What to Look For in an Ontario Criminal Lawyer: a Good Track Record

When looking for a good Ontario criminal lawyer it is important to take into consideration the individual’s track record.  While years of experience certainly count for something, it is more important to have consistent positive results.  The business of criminal defence lawyers is really a results-oriented business and you want the lawyer representing you to have consistent results.  Although no criminal lawyer can win every case, you should work with a lawyer who has a good track record of achieving successful outcomes. Download Choosing the Right Lawyer here.

There are a few areas in which you want your criminal lawyer to have a good track record.  The first is regarding case results and testimonials.  When choosing a criminal lawyer, take a look at their past case results and if you have access to them, read some of their client testimonials.  It can help to hear about the experience that other individuals facing criminal charges had with a particular lawyer.

Another way that you can assess a lawyer’s track record is to fine out if they have received any awards or distinctions.  Such honours demonstrate that a lawyer has received particular recognition from their peers, professional organization governing bodies or local association.  A good defence lawyer will likely include this kind of information on their website.  After all, the internet is usually the first place individuals go to find information.  Good lawyer will want to show prospective clients that they have received awards or distinctions, just as they will likely also include case results and client testimonials on their website.

A final way that you can assess a lawyer’s track record is by finding out if they have been previously disciplined by the Law Society.  All Ontario lawyers are licensed, governed, and regulated by the Law Society of Upper Canada.  This society deals with any complaints that may arise against a lawyer and it serves to protect the public in this way.  The Law Society pursues disciplinary action against lawyers if need be.  It may be awkward to bring up this issue when meeting with a potential lawyer, but it is important for you to know if they have had any complaints filed against them.  Having past complaints does not necessarily indicate that the person is not a good lawyer, but if they have been disciplined in the past, you may want to hear more about the details of the situation.  It is up to you if and how you factor the situation into your decision-making process.

A lawyer’s track record is an excellent way to decide if a particular criminal defence lawyer is right for you.  Learn about their past case results, read client testimonials and look into any awards or honours they have received.  All of this information can help you choose the right Ontario defence lawyer to represent you.

Your Defence Lawyer’s Cross-Examination Can Make or Break your Ontario Criminal Trial

OTTAWA CRIMINAL DEFENCE LAWYER – In many criminal defence cases in Ontario, there may not be a great amount of evidence for the accused to bring forth in his or her own defence. The question I hear from many new clients is: “Do I have to call evidence at my trial, or can we build a defence without it?”

The answer is that in some cases, you and your lawyer can successfully fight your case without calling evidence or witnesses for the defence. What’s the secret? It’s all in the cross-examination of the Crown’s witnesses.

The accused’s right to have a lawyer cross-examine Crown witnesses is guaranteed by both the Criminal Code of Canada and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This is a crucial part of any criminal trial, and it is often the best way to find the real truth about events that occurred.

During cross-examination, a skilled criminal defence lawyer will attempt to:

  • Obtaining admissions from witnesses that weaken the Crown’s case.
  • Strengthen the defence case, by making suggestions that the witnesses agree with.
  • Discredit the witnesses – by showing that their recollections are inaccurate or contradict other witnesses.

All of these strategies can help your defence, and if the lawyer has enough experience, could lead to having your charges dismissed.

If you have been charged with a criminal offence in Ontario, don’t leave the results of your trial to chance – get the help of an experienced trial lawyer who can use cross-examination and other strategies to fight your charges effectively in court. For more information, contact the Ottawa criminal defence lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth by email [email protected] or by phone at (613) 233-4529.

Can I settle my unreported, unpaid taxes to avoid being charged with income tax evasion?

OTTAWA TAX EVASION LAWYER- Can tax evasion be resolved without criminal charges and prosecution, if the taxpayer simply files and pays the taxes owed?

The short answer is this: the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) can and likely will prosecute you after you’ve committed tax evasion – even if you approached them with the intention of settling up.

In a recent online news release, the CRA briefly explained its policy regarding prosecution:

“Individuals who have not filed returns for previous years, or who have not reported all of their income, can still voluntarily correct their tax affairs. They will not be penalized or prosecuted if they make a valid disclosure before they become aware of any compliance action being initiated by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) against them.”

It’s true that you can attempt to make that voluntary correction through the CRA’s Voluntary Disclosures Program. But if the CRA has already learned of possible tax evasion– a good example being the HSBC banking information leak we blogged about last week – it may be a different matter.

If you’ve been evading taxes and the CRA has noticed this activity, you do not have the option of paying back the missed taxes. The agency usually does not hesitate to prosecute these knowing evaders, even if they try to come clean. It’s best to seek legal advice quickly.

If you are being questioned or investigated by the CRA about possible tax evasion, your first step should be speaking with a lawyer experienced in financial crime. For more information, contact the Ottawa criminal defence lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth by email [email protected] or by phone (613) 233-4529.

Defending Assault Charges in Ontario – Assault Charges – Can You Defend Them?

Ottawa assault lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth defend many clients charged with assault, spousal / domestic assault, assault causing bodily harm, aggravated assault and assault with a weapon.

Call an Ottawa assault lawyer at 613-233-4529 or email [email protected] so we can use our experience to help you.

This is Serious!

Here are the maximum sentences that can be imposed if you are convicted of assault:

Assault–  imprisonment up to five years

Assault causing bodily harm– imprisonment up to ten years

Assault with a weapon –imprisonment up to ten years

Aggravated assault – imprisonment up to fourteen years

There is a lot at stake!

If you are convicted, you could have problems crossing the U.S. border, obtaining a professional license (such as a real estate agent or mortgage broker) and have other job problems.

How can an Ottawa Defence Lawyer help?

  • An Ottawa defence lawyer will study the Crown brief (the evidence they collect from the police).
  • An Ottawa defence lawyer will identify who the Crown witnesses are and investigate their backgrounds.  In many cases we engage private investigators with great success.
  • An Ottawa defence lawyer will interview witnesses you suggest or who we uncover who may provide a different perspective on the Crown’s version of events.
  • An Ottawa defence lawyer knows how to review the disclosure (the Crown’s evidence, primarily from the police) to detect if your Charter rights were violated during the process leading up to your arrest.
  • For example, if you gave a statement to police that the Crown wants to use against you, your Ottawa defence lawyer will scrutinize how that statement was obtained to ensure your rights were not violated.  If your rights were violated, the Crown may not be able to use your statement against you.
  • At Auger Hollingsworth, our criminal defence lawyers ae prepared to take an aggressive stand during the pretrial stage to help you avoid the expense and worry of a trial by pressing the Crown to withdraw charges where they have not reasonable prospect of conviction.

What Should You Do NOW?

  • DO NOT tell your family and friends the “whole story” leading to your arrest.  Keep the details to yourself and your Ottawa criminal lawyer.
  • DO make notes of what happened leading up to your arrest and provide them to your Ottawa defence lawyer.  Make these notes asap after you are released from the police station while the events are still fresh.
  • Do follow your Ottawa criminal lawyer’s advice.  If your lawyer wants you to go for anger management, drug or alcohol assessment or other psychological investigations, DO IT.  Your efforts can only help you.
  • DO comply with any conditions of release imposed by the police carefully.  Your criminal defence lawyer’s bargaining power with the Crown decreases significantly if you are charged with a breach of your terms of release.
  • DO stay clear of the person who you are alleged to have assaulted.  If it is essential that you communicate with the other person, your defence lawyer can take steps to get permission.

If you are looking for a criminal defence lawyer to help you with your charges of assault, contact a Ottawa Criminal Defence Lawyer at 613 233-4529 or by emailing [email protected].

So You Want to Be a Surety – What is a Surety? Seven Important Facts

1. What is a surety?

A surety is a person who agrees to be responsible for someone who is accused of a crime and out of custody while waiting for trial. It is a big job, not to be taken lightly.

2. What are a surety’s duties?

  1. To ensure the accused person comes to courts on time when required;
  2. To ensure the accused person obeys each condition of the bail order or recognizance. For example, the accused person may have to report to police or may have a curfew. He or she may be prohibited from drinking alcohol.

3. Does a surety have to deposit money and if so how much?

Sometimes a cash deposit is required if someone is a surety.

More often a surety signs a bond for a certain amount.

There is no fixed amount of money that a surety must pledge.  The amount will vary based on the accused person and the charges and also based on the amount that the surety pledges relative to his or her net worth.

In other words, if you only have $10,000.00 to your name the amount you may be asked to pledge could be less than if you are a millionaire.

4. What if the accused person does not comply with the bail order?

You should not accept to be a surety unless you are sure you can supervise the accused person.

If the accused person disobeys a condition, he or she may be charged with another criminal offence.

You may lose the money you pledge as a surety.

5. What if I no longer want to be a surety?

The obligations of a surety last until the case is completely over. This may take a long time.

If you wish to end your role as a surety before the case is over here are your choices:

  1. You can bring the accused person to court and ask that you be relieved of your responsibilities, or
  2. You can come to court and apply in writing to be relieved of your duties. The court will then issue and order for the arrest of the accused person.

It is also sometimes possible to substitute one surety for another, but this must be done on an application to the Court.

6. Who is eligible to be a surety?

Whether or not the judge or justice of the peace accepts you as a surety is dependant on the specific situation, including the type of charges and the accused person’s criminal record.

The Court will consider your finances, your character and background.  Although it is not impossible, it is unusual for someone with a criminal record to be a surety.

The Court will also consider whether the surety has the time to properly supervise the accused person.  Someone whose schedule is full may not be a suitable surety.

7. Can the accused person’s lawyer give me advice about being a surety?

No.  The accused person’s lawyer cannot give you legal advice.  Sometimes a surety will obtain independent legal advise ensure that he or she is fully aware of the rights and obligations.

If you or a loved one need help getting out of jail on bail, you need an experienced criminal defence lawyer.  A criminal defence lawyer at Auger Hollingsworth can assist you.  Contact us by clicking here or by telephone at 613 233-4529.