If you are facing criminal law charges, there is much to know about your rights and responsibilities. You will want to retain legal counsel right away and help make it easier for your lawyer to defend you. Understanding the answers to frequently asked questions is invaluable, brought to you by your criminal lawyer serving Mississauga and Brampton.
A criminal conviction can follow you for life, including having a potential impact on your employees currently and in the future. Many employers will subject you to a criminal background check, and they can do so even though the Ontario Human Rights Code provides certain protections from discrimination. Your ability to enter certain professions (e.g., law, finance, engineering, medicine) may also be damaged, especially if you need to satisfy a “good character” requirement.
Your ability to drive will be restricted (for at least a year) if you are convicted for driving under the influence. If you are convicted of driving impaired with a blood alcohol content of over 0.08 mg per 100 ml of blood, an auto insurer may impose additional consequences, ranging from increased “high-risk insurance” premiums or denials of insurance. You may also be held personally liable for the costs of an accident.
Even if the offense does not relate to driving, a criminal conviction can cause difficulty accessing a residential tenancy agreement or a mortgage or other credit. A landlord, bank or credit card company can do checks on you and may not even disclose why your application was rejected. Further, you might be penalized with higher property, life, and health insurance premiums.
Your ability to travel outside the country can also be adversely impacted. Canadian citizens and residents can be barred from entry into the U.S.A. for many reasons, including serious and non-serious crimes. You might be able to get your “inadmissibility” waived in some circumstances, often at an expensive cost. If you are not a Canadian citizen, being convicted of certain offenses may be grounds for a deportation order.
Everyone has a right to retain legal counsel and, yes, your lawyer is bound to keep all the information you provide confidentially. This is known as “solicitor-client privilege.” Know, however, that what you tell your lawyer can impact how he or she can defend you. For example, if you admit that you were the one who killed someone, then your lawyer cannot suggest that someone else committed the crime and not you. Instead, your lawyer may need to focus on why the case cannot be proved beyond a reasonable doubt.
The original or a copy of the charging document (a.k.a. the Information) is important to have ready for your lawyer at your first visit. This document lays out what, where and when you were charged with and any further particulars, including the specific Criminal Code provisions. While it is unlikely, if there are any major errors in the Information, this would already act in your favor.
Your version of what happened, in writing, is also valuable to provide your lawyer with, including a list of witnesses and their addresses if possible. It’s best to write down what happened as soon as possible before any details fade in your memory. These details can be invaluable, both to your lawyer and to you as a future memory aid, including what you were doing at the time before and during the event in question, who else was present, and if and when you were arrested, what the police said and did. The reason why all this is important is because you have Charter rights, including the right against unreasonable search and seizure, the right to be informed of your rights upon arrest (e.g., to speak to counsel and the right to remain silent, and be provided the reason for your arrest). Sometimes, what the police did or did not do can be just as important to the success of your case as your own conduct.
If you have physical evidence or you were able to take photos of any physical evidence, bring these as well. An example may be a receipt for an item you are alleged to have stolen or a receipt for a purchase showing you were out of the area where the alleged crime took place. Even text messages, social media, and phone records can be helpful, especially if they show that someone else was liable for a crime and not you. Understandably, you might not have access to all this information if you were arrested.
You need to work with a lawyer that you trust and can put your faith in. Your lawyer has a duty to be candid with you about your case, based on the available evidence. Your lawyer will tell you whether or not there are grounds to bring a Charter challenge and if it is advisable that you plead guilty, based on the evidence. Your lawyer will try to get the best outcome for you, and sometimes that means a lesser penalty or sentence than otherwise. It is important to listen carefully to your lawyer out and let him or her explain to you the risks of each option you take.
Get Help Today From Murad Ali Khan, Criminal Lawyer in Brampton & Mississauga
If you have been criminally charged, speak to Murad Ali Khan at MAKs Law Firm right away for help. He can start right away for you, including being your bail hearing lawyer. Murad Ali Khan is prepared to help you when you need it. Call now at 647-955-1681.