What to Look For in an Ontario Criminal Lawyer: The Importance of Honesty

If you have been charged with a criminal offence in Ontario, one of the most important things you can do to help your case is to hire a good criminal defence lawyer to represent you.  It can be difficult to know where to start to find a good lawyer and it can also be overwhelming.  Many accused people don’t know what to look for or what questions to ask.  This article will try to help you know how to choose a good criminal defence lawyer by explaining the important of honesty.  Later articles will look at some more important factors to consider when choosing an Ontario criminal lawyer. You can also download our free book on this subject here.

The most important characteristic of a good criminal defence lawyer is honesty.  It is crucial that you find a lawyer that you can trust and that you feel comfortable speaking with.  There are two particular areas where you want to feel that your lawyer is being honest.  The first is that your lawyer is honest about the potential outcomes of your case.  Criminal defence lawyers cannot predict the outcome of any given case but they can show you how they think the case may proceed and develop the best strategy possible.

While it may sound great to hear a lawyer guarantee that they will win your case, you should be very sceptical of such promises.  If a lawyer tells you how easy it will be to win your case you should probably not trust them.  Good criminal defence lawyers will explain to you the potential outcomes of your case.  If your lawyer is optimistic or confident about your case, that is a good thing because you want them to work toward the best outcome for you.  A good lawyer will explain to you their strategies for successfully defending you but they will also lay out what might happen if things don’t go the way you plan.  Make sure that your lawyer gives you an honest assessment of your case and the potential outcomes.

The second area where you want to make sure your lawyer is being honest is regarding legal fees.  The last thing you want to find out at the end of your case is that you have a surprise bill to pay for the legal services you received.  You can assess the honest level of a particular lawyer by looking at the way they charge their clients.  It is best to work with a lawyer who uses a retainer system.  This system is the most honest arrangement between a lawyer and their client and they allow you to also plan ahead.  A good criminal defence lawyer should be upfront about their legal fees and should be able to give you an estimate of what their services will cost.

Lastly some important questions to ask your lawyer include:

1. What is the worst/best case scenario?

2. What challenges do you see in my case?

3. When do I have to pay legal fees?

4. What are my options and what are the risks and benefits of each option?

If you are facing criminal charges, contact the criminal defence lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth and you can be confident that you will receive honest legal representation.

Should I Just Plead Guilty and Get This Over With?

While pleading guilty may seem like the best option and the one that will get your criminal case over with the quickest, it is not necessarily the best choice.  If you are facing criminal charges, you should not plead guilty until you have had a thorough review of the case against you and you have received legal advice from a criminal lawyer.  Do not be hasty in offering a guilty plea until you have all of the facts of the case and investigation.

Even if you think you are guilty, or perhaps others are telling you that you are guilty, the disclosure may reveal otherwise.  Also, your criminal defence lawyer may advise you otherwise as well, depending on what the evidence and circumstances of the case reveal.  For example, the evidence collected by the police may not be admissible against you in court.  Until you know all of the details of the case against you, you should not enter a guilty plea.  You don’t want to plead guilty when there may not even be a legal case against you.

The most important thing you should do before you think about pleading guilty, is seek the advice of an experienced criminal defence lawyer.  A good criminal lawyer will work for you which means he or she will have your best interests in mind.  Other lawyers or the police involved in the case have their own jobs to fulfill, while your criminal lawyer’s job is to provide you with a good defence and options.  Your lawyer will review all of the details of your case and will advise you on whether or not you should plead guilty.

Rather than making the decision to plead guilty under the impression that it will end your case sooner and to your benefit, speak with a lawyer.  The specific circumstances of the allegations and the evidence revealed in the disclosure will help your lawyer advise you about the best course of action.

What Happens If I Fail to Attend My Criminal Court Date?

When a Judge orders an individual to appear in Court at a specific date and time, that individual is legally bound to appear.  An individual who intentionally misses their criminal Court date can be charged with a criminal offence.  However, the onus is on the prosecutor to demonstrate that the individual truly intended not to appear in Court.  This means that they must show that the individual was aware of their Court date and chose not to appear.

Generally, it is up to the Judge whether or not he or she accepts a particular excuse for not appearing in Court.  For example, an individual who slept through their Court date would not likely receive much leniency from a Judge, but someone whose children were rushed to the emergency room in a life-threatening situation might be excused.

If you are ever in a situation when you think or know in advance that you will not be able to attend your criminal Court date, discuss this with your lawyer.  If you only realize after the fact that you missed your Court date, contact your lawyer and they will advise you on how to proceed. It is possible that you may still be able to avoid criminal charges.  Regardless of the circumstances surrounding your failure to appear in Court, it is important that you have a good criminal lawyer who will work on your behalf.

Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation Introducing New Technology to Fight Fraud

OTTAWA CRIMINAL DEFENCE LAWYER –  Last week the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) rolled out a new tracking tool that will make it more difficult for those facing Ontario lottery fraud charges to defend themselves.

OLG’s new tracking system, known as the Data Analysis and Retrieval Technology (DART), can investigate the Corporation’s entire database in a matter of minutes. OLG intends to use it to seek out suspicious or potentially fraudulent practices.

An online article readable at ItWorldCanada.com, Ontario Lottery Turns to BI to Fight Fraud, sheds light on just how powerful this technology is. For example, it can trace back the entire history of any given ticket, including where it was sold, what the retailer had been doing at the terminal prior to the sale, and the time and location of checking the winning ticket.

This is the most recent of various measures the Ontario government has implemented, over the last three years, to prevent fraudulent lottery claims by those who sell tickets. Some of the other fraud-fighting steps have included:

  • A registration process for lottery ticket dealers, including background checks.
  • Routine inspections to ensure the integrity of Ontario’s lottery system.
  • Offering arbitration hearings for those involved in lottery prize disputes.

Just as with any other type of Ontario fraud, lottery fraud can result in fines, a criminal record, and even imprisonment if you are convicted. As anti-fraud measures become more advanced, you want to make sure you have a top criminal defence lawyer fighting your charges.

Have you been charged with lottery fraud or illegal gambling in Ontario? A top criminal defence lawyer can help you understand your rights, and fight to have the charges against you dismissed. For more information, contact the Ottawa criminal lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth by email at [email protected] or by phone at (613) 233-4529.

Ottawa Criminal Lawyer | Applying for a Pardon in Ontario

OTTAWA CRIMINAL DEFENCE LAWYER – If you have been convicted of a criminal offence in Canada, you may be eligible for an eventual pardon. A pardon is a seal on your existing criminal record – a process during which all of your previous charges and convictions are removed from the federal database of active criminal files.

A recent article entitled Feds Still Eyeing Tougher Pardon Rules pointed out that over the last couple of years, the National Parole Board has seen an increase in its power to deny pardons. The government has also doubled the amount of time convicted individuals must wait before they can be granted a pardon for violent crimes.

The pardon application process in Canada is generally done through the National Parole Board, and can take anywhere from eighteen months to thirty-six months to complete. Keep in mind that this is a process that must start after you have become eligible to apply for a pardon.

That brings us to the question of when a convicted individual becomes eligible to apply. The answer depends on the nature of the conviction. For example, were the charges for a summary offence or an indictable offence? How severe were the charges, and was violence involved?

For more information on applying for a pardon on your Ontario criminal conviction, you may want to visit the National Parole Board of Canada’s helpful Pardons Fact Sheet.

If you have been charged with a criminal offence in Ontario, there are a number of options you can take to avoid being convicted – and avoid having to apply for a pardon through the National Parole Board. For more information, contact the Ottawa criminal defence lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth by email [email protected] or by phone at (613) 233-4529.

Fighting Ontario Insider Trading Charges

OTTAWA CRIMINAL DEFENCE LAWYER – Insider trading is a criminal offence in Canada under both the Criminal Code and the Securities Act. For those unfamiliar with the term, insider trading is the act of providing, or acting on, a “tip” concerning the financial future of a publicly-traded company.

There are serious consequences for both those who commit insider trading, and those who provide the tips. If convicted, “tippers” face up to five years in prison. Insider traders themselves could spend up to ten years in prison.

There was a recent piece in the Globe and Mail entitled Ensuring Secrets Stay That Way which discusses the modern framework for prosecuting insider traders and tippers in Ontario. The article discusses the case of Mitchell Finkelstein, an Ontario lawyer recently charged with insider trading.

As the article clearly outlines, an insider trading offence can be extremely difficult to prove – and even more difficult to convict with a prison sentence.

Tips can come from a variety of places. They can come from a corporate “insider” – defined as a senior officer or executive who is privy to major upcoming business decisions such as takeover. They can also come from business lawyers who assist with planning and implementing these major business moves.

The best way to avoid insider trading charges in Ontario is to report any trading you do as an insider. These reporting forms are readily available from the government and give you an opportunity to disclose your status as an insider – preventing you from being prosecuted for doing the trading.

Have you been charged with insider trading, fraud, or any other white-collar criminal offence in Ontario? A top criminal defence lawyer can help you determine the best way to have your charges dropped. For more information, contact the criminal defence lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth by email [email protected] or by phone at (613) 233-4529.

Searching for an Ontario Impaired Driving Lawyer? Read This First!

OTTAWA CRIMINAL DEFENCE LAWYER – Being charged with an Ontario driving offence is serious and can cause a lot of stress. You’re probably overwhelmed by the prospect of searching for a lawyer, and more importantly, finding the best one to take on your case.

As an Ottawa lawyer with a long record of success in fighting impaired driving charges, over the years I have found some helpful strategies that smart people use to find the best impaired driving lawyers for their Ontario case.

You can read about a few of these tips in my new article: Three Questions to Ask BEFORE Hiring an Ottawa Impaired Driving Lawyer.

It’s important to remember that these three pointers are only a small component of the strategy you should be using to search for a top impaired driving defence lawyer. Your strategy should also include talking with friends and acquaintances for their recommendations. Another smart plan is to do very thorough research – both online and elsewhere – on each lawyer you are considering hiring for your case.

Have you been arrested and charged with an Ontario drinking and driving offence? The Ottawa impaired driving lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth are here to help you find the best possible legal representation for your case. Call us today at (613) 233-4529 or email us at [email protected].

Three Questions to Ask BEFORE Hiring an Ottawa Impaired Driving Lawyer

OTTAWA CRIMINAL DEFENCE LAWYER – Being charged in Ontario with Over 80, Impaired Driving, or Sample Refusal can be a stressful ordeal for anybody. You need to hire a great criminal defence lawyer if you want to get those charges dropped. The problem, for many people facing impaired driving charges, is that they don’t know how to find the best criminal lawyer for their specific case.

The search for a top criminal defence lawyer is all about doing research and, asking yourself questions about any prospective lawyer. In this article I will share some of those questions with you – make sure you’ve thought about these before hiring a lawyer to take on your impaired driving case!

  1. Does this lawyer have significant experience representing impaired driving cases at court trial?

Many impaired driving cases do make it to trial in Ontario courtroom, and you need a lawyer who is experienced and skilled in defending them in court. A skilled trial lawyer could win your case using techniques like specialized cross-examination. Avoid one who has not defended very many impaired driving cases in an actual courtroom.

  1. How significantly does impaired driving figure into this lawyer’s criminal defence practice?

It’s important to find a lawyer who lists Ontario driving offences as a major component of his or her criminal defence practice. Avoid any lawyer who “dabbles” in impaired driving, or who specializes in a different area of law – impaired driving is a unique and complex area of the law that requires a specialized knowledge.

  1. Does the lawyer have a sophisticated understanding of all the defences and strategies that could be used to fight my charges?

In Ontario, there are a number of ways you can fight impaired driving charges. For example, you can prove that the police officer’s administration of the test was not correct, or argue that the arrest was in violation of the Charter. Before you hire a criminal lawyer, make sure he or she has an up-to-date knowledge of these defences, as well as the experience and skills to apply them successfully.

Have you been arrested and charged with an Ontario drinking and driving offence? The Ottawa impaired driving lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth are here to help you find the best possible legal representation for your case. Call us today at (613) 233-4529 or email us at [email protected].

Ottawa Lawyer | Fraud Prevention Centre Opens in Ontario

OTTAWA FRAUD LAWYER – As a lawyer who often defends individuals charged with fraud and similar financial offences in Ontario, I took a special interest in the recent opening of the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) in North Bay, Ontario.

The CAFC assists with fraud cases in two ways. They take phone calls from victims of suspected fraud schemes – especially potential “mass-marketing” fraud schemes involving telephone scams – and report incidents of alleged fraud.

The other half of the practice is more concerning for Ontario defence lawyers. The CAFC employs a team of 24 intelligence analysts who are paid to dig up the details of alleged fraud schemes. These details are then sent to law-enforcement agencies.

The CAFC’s brand-new web site, http://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/, releases monthly reports containing some fascinating statistics on fraud in Canada. Here are some of the stats they’ve shared for October 2010:

  • The centre received calls from 640 Canadian mass-marketing fraud victims, who were defrauded of more than $2 million in total.
  • The centre received a total of 10,653 phone calls in the one month alone.
  • More than 600 of October’s complainants were victims of identity theft and identity fraud.

The existence of this new centre – especially given its intelligence staff – will only serve to make the situation more difficult for those who have been charged with fraud in Ontario. As Canada continues to crack down on fraud and other white-collar crimes, it is important to make sure you understand your rights if you have been investigated or charged.

Are you under investigation, or have already been charged, in connection with a case of fraud in Ontario? You should not proceed alone – get help and advice from a top criminal defence lawyer who has experience handling white-collar crime and fraud cases. For more information, contact the Ottawa lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth by email [email protected] or by phone at (613) 233-4529.

How and Why Should I Hire a Lawyer to Fight Ontario Fraud Charges?

OTTAWA CRIMINAL DEFENCE LAWYER – Some of the individuals who come into my office seeking legal counsel are facing charges for fraud, which is a serious Ontario criminal offence. This offence can be defined as gaining money unlawfully through deception.

Possible fraud convictions in Ontario are split into two categories, depending on how much money was involved in the alleged fraud incidence.

  • If you are convicted of fraud over $5000, an Indictable Criminal Offence as outlined by the Criminal Code of Canada, you could be sentenced to up to 14 years in prison.
  • Fraud under $5000 can be an Indictable Offence under the Code – punishable by a prison sentence of up to two years – or it can be a summary offence, resulting in fines.

Serving time in prison for a fraud conviction would have significant impact on your life and the lives of your family members. This kind of conviction is something you want to avoid at all costs, by fighting the charges against you.

Do I need a criminal defence lawyer to help me fight these charges?

The answer is yes.   Crown prosecutors sometimes have difficulty proving guilt in these cases, so there is often a chance of successfully having your charges dismissed. A number of defences – for example, proving a lack of intent to defraud, or challenging a search warrant – can be employed in order to fight the fraud charges against you.

The reason most people hire a lawyer to help fight fraud charges – and so should you – is that an average person does not have the specialized training and experience to make these complex legal arguments.

How do I go about finding the right criminal defence lawyer for my Ontario fraud case?

Choosing the right criminal defence lawyer to fight your white-collar crime charges should involve a lot of research. Investigate lawyers’ web sites thoroughly to get an idea of how knowledgeable they are on the subject. Here are three things to keep in mind:

  • Does the lawyer have testimonials and case results verifying past wins in fraud cases?
  • Is the lawyer willing to share information on the subject (e.g. books, brochures, consultations)?
  • Is the lawyer willing to represent me in any court across Ontario?

With the right lawyer, you could get your Ontario fraud charges dismissed – and avoid having to pay fines or spend time in prison.

Have you been charged with fraud in Ontario? A top criminal defence lawyer can give you the advice you need to fight your charges. For more information, contact the Ottawa lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth by email [email protected] or by phone at (613) 233-4529.