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 to Look for in an Ontario Criminal Lawyer: Commitment to the Law

While there are a number of Ontario criminal lawyers offering their services to potential clients, it can be difficult to find a criminal defence lawyer who is passionate about the law.  You want to hire a lawyer who is passionate about criminal law and who is continually studying and learning more about the law.  You want to look for a lawyer who spends time staying up to date on the evolution of the law and whose knowledge of criminal law is current.  If a lawyer does not spend time reading important law journals and studying the law they are likely not passionate about their work and are probably not going to be the best lawyer to represent you.

One way to assess a lawyer’s commitment to the law is to find out if they have made any contributions to legal publications or if they have written their own books or booklets about the law.  The best lawyers are those who have put time into researching developments in the law and in educating the general public.  If a lawyer has been involved in publishing legal information, they are likely invested in their work and are passionate about criminal law.  Additionally, a lawyer committed to helping people who have been charged with a criminal offence, should provide a variety of information on their website aimed at informing the public.  Things like “frequently asked questions” sections on their website or regular blog posts and online articles can indicate a lawyer’s commitment to the law.

A lawyer’s commitment to the law can also be seen in their involvement with the media.  If a lawyer has been asked by the media, whether on the radio, television or newspaper, to comment about a legal issue it is a sign that they are a good lawyer.  If a criminal defence lawyer feels confident enough to speak knowledgeably about a particular legal issue on the radio or on television, they are likely going to have the confidence necessary to handle your case.  It means that they are informed on current legal issues and that they are comfortable speaking about the law in a variety of ways, not only in the courtroom, but to the general public as well.

Here are a few questions you might want to ask a lawyer when trying to decide whether to hire them or not:

1. Have you written any recent books or articles?

2. What legal journals do you read regularly?

3. What kind of free information do you offer to the public and potential clients?

4. Have you ever been involved in commenting on legal issues in the media?

If you are looking to hire an Ontario criminal defence lawyer to work on your case, make sure that you consider their level of commitment to the law and their passion about the field of criminal law in particular.  The criminal defence lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth are committed to providing excellent legal representation for their clients.  Contact them for a free consultation to discuss your case.

Will Canada Extradite Me to Another Country?

 

Extradition is a complicated area of the law, particularly because it deals not only with Canadian law, but with the laws of other countries.

By definition, extradition is the process by which one country mandates that an individual charged with a criminal offence in another country be sent to that country to face their criminal charges.  The particular circumstances of your case and the evidence against you will determine if you will be extradited.

If you are facing potential extradition, the first thing to do is to review the case against you to see if there is enough evidence against you in the other country.  If there is not sufficient evidence or if there are problems with how the evidence was collected there may not be sufficient grounds for you to be sent to the other country.

Another means of trying to avoid extradition, is to bring a court hearing to try to have the extradition application dismissed.  It is possible that a judge would grant the application and you would not be extradited.  You may also be able to make arguments to the Minister of Justice, as another attempt to avoid extradition.

As you can see, there are a number of different ways that one can try to argue against extradition.  While the law in this area is complicated, this does not mean that an order of extradition cannot be fought.

During the process of arguing an extradition, it is crucial to have a good criminal defence lawyer working with you.  The lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth have experience in dealing with extradition cases and would be happy to discuss your case with you.  They will apply their knowledge of the law and their experience with cases like yours, in order to achieve the best possible outcome.

So-called “Truth in Sentencing” bill comes into force

Last week, the legislation that eliminates two-for-one credit on Canadian sentences came into force.  What this means is that people convicted of a criminal offence and then sentence do not receive additional credit for time they spent in jail before they were found guilty or plead guilty.

While this new law will appeal to those espousing a  tough on crime agenda, there are some real concerns it raises.

First, the two-for-one credit took into account that the conditions at the detention centres where people are typically held before trial are much worse than at a federal or provincial penitentiary.  Local detention centres are over-crowded, often in poor repair and lack programming.  Spending 6 months in this type of holding tank is much, much worse than 6 months at a proper facility.

Second, there is a philosophical argument that is important for people who believe that the presumption of innocence is an important tenet of our judicial system.  Pre-trial, pre-conviction custody entails detaining someone who has not been convicted of a crime.  In our view, there needs to be recognition of this fact.

Third, it eliminates the ability of judges to treat each case individually.  One of the virtues of Canada’s criminal justice system is its ability to tailor the outcome of a criminal prosecution to the facts of the case.   Tying a judge’s hands is contrary to this important principle.

Fourth, lengthy pre-sentence custody is necessitated by a lack of government resources.  People serve “dead time” because there are backlogs in the courts, not enough judges and court staff, etc.  The removal of the 2-1 in sentencing takes a way one incentive for the Crown and the administration of justice to keep the process moving.

Fifth, there is really no evidence that this move will have any impact on reducing crime.  This is legislation about appearing to be tough on crime.  It is not about reducing crime.

V.M Mother, Stittsville

“Please keep helping families that are so desperate as we were months ago.”

“I would like to thank you again for your help. And to ask you to keep helping families that are so desperate as we were months ago. When I first met you I was experiencing a time that I couldn’t see any hope. Fighting a system is very draining and can put us down and with no confidence. I have no word to thank you for intervention. Thanks, thanks and thanks.”

V.M., Mother
Stittsville

Ottawa Tax Lawyer: Are Canada’s Tax Evasion Laws too Lenient? – Canada’s laws against tax evaders are too lenient according to the Minister of National Revenue.

Canada’s Minister of National Revenue reports that Canada’s rules on how it pursues tax evaders need to be revamped if the Canada Revenue Agency is to successfully prosecuting people who hide money in tax-haven banks.

The CRA does not currently have the ability to compel banks to report when account holders send money out of the country.  The Minister thinks that Canada should have access to that information.

According to the Financial Post, Canadians may have stashed more than $5-billion in certain offshore accounts.

The CRA publishes information about convicted tax evaders on its website.  The website suggests that the Canada Revenue Agency has had greater success prosecuting entrepreneurs and tradespeople for tax evasion than it does in persuing the wealthy.

If you have been charged with tax evasion, or if you are undergoing a tax audit where there may be a risk of criminal charges being laid, consider contacting a criminal defence lawyer who has extensive experience in taxation matters.  The Ottawa lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth would be pleased to speak to you about your case.

Teaching the Next Generation of Lawyers

Richard Auger was the coach for the University of Ottawa’s Arnup Cup trial advocacy team for three years in a row. The 2006 team won first place in Ontario and went on to the national Sopinka Cup in March 2006 where they placed third in Canada. The 2007 team were Ontario’s runner up and performed well at the Sopinka Cup.

Brenda Hollingsworth and Richard Auger are both part-time professors at the University of Ottawa where they teach a trial advocacy course to third year law students at the University of Ottawa. This course helps future lawyers learn practical court room skills.

Brenda Hollingsworth is a frequent speaker.  She spoke at the Canadian Bar Association’s conference for articling students and new lawyers on law practice management.  She was also a speaker at the Eastern Ontario Lawyers’ Conference at Montebello

Essential Information About Commercial Host Liability

There are countless articles and stories about drinking and driving charges, but there are some pieces of information that you might not know.

Did you know that commercial hosts serving alcoholic beverages can be held liable, in addition to the automobile’s owner, for financial losses and obligations in the event of impaired driving leading to a car accident?  If a person serves alcohol to their guests, they are legally obligated to provide responsible drinking.

Did you know that no insurance company in Ontario will pay for collision loss if the driver of the motor vehicle has been charged with impaired driving?  This happens to be a standard exclusion for most insurance companies.  Also, the “Public Legal Liability” of the insurance policy is reduced to a minimum limit of $200,000.

For more information about defending drinking and driving charges, order a copy of Auger Hollingsworth’s new consumer guide: “Fighting Drinking and Driving Charges”.

Forty Under 40 – 2008: Brenda Hollingsworth

We are delighted to announce that Brenda Hollingsworth has been named one of Ottawa’s “Top 40 under 40” by the Ottawa Business Journal. Read Brenda’s recipient profile here.