The length of each case depends on a number of variables. If you choose to plead guilty, then the process can be completed much more quickly. If the case goes to trial, then it may take a number of months before the case is heard.
Who is the Crown?
The Crown is the government lawyer hired to prosecute criminal cases. The Federal Crown prosecutes drug and terrorism offences while the Provincial Crown generally prosecutes all other Criminal Code offences.
I’m being investigated for a criminal offence. What should I do?
If you’re being investigated for involvement in a criminal offence, the police may invite you to the police station to speak with them. You should consult with a lawyer to see if this “invitation” is to charge you with a criminal offence or to question you, where you may not be required to attend. It is important to remember your rights:
• The police have to tell you if and why they are detaining you;
• The police must give you the opportunity to speak with a lawyer;
• You have the right to remain SILENT. This means you don’t have to say anything that could implicate you – nor do you have to say anything at all. You have the right to keep your mouth shut.
If you think the police are on your trail, it is in your interests to speak with an experienced lawyer.
What should I bring to my first meeting with you?
If you’ve been charged with a criminal offence, you may receive a “Promise to Appear” or a “Recognizance” which contains information including your first court date, a fingerprinting date and conditions of release on bail. Bring this and any other paperwork you received from the police (and a piece of photo ID to the meeting).
What takes place during my first appearance in court?
When you are released, you will be given papers that outline the date, time and location for your first appearance. It is important that you attend on this date.
Your first appearance will happen in a scheduling court (or “remand court”). Your name will be called and, at this time, you will come forward and stand in the front of the courtroom. A clerk in the courtroom will ask if you want the charges against you read out.
You will be given a “first appearance package” from the Crown. This package should contain your charge sheet and the Crown’s initial position, should you wish to plead guilty.
If you have spoken to a lawyer about calling your matter in court, the lawyer would typically request to adjourn the file for retainer purposes (to be hired). If the lawyer is already retained, then your lawyer could seek an adjournment for a number of reasons. The most typical reasons are to set a Counsel Pre-Trial for your lawyer to meet with the Crown and to review disclosure.
For your first court appearance, you should bring the paperwork that the police gave you when you were released or that you received in court when released on bail. It can also be helpful to bring your most recent financial information, and if relevant, medical documentation.
How much will my case cost?
At Brass Law Office, we believe that every person charged with a crime deserves a full legal defence. While we do not provide fee estimates until we have reviewed a file, the costs will vary according to complexity of the case and the time involved. We develop individualized payment plans and fee schedules to work with your budget and achieve results in the most cost-effective way. Our lawyers work on either an hourly basis or block-fee basis to best meet your needs. For your convenience, cash, cheque, credit card and e-transfer are accepted.
Does Brass Law Office accept Legal Aid?
In special circumstances, the criminal lawyers at Brass Law Office will accept Legal Aid certificates.
For individuals below an income threshold, Legal Aid may issue a certificate, which is like a “voucher” for legal services. For further information, contact Legal Aid at 1-800-668-8258 or www.legalaid.on.ca.
Do you work on a contingency fee basis?
Short answer – no. Our Rules of Professional Conduct prohibit criminal lawyers from taking cases on a contingency fee basis. However, we understand that most people do not budget for a criminal lawyer in their rainy day funds. If you cannot afford to pay the full retainer up front, please contact us to see if a flexible fee schedule can be arranged.
What is a surety?
A surety is an individual who makes a promise to the court to be responsible for an accused person released on bail. The surety’s main obligations are to:.
• Ensure that the accused person attends court as required
• Make sure the accused follows his or her conditions of release on bail
As a surety, you must sign a “recognizance” that you agree to risk losing a specified amount of money if the accused person breaches his/her release conditions.
As a surety, if you believe the accused is breaching conditions of release, you may recuse yourself. Failure to do so may cause the surety to lose their pledge of money.