WHY HIRE A CRIMINAL DEFENCE LAWYER

When you are charged with a criminal offence, it is very important that you hire an experienced criminal defence lawyer to represent you. The manner in which you address your charges, and the decisions you make, may have a tremendous impact on your life.

A conviction will generally result in a criminal record. This may, in turn, affect your future employment, travel to other countries, and the stigma of being labelled a criminal offender.

In cases of serious criminal charges, you may face lengthy periods of incarceration and serious deprivations of liberty. In other cases, such as cases of domestic assault, strict conditions, both before and after trial, may prevent you from residing with your partner, or your children, or attending your residence. This can also put a strain on families.

In some cases, people accused of a crime think that it may be possible to represent themselves. They may not want to spend the money to hire a lawyer. A person may assume that a case will be simple and straightforward. This is rarely the case.

When you are charged with a crime, you may not always be aware of your rights. Many areas of criminal procedure are technical and complex. Decisions made at any stage of the process may have serious implications for your liberty.

When you are charged with a crime, the decision of whether to hire a lawyer and what lawyer to hire may be one of the most significant decisions you make in your life. It is not a decision to be taken lightly.

An experienced defence lawyer is familiar with these procedures and processes. They are also familiar with the people involved in the criminal justice system – court clerks, prosecutors, and judges – and work with them on a daily basis.

You need a lawyer that is equipped to navigate the complexities of the legal process. An experienced criminal defence lawyer will defend you. They will advocate for you. They will ensure that you are treated fairly. To stand beside you, and fight for your rights.


YOUR RIGHTS: CRIMINAL DEFENCE

If you have been charged with a criminal offence, you have rights.

  • You are presumed to be innocent.
  • The Crown has a duty to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
  • You have a right to be represented by a lawyer.
  • You have a right not to be denied reasonable bail.
  • You have a right to know all of the evidence the Crown intends to use against you.
  • You have the right to a trial, and the right to a fair trial.
  • If you are convicted of a crime, you have the right to a sentence that is proportionate to the gravity of the offence.
  • You also have a right to have your conviction or sentence reviewed, on appeal, by a reviewing tribunal, generally an appeal court.

Most importantly, the law also requires that the police, and prosecution, adhere to fundamental standards of justice in investigating, and prosecuting you. They must respect your rights. Where they fail to do so, a Court has a duty to remedy wrongs committed against you. In serious cases, this may even result in charges against you being withdrawn, or stayed.


YOUR RIGHTS: CRIMINAL APPEALS

If you have been convicted of a crime, it is not the end of the road. Despite the best efforts of those involved in the legal process, mistakes are made. As former Alberta Court of Appeal Justice, Roger Kerans explains:

A reviewing tribunal must correct error. Humans do not always work to capacity. Being Human, they err. Hence the idea of a review is open suggestion and determination.[1]

If you have been convicted, you may have been sentenced to a period of incarceration. In other cases, you may have received a fine, or been placed on a term of probation – which includes restrictive conditions. In either case, you will generally have a criminal record.

In some cases, you may seek to appeal your conviction. In other words, to argue that your conviction should be overturned. In other cases, you may seek to appeal your sentence, and argue that a lesser sentence should have been awarded. Appeals are generally made to the Alberta Court of Appeal. Thereafter, it is possible to seek leave to appeal further to the Supreme Court of Canada, which is the highest court in Canada.

Further, if you are currently incarcerated, you are also able to apply for judicial interim release – or bail – pending the determination of your appeal. In other words, you are able to apply to be released from custody for the time before your appeal is heard. This is an important step because,  if your appeal is successful, this will mean that you have served time in jail, that you would have otherwise not be required to serve.

There are strict rules and guidelines that govern appeals. Most significantly, there are very short timelines for filing relevant documents and materials. Time is of the essence. The appeal process is also a very complex process. Appeals require a very thorough understanding of the law and the legal principles that may apply to your criminal appeal. Having an experienced criminal appeal lawyer will allow you to understand the process, and formulate a strategy, ensuring the highest prospects of success.

Craig Hooker Shiskin Criminal Defence has extensive experience in criminal appeals. We provide expert advice to prospective clients, at the outset, and a frank assessment of prospects of success on appeal. Thereafter, we have in-depth knowledge of the legal principles, and the law governing appeals, to ensure that compelling and thorough arguments are advanced and that you have the highest possible chance of success on appeal.

[1] The Hon. Roger P Kerans and Kim M Wiley “Standards of Review Employed by Appellate Courts” 2nd ed. (Toronto: Juriliber Limited, 2006) at p. 2


AREAS OF PRACTICE:

– Drug Possession and Trafficking Charges
– Firearms and Weapons Offences
– Violent and Sexual Offences
– Homicide Charges
– Property Offences (theft, break and enter)
– Impaired and Other Driving Offences
– Breach Charges
– Bail
– Summary Conviction Appeals (Court of Queen’s Bench)
– Conviction Appeals (Alberta Court of Appeal)
– Sentence Appeals (Alberta Court of Appeal)
– Applications for Leave to Appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada
– Conviction and Sentence Appeals (Supreme Court of Canada)

Criminal Defence Lawyer – Criminal Appeals Lawyer – Criminal Defence Law


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