Yes. Your reputation and freedom are your greatest assets. It is said “a person who represents themselves has a fool for a client”. Find the best criminal lawyer available so that you can be assured that you obtain the best possible result.
Contact a criminal lawyer! The lawyer will contact the police on your behalf, assess the damage, and then instruct you as to what is your best course of action. If you are going to be charged with a criminal offence, then the lawyer will arrange for your surrender so that you are in police custody for the least amount of time, and instruct you so that you say and do nothing to prejudice your case.
Your lawyer will make court appearances for you. Early in the process, the Crown prosecutor will provide disclosure, a paper, cd, or dvd, version of the case against you. Your lawyer will review the disclosure with you. Your lawyer will meet with the Crown prosecutor to negotiate a resolution. If an agreement can be reached, the matter will be resolved. If not, a trial date will be scheduled.
Assuming that the Crown refuses to accept defeat and is intent on pursuing the allegation, depending on the seriousness of the case, and the jurisdiction, the gestation period from arrest to trial is between 6 months and 3 years.
Bail conditions can be changed either with the consent of the Crown Attorney, or by formal application to the Court.
Absolutely! In spite of your belief that there is an overwhelming case against you, there may still be an opportunity to avoid culpability if the police overstepped their authority and infringed on your rights pursuant to the Charter of Rights. There may be other technical defences available that relate to the court process if the matter is delayed unreasonably. Finally, an experienced defence lawyer can achieve a dramatically different result than an unrepresented defendant.
There are several options available to avoid a criminal record. Your lawyer may be able to negotiate “diversion” whereby the charges are withdrawn upon the completion of community service or the making of a charitable donation. In more serious cases, your lawyer may be able to advocate for a discharge, which is a finding of guilt but does not constitute a criminal conviction. Of course, if you win your case, that is the ultimate way to avoid a criminal record!
Legal Aid Ontario will only subsidize your defence if you qualify financially, and if you are likely to be imprisoned if you are convicted. Most employed individuals will not qualify for Legal Aid. Criminal lawyers are generally not as expensive as their civil litigation counterparts. They will often offer you a payment plan within your financial means. You should make this expense a priority!
Shop around. Do the research. Find an experienced criminal lawyer who specializes in criminal cases. Contact Kostman and Pyzer, Barristers for your best defence. We have been defending criminal cases successfully since 1983.