significant repercussions: you can find yourself with more strict conditions, land yourself back in jail, and even be charged with further criminal offences. While the presumption of innocence is paramount, the courts require all persons charged with criminal offences to follow the rules of the court and of their release until their matter is complete.
Pitfalls of a criminal record
A criminal record can place a permanent, heavy burden on a person’s livelihood and ability to travel. Criminal records may be suspended by a successful application for a Record Suspension, however, the decision is made by the Parole Board of Canada and the suspension may be revoked at any time on the basis of your behaviour. There are additional provisions for the suspension of a life-time driving ban that may result in the context of impaired driving offences.
With respect to certain international travel, the United States Immigration department officials may choose to deny the admission of individuals with discharges or criminal records.
Apart from a number of issues not listed here, a Criminal Record can also bring serious consequences with regards to obtaining certain licenses, accessing restricted areas, obtaining employment in areas, the assessment of insurance premiums, admittance into some professional organizations, and maintaining current employment.
Avoiding a criminal record in many cases is possible with negotiation and advocacy, depending on the charge, facts of the case and circumstances of the person before the court. A lawyer will advocate on your behalf to try and help you avoid a criminal record through negotiation, legal argument, or trial.
Jodie Primeau, Barrister & Solicitor
Call 613.732.2883 if you have any questions about cases like this or if you are in need of legal assistance.
This is my personal weblog and the views expressed here are solely the author’s and should not be attributed to my firm or its clients. The material and information provided on this website are for general information only and should not, in any way, be relied on as legal advice or opinion. The author makes no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, currency, or adequacy of any information linked or referred to or contained on this weblog. No person should act or refrain from acting in reliance on any information found on this website or blog, without first retaining counsel and obtaining appropriate professional advice from a lawyer duly licensed to practice law in the relevant province, state, territory or country. This blog is presented for informational purposes only. These materials do not constitute legal advice and do not create a solicitor-client relationship between you and Jodie Primeau. Please note that I am only able to provide legal advice to clients and will not provide free legal advice. Please don’t send me any information or questions by email or otherwise because any information sent to me cannot be considered to be solicitor-client privileged or confidential.