They are called “social media” and “public profiles” for a reason.

With the creation of Twitter, Facebook, WordPress and every other content sharing platform our lives went from private to public in nano seconds and we seem to like it.

We share everything from where we are to what were doing and even our opinions. However, social media can be your worst enemy and karma has a long swing on the Internet. Not only are regular people like you and me on social media but, police, lawyers and people in hiring positions.

This example is not from Ottawa but, it shows what you need to worry about. A girl named Emma tweeted about hitting a cyclist with her car and how they deserved it. Turns out the Internet did not agree with her and sent that tweet to the police.  The local police, being on social media, contacted her and made sure she sent a report.

This month we wrote and sent a newsletter talking about social media and how to use/not use it to our clients. If you want this information send us an email at [email protected] and we can send you a pdf or hard copy.

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.

What About My Service Guarantee?

It is impossible to predict the outcome of a case so we are not able to guarantee what will happen in your case.  If anyone says that they can make you a guarantee about the outcome of your case, you should be very suspicious.  Until the case reaches its final conclusion, there is no certainty of the outcome.  All we can do is prepare a strong defence and meet any challenges that come along the way to the best of our ability.

While we are unable to predict or guarantee the outcome of your case, we will be able to assess how we think the case is going as it proceeds.  If your case goes to trial, we may be able to get a sense of how the case is progressing at any given time, but as trial continues, this can change.  Throughout the trial proceedings, we will let you know if certain things that occur are in our favour, strengthen our case, or if something happens that presents a challenge for us.

While we cannot guarantee the outcome of your case, there are a few things we can guarantee you.  The lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth can guarantee the kind of service you will receive as one of our clients.  We can guarantee that we will handle your case to the best of our ability and that we will provide you with continuous quality service.  On our website, we outline thirteen aspects that we call our “service guarantee” for our clients.  Some of our guarantees include personal attention, quick responses to your questions or requests, confidential service, and aggressive representation.  Take a look at our 13 part service guarantee as it outlines in detail the kind of service and attention you will receive.

How to be a Good Client during your Ottawa Criminal Defence Case

If you have been charged with a criminal offence and have retained the help of an Ottawa criminal defence lawyer, the next thing you should be aware of is how you can be a good client.  This will help you and your lawyer get the best possible outcome in your case. Being a good client may seem obvious or even unimportant, but it can make all the difference in your lawyer’s ability to properly defend you.

First and foremost, it is important that you are completely honest with your lawyer from the beginning and remain honest throughout your defence.  If you withhold information or provide your lawyer with false information, you will not receive the best defence.  Your relationship with your criminal defence lawyer must be based on honesty.  Trust your lawyer and he or she will do all that is possible to help you with your case.

Also, keep in mind that your lawyer has other clients and responsibilities in addition to your case.  While providing you with a good defence is a priority for your lawyer, it is important that you follow your lawyer’s communication policy. At our firm, we prefer to speak with clients during pre-arranged telephone calls or meetings.  This allows us to focus on the case we are working on without interruption. When your lawyer is preparing for your case, you wouldn’t want him or her to be constantly interrupted with unscheduled phone calls from other clients. Remember this fact before you inundate your lawyer with phone calls every day.

Discussing and planning your case during scheduled phone calls or meetings is much more productive than starting and stopping quick phone calls or answering e-mails throughout the day.  Scheduled communication allows your lawyer to work efficiently and provide you with the best service possible.  If you have a question for your lawyer, you can call their office and speak with a staff member that will likely be able to answer you.  If for some reason they are not able to, they can schedule an appointment for you to meet or speak with your lawyer directly.

Remember that your relationship with your lawyer is reciprocal.  Your lawyer can only provide you with a good defence if you cooperate with the legal process and are forthcoming with information.  In order to receive the best defence and increase your chances of receiving a favourable outcome, trust your lawyer and do all that you can to be a good client.

Ottawa Lawyer | Bail Conditions Following Ontario Criminal Charges

OTTAWA CRIMINAL DEFENCE LAWYER – When you have been charged with an Ontario offence and released on bail, there are conditions you must follow upon your release from custody.

As a lawyer who has defended public demonstration participants in the past, I read with interest the story of the charged G20 demonstrators who had special conditions applied to their bail arrangements – some of them were not allowed to speak to each other outside of a courtroom setting, and further still, some are being barred from participating in public demonstrations during their bail period.

If you successfully apply for bail, the next few months will not be easy. You will likely be under supervision, and you may have to refrain from certain activities. Even if these restrictions seem unfair or unnecessarily hurtful to you and your family, you must follow them! Here’s what happens if you don’t:

  1. You may be arrested, with more criminal charges added.
  2. You may have to attend a “contested bail hearing,” where the judge is likely to put an end to your current release from custody.
  3. You will have significantly lower chances, in the future, of successfully applying for a bail or release from custody.
  4. Favourable negotiations with the Crown, on your original charges, will be much more difficult.

If you do feel that your bail conditions are unfair, there is an option – discuss your release documents with your criminal defence lawyer. He or she may be able to successfully have the conditions changed.

If you have been arrested and charged with a criminal offence in Ontario, and have questions about your release or bail, a top criminal lawyer can provide the answers you need. For more information, contact the Ottawa defence lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth by email [email protected] or by phone at (613) 233-4529.

Ontario Set to Toughen Impaired Driving Consequences Starting December 1

OTTAWA CRIMINAL DEFENCE LAWYER – An arrest in Ontario for Impaired Driving, Over 80, or Sample Refusal is already a serious and stressful experience. At the end of this month, these cases are going to become even more serious.

The Ontario government issued a press release announcing a scheduled change to their vehicle impoundment policy. Effective December 1, drivers arrested in connection with an alcohol-related driving offence will be subject to a seven-day vehicle impoundment – for which the vehicle’s owner must pay the towing and storage bill.

This new impoundment policy extends to those found driving with suspended licenses, but it also effects:

  • Drivers found driving with a blood alcohol concentration of over 80 milligrams.
  • Drivers who refuse to supply a breath sample to a police officer.
  • Drivers required to have an interlock ignition device, and who are found driving without one installed.

After December 1, if you are arrested for an alcohol-related driving offence, the arresting officer will have to determine whether or not the vehicle is subject to impoundment. If he or she decides that an impoundment is necessary, you will be given a “Notice of Impoundment” and your car will be towed immediately from the site of the arrest.

In my practice, I fight on behalf of many drivers who were wrongfully arrested for Impaired Driving, Over 80, or Sample Refusal in Ontario. This seven-day impoundment period immediately following the arrest is both an inconvenience and a financial hit that will cause stress to the driver before he or she has a chance to start fighting their driving offence charges.

Have you been arrested for an alcohol-related driving offence in Ontario? You should speak with a top criminal defence lawyer as soon as possible – one who can help you understand your options and fight your charges. For more information, contact the Ottawa criminal defence lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth by email [email protected] or by phone at (613) 233-4529.

Getting Released from Jail on Bail – NEED TO GET OUT OF JAIL ON BAIL?

The Ottawa criminal defence lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth can assist our clients in jail to get released on bail. This is one of the most crucial parts of your defense strategy.

If the Crown Consents to Release You:

Often the Crown Attorney will agree to release you if the crime is not violent, not very serious or the person is not considered a flight risk. If Crown consents, your release is normally within hours.

Recognizance

A person who was arrested without a warrant will normally be released on the agreement of the Crown with a summons, appearance notice or promise to appear.

Other times, release will be conditional on the entering of a “recognizance” in amount of up to $500.

Undertaking with Conditions

The Crown could also consent to a release based on undertaking with conditions. For example:

  • To remain within a certain area;
  • To deposit a passport;
  • To notify the police of any change in address or employment;
  • To attend school (where applicable);
  • To abstain from communicating with any person or from going to any place;
  • To abstain from possessing a firearm and to surrender any firearm;
  • To report to police at specified times;
  • To abstain from consuming alcohol or other intoxicating substances; and/or
  • To abstain from taking druges except in accordance with a medical prescription

What if the Crown does not agree to release?

The Criminal Code of Canada mandates that someone who is being detained in jail after arrest be brought to court before a Justice of the Peace within 24 hours or as soon as possible. This timeline applies even if the arrest is on the weekend or a holiday.  In most jurisdications, Justices of the Peace hold bail hearings on Saturdays and Sundays.

If the Crown doesn’t agree to a release, if the Crown cannot hold a full bail hearing within twenty-four  hours, then the Crown may request to postpone the hearing for up to seventy-two hours.

Sureties

In some circumstances, delaying the hearing makes sense for the person who has been charged. The extra time can permit his or her criminal defence lawyer to assemble a strong case for release and to arrange for sureties.

What is a surety? A surety is someone who consents to be responsible for, and supervise, someone charged with a crime. Sometimes a surety has to put up or promise to pay money to the Court if the charged person fails to obey conditions of release from custody.

Are all Release Plans the Same?

No. Often, the Court’s decision to grant bail or not will depend on how good the decision maker consders the plan of release to be. Important questions to be answered are: does the person have a place to stay, a job to go to, counseling and support as required and appropriate supervision by someone whom the accused person respects. Sometimes, assembling the plan can take time.

Considerations when the Court will consider whether to release someone on bail:

The 3 considerations for the Court at a bail hearing:

  1. Is the detention necessary to ensure the person’s attendance in court?
  2. Is the detention necessary for the protection or safety of the public?
  3. Is there any other just cause requiring detention having regard to all circumstances, including the apparent strength of the prosecution’s case, the gravity of the nature of the offence, the circumstances surrounding its commission and the potential for a lengthy term of imprisonment?

Who has the Burden at a Bail Hearing?

The Crown normally has the onus to “show cause” why the accused should be held.  For some offences, or for people who have a record for failure to attend court, the onus or burden can be on the detained person to “show cause” why he or she should be released.

What if Bail id Denied?

Hire a criminal defence lawyer to handle your bail hearing before the Justice of the Peace to secure the best possible result, as quickly and as cheaply as possible.

Bail Review

Where release is denied, a “bail review” can be scheduled before a judge.   The same three factors apply, but the judge is not bound by the views of the Justice of the Peace.

Note:  If the Justice of the Peace releases the accused person, the Crown can also seek a bail review.

Sometimes it can take several weeks to get a date before a judge where your lawyer, the Crown, the witnesses and a judge are all available. The requirement to obtain (and pay for) the transcript of the initial bail hearing can also contribute to delay.

This can be frustrating and requires patience.  You can be assured that Auger Hollingsworth would do everything in its power to move your hearing forward as quickly as possible.  However, the possible delay is a strong reason to take your initial bail hearing seriously and hire a lawyer immediately.

Why is Bail so Important?

Apart from the disruption and anxiety of separation from family and friends and loss of employment, there are strategic reasons to seek bail in many cases.  For example:

  • It is more difficult and costly to meet with your lawyer and to assist in the preparation of your case from the detention centre. Your lawyer is limited as to when he or she can visit you. Telephone access is limited.
  • If you proceed to trial, you will be seated in the prisoner’s dock if you are in custody. This can have an impact, particularly on a jury.
  • If you are released on bail for months or more prior to trial, and stay out of trouble while out of custody, you will have a strong argument in any sentencing hearing that a jail sentence is not required and that you are rehabilitated.

If you or a loved one needs help getting out on bail, do not wait.  Contact a criminal defence lawyer as soon as possible.  Our Ottawa criminal defence lawyers will handle bail hearings and bail reviews in Ottawa, Smiths Falls, Perth, Cornwall, Hawksbury, L’Orignal, and many other locations.  Call 613 233-4529 or email [email protected] today!

Crown Attorney Abandons Sexual Assault Case

Richard was co-counsel on a jury trial for sexual assault, involving significant pre-trial work up and investigation to obtain records and other evidence to discredit the complainant. Based largely on Richard’s pre-trial preparation, senior counsel was able to discredit the complainant at the beginning of the trial. The Crown attorney abandoned the prosecution shortly after the trial started. Location: Toronto, Ontario.