Five Critical Defence Strategies for Winning Your Impaired Driving Case

OTTAWA CRIMINAL DEFENCE LAWYER – During my career as a criminal lawyer I have successfully fought many impaired driving charges all across Ontario. Along the way, I have picked up five must-have strategies to fight Impaired Driving, Over 80, or Sample Refusal charges at the trial stage.

Today, I’d like to share these important case-winning techniques with you:

  1. 1.      A thorough and critical review of the crown attorney’s evidence. If your lawyer’s review is truly comprehensive, you might be able to have your charges dropped or resolved favourably without a trial.
  2. 2.      Thorough investigation of the facts from your perspective, and from the perspective of witnesses. Any skilled lawyer will meet with you regularly, in-person, to get a complete understanding of your recollection, and to gather the most information about possible witnesses.
  3. 3.      Skillful Cross-Examination at Trial. A top criminal lawyer with litigation experience can often expose errors or inconsistencies in the testimony of Crown witnesses or police officers.
  4. 4.      Thorough understanding of your Charter rights. There are a number of ways your lawyer can show that your detention and arrest was in violation of the Charter of Human Rights.
  5. 5.      Legal counsel from an experienced criminal defence lawyer. An individual representing himself in court will likely be unable to get any value from the above strategies – most don’t know enough about impaired driving laws.

I believe in providing the best possible information to help educate you about Ontario criminal laws and I understand the stressful experience you are facing. That’s why I provided these strategies to help you gain a better understanding of what lies ahead.

If you have been charged with Impaired Driving, Sample Refusal, or Over 80 in Ontario, a top criminal defence lawyer can help you fight to have the charges dismissed. For more information, contact the Ottawa criminal defence lawyers at Auger Holingsworth by email [email protected] or by phone at (613) 233-4529.

Need Help Finding the Right Lawyer?

OTTAWA CRIMINAL DEFENCE LAWYER – Prominent Ottawa criminal defence lawyer Richard Auger has recently written and released a new consumer guide book entitled “Choosing the Right Lawyer: A Comprehensive Guide to Finding the Best Criminal Lawyer to Fight Your Criminal Charges”. The book is available for free download here.

If you have been charged with a criminal offence in Ontario, this book is a must-read. It outlines some of the key traits to look for in a lawyer, helps explain how to deal with legal costs, and shows you what types of lawyer advertising you should watch out for.

What Is The First Appearance Date On The Papers The Police Gave Me?

When you read the first appearance date on the papers from the police, don’t panic.  This is not a trial date.  The first appearance date is simply the day that you have to appear in court so that the court knows that you are dealing with your criminal charges.  This date is merely the first time that you have to appear in court, and you will likely have a few other court appearances before an actual trial date is set.  The reason for such preliminary court appearances is so that you have time to hire a lawyer, to allow time for the prosecution to gather their evidence and to provide you and your lawyer with what they have found (disclosure).

The first appearance date is also often referred to as a “remand date”.  At this remand date appearance, a number of individuals will be called before the court.  The purpose of this brief session is to make sure that individuals charged with an offence are aware of their charges and are prepared to move forward.  At remand court, you will not be required to enter a plea and the prosecution will not present any evidence or question witnesses or you.  Remember, this is not a trial date, but simply an initial court appearance to begin the process of addressing your charges.

While your first appearance date is mandatory, by signing a designation of counsel, your criminal defence lawyer may be able appear in court on your behalf.  This means that you do not actually have to go to court, since your lawyer will do so for you.  As long as the appropriate paperwork has been signed and presented to the court, your lawyer can attend court for the first appearance date without you.  Your time is better spent working, attending school and dealing with other responsibilities.  This is one example that demonstrates the importance of hiring a criminal defence lawyer as soon as you are charged with a criminal offence.  The lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth will be able to advise you about whether or not you need to attend this first appearance.  You can be confident that the criminal defence lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth will be prepared to assist you during this time by preparing you for your initial appearance or by acting on your behalf.

What Do I Do If I Think I Am Going To Be Charged?

If you think you might be charged by the police with a criminal offence, do not speak with the police.  You are not obligated to speak with the police, even if they try to convince you that you are.  You should call an experienced criminal defence lawyer immediately.  The first thing you need is sound legal advice.  Even if you have not yet been charged, even if you end up not being charged at all, seeking legal advice is never the wrong choice.  It can only benefit you to receive experienced legal advice.

It is important that you receive private, confidential legal advice if you think you are going to be charged with a criminal offence.  You may think that you can avoid charges, or that you will be fine to speak with the police on your own, but nothing can replace the individualized legal help of an experienced criminal defence lawyer.  Lawyers like those at Auger Hollingsworth know the law and they know the best steps to take in your particular case.  They have dealt with many cases, likely some similar to yours, and they can draw upon their experience and knowledge of the law and criminal process in order to help you.

If you suspect you are going to be charged, there are a few things you should not do.  Do not go to the police station without speaking to a lawyer first.  Do not answer any questions that the police or prosecuting lawyers ask you.  Also, do not speak with your friends or family about your potential charges.  Again, the first thing you should do is seek the advice of a criminal defence lawyer as soon as possible.  The sooner your lawyer speaks with you and starts to work on your case, the better.  Regardless of whether or not charges end up being laid against you, you will know that you did the best thing to protect yourself and in the event that you are charged with a criminal offence, you will have already done all you can to set yourself up for the best possible outcome.

The Police Want To Talk To Me, What Should I Do?

If the police contact you by telephone, it is important that you remain polite.  While it may be easy to become defensive or agitated when speaking to the police, it is your best interest to treat the police with respect and politeness.  In doing so; however, you do not have to answer their questions about your case, nor should you discuss your version of the events.  When on the phone with the police, tell them that you want to consult a lawyer and that you will call them back after doing so.  It is important that you do not speak with the police until you have received legal advice from an experienced criminal defence lawyer.

You may be a little wary or perhaps even frightened when the police call you.  Do your best to remain calm and remember that you do not have to speak with the police and you are entitled to speak to a lawyer.  They may encourage you to answer their questions, and reassure you that it is alright to tell your side of the story, because they are doing their job to investigate a crime and they are looking for certain information.  Remember that it is best if you refrain from speaking with the police until your lawyer advises you to do so.  Your criminal defence lawyer will be able to advise you on the steps to take next.  You do not have to deal with your criminal charges alone, and you don’t have to speak with the police alone either.  A good criminal defence lawyer will look out for your best interests and help you with what you should tell the police.

If you have been contacted by the police and are not sure what to do, seek the help of an experienced criminal defence lawyer.  The lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth will be able to discuss your case with you and will advise you about what to do next.  If the police contact you, remember to be calm, polite and immediately seek the help of a criminal defence lawyer who can help you with what to do from here.

Will I Be Released On Bail?

A common concern of individuals charged with a criminal offence, is whether or not they will be released on bail.  This varies on a case by case basis, but most of our clients qualify to be released on bail.  A number of factors are taken into consideration when a judge decides on whether or not someone will be released on bail.  Usually factors such as an individual’s criminal record and plan of release are issues that determine bail.  While a judge determines bail, both the Crown attorney and the defence lawyers have the opportunity to argue either for or against bail.  The criminal defence lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth work very hard to have clients released on favourable conditions.

In preparing to suggest bail to a judge, we meet with our client and speak with the police and the Crown attorney in order to secure our client’s release on bail.  We do our best to achieve the most favourable conditions for bail and to do so as quickly as possible.  We know that our clients are anxious to have a decision about bail made so we try to have bail decided as soon as possible.

Once an individual is granted bail, the court will stipulate certain conditions that the individual must comply with in order to remain released on bail.  Certain conditions are common, while others are determined based on the particular circumstances of your case.  If you are released on bail, the court will review your case and take into consideration arguments from the prosecution and the defence.  We will do our best to achieve the most favourable bail conditions possible.

If you are wondering if bail might be possible in your case, contact the defence lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth.  They will be able to go over your case with you and see if you might be able to be released on bail.

What Is A Surety?

A surety is a person that knows the accused personally, is a friend or family member, who agrees to supervise the accused when they are released on bail.  The surety must present themselves at court and tell the court that they will be responsible for supervising the accused individual.  The role of the surety is to make sure that the accused complies with all of the conditions of their release.  They also ensure that the accused stays out of trouble while awaiting trial.

A surety plays an important role during the period in which an individual is released on bail.  The job of surety is not to be taken lightly, but should be regarded as important and serious.  The primary duties of a surety include making sure the accused attends their court dates and ensuring that the individual complies with all of their bail conditions.  Sureties are often required to provide a monetary amount for the release of an individual.  Sometimes the court requires a cash deposit, but most often a surety will sign a bond for a certain amount.

A surety should be someone who knows the accused well and is confident that they can adequately supervise the individual.  It is important that the surety maintain a close relationship involving frequent updates and visits with the accused to ensure that bail conditions and court dates are being met and attended.  If you are in a situation where you require a surety in order to be released on bail, you will likely discuss possible sureties with your lawyer.  In the end, the court will decide if a particular person will be able to act as a surety.  The court will take into account the details of the case, including the nature of the charges and the accused person’s criminal record.  The court will also consider the potential surety’s character and background, as well as their financial situation and the amount of time they have available to supervise the accused.

If you are wondering if you might be eligible for bail or how the process of getting a surety works, contact the lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth to obtain the legal advice you are looking for.

How Do I Know What My Bail Conditions Will Be?

Before the bail conditions are proposed in court, and before you are in a position to formally agree to anything, you will go over them with your lawyer.  The criminal defence lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth make sure to thoroughly review the bail conditions with every client so that they understand what is being proposed and what they will be agreeing to.  It is important to know and understand the bail conditions that the Crown attorney has proposed.  This way, you will not be surprised when they are presented in court and you will understand what the Crown is proposing.

Once the Crown presents the bail conditions as they see fit, we will negotiate the most favourable conditions possible.  This negotiation between the Crown and the defence lawyers is important as it seeks to strike a balance between what the Crown thinks is appropriate and respecting your individual rights and freedoms.  The result is hopefully one that everyone agrees is fair and reasonable.  The lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth will work hard to ensure that your bail conditions are appropriate, fair and allow you as much freedom as possible.

Once the bail conditions are accepted in court, you will receive a document that outlines your bail conditions in detail.  This way, you will always know what your conditions are.  If you are ever unsure or forget certain conditions, you can refer to this document.  You should carry this document at all times.  It is important to follow all of the bail conditions and this document will make it easier for you to do so.

As you can see, the process by which bail conditions are proposed, negotiated and accepted, allows for your involvement and understanding prior to anything becoming legally binding.  You will be privy to the proposed bail conditions before having to accept them in court.  A good criminal defence lawyer will be sure to review all of the conditions with you.  In doing so, you will be able to comply with your conditions because you will have had the opportunity to discuss them with your lawyer and ensure that you understand them.  Adhering to all of your bail conditions is one way that you can increase your chances of achieving a successful outcome for your case.

Can I Win My Case And Be Found Not Guilty Even Though I Know I Am Guilty?

Even if you or others believe you are guilty, you may be found not guilty in court and could therefore win your case.  We have had many situations where this has occurred.  While you may think you are guilty, or perhaps others are trying to convince you of your guilt, all of this could be entirely different from what the law says or what the judge says.  Being guilty or thinking that you are guilty of a criminal offence can sometimes be very different than being found guilty in court.

In a criminal court proceeding, the Crown attorney has to prove guilty beyond a reasonable doubt using compelling evidence.  If there is not sufficient or strong enough evidence, or if the Crown is unable to demonstrate your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, you may be found not guilty.  This clearly shows the importance of evidence and legal argument in a criminal case.  While the Crown attorney does all they can to prove guilt, your defence lawyer can work to defend your charges and argue against the evidence or the Crown’s arguments.  This can often result in an individual being found not guilty.

This is also why it is not necessarily a wise decision to plead guilty even if you believe yourself to be guilty.  If we believe that you have a defence, or that the Crown attorney does not have sufficient evidence to successfully prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, we will likely advise you to plead not guilty and to fight the charges.  While your case or even your guilt may appear to be straightforward or obvious to you, the law may state otherwise.  This is why it is so important to hire an experienced criminal defence lawyer who can thoroughly assess your case and offer sound legal advice.  As you can see, guilt and determination of guilt is not as simple or obvious as you may think.  Consult the lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth to see how you can get the best defence possible.

Can I Get My Bail Conditions Changed?

Although bail conditions are serious and must be strictly obeyed, it is possible to have them changed. We have had many clients where we have been successful in getting bail conditions changed and it is possible that this could happen in your case.

The first thing to do in the process of trying to get bail conditions changed is for us to meet with our client in private to discuss the case. During this meeting, we will learn the reasons and circumstances for a bail condition change. A number of different things are taken into account when we consider trying to get bail conditions changed, so the particular details of your case as well as your past behaviour and adherence to your bail conditions are very important.

After having a private, one-on-one meeting with our client, we will meet with the Crown Attorney to put forward a strategy and explanation for why the bail conditions should be changed. Sometimes it can be easy to convince the Crown that bail conditions should be changed but other times, the Crown may be unwilling to make changes.

If we believe that we have a strong argument for having the bail conditions changed, we will do all we can to convince the Crown to make the changes. If that fails, we will consider going to court to ask the court to decide on the bail condition change.

The changes that can be made to bail conditions vary on a case by case basis; however some changes are quite common. For example, many of the changes are to allow the individuals more flexibility and more freedom to move forward with work opportunities. Some bail conditions require an individual not to work, or to only work at certain places or for a limited amount of time.

Sometimes there are valid reasons why the individual should have more freedom in their working conditions, and if so, we would propose this as a change to the bail conditions. Also, many individuals on bail desire or need more freedom and flexibility with communication opportunities. Again, most bail conditions stipulate restrictions regarding who the individual can speak with and the methods of communication.

Depending on the particulars of the case, we may be able to have the bail conditions changed so as to allow the individual more freedom in their communication. We often argue that these kinds of changes are often necessary to maintain a normal life.

If you are looking for legal advice regarding bail conditions and are wondering if changes may be made in your case, contact the lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth.