How Can I Improve my Sentence:

Sometimes, no matter how good your criminal defence lawyer is, you end up with a finding of guilt or a plea of guilt and a sentencing hearing is required.    Sentencing in Ottawa is a very important part of your case and should not be treated as an afterthought.

Where sentencing is likely or possible, our criminal defence lawyers will work with you to help build a strong case for a lenient sentence.   A key component of the sentencing package is reference letters.

We work with our clients to devise a list of people who can provide personal letters of reference on your behalf.   Typically these letters come from members of your community, religious institution, employer, neighbors, teachers or anyone else who is prepared to tell the court that you are a person of integrity who should be sentenced lightly.    Note that we would never contact anyone for a reference letter without your express consent and instructions.

Generally,  the letters of support set out the following:

-who the writer is in terms of occupation and family status

-a description of the writer’s connection to the accused person

-the fact that the writer is aware of the charges; and

-a description of a number of the accused person’s positive personal attributes (such as hard working, honest, a reliable worker, etc.).

The letter should include the writer’s contact information.

A package of supportive letters from people of good reputation in the community can go a long way to assisting your Ottawa criminal lawyers in making strong submissions on sentence.

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.

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].

45 Facts You Should Learn about Ontario Drunk Driving Cases

Six elements that must be proven before you can be found guilty of impaired driving in Ontario:

  1. You identity
  2. As a driver
  3. Of a motor vehicle
  4. As a driver operating a motor vehicle in a public place while
  5. Your blood alcohol was over one of the prescribed limit by
  6. the introduction of alcohol into the body

Ten items your Ottawa defence lawyer wants to know:

  1. What your schedule was before the arrest.
  2. What you drank and how much.
  3. Described you observations of the officer.
  4. Why the officer says he or she stopped you.
  5. Were you asked to take roadside tests?
  6. The results on roadside tests.
  7. The results on roadside tests.
  8. What you said to the officer.
  9. The results of any breath or blood tests.
  10. The names and contact information for any witnesses to your arrest.
  11. How long it took from the time of your arrest to the time the breathalyzer was administered.

Three ways your defence lawyer can discredit the arresting officer’s testimony:

  1. Inconsistent statements by the officer or officers involved in the arrest.
  2. Failure on the part of the police officer to recollect your case.
  3. Failure to make important notations in the officer’s duty to book notes, for example failure to record the time of the arrest and the time of breathalyzer.

Three secrets the Crown Attorney does not want you to know:

  1. The Crown does not have all the witnesses available to prove the case.
  2. The Crown has exculpatory evidence which would prove your innocence.
  3. The Crown has evidentiary problems in proving your blood alcohol level.

Four things that are crucial to your defence:

  1. An excellent investigation of the facts.
  2. Skillful cross-examination.
  3. A thorough understanding of your Charter Rights.
  4. An experienced criminal defence lawyer.

Five ways to challenge the results of the alcohol tests:

  1. Prove the officer lacked a reasonable suspicion that you were violating the law.
  2. Prove that the officer lacked probable cause to arrest you or demand the roadside tests.
  3. Prove that the officer failed to inform  you of your rights concerning a breath or blood test.
  4. Prove that the officer lacked probable cause before he arrested you and before he required you to take a blood or breath test.
  5. Prove that the officer failed to tell you that you have a right to remain silent and to consult a lawyer.

Two considerations before deciding to please guilty to impaired driving:

  1. How strong is the Crown’s case against you?
  2. What will the outcome be of an impaired conviction?

Four pretrial motions that your defence lawyer should file, and the danger to you if they are not:

  1. Motion to exclude evidence on the ground that you were unconstitutionally stopped.
  2. Motion to exclude evidence on the grounds that there was an unconstitutional search and seizure.
  3. Motion to exclude statements on failure to give advise you of your right to remain silent and your right to consult a lawyer.
  4. Motion for disclosure of all Crown evidence.

If these motions are not filed by an experienced criminal defence lawyer, your case may not be dismissed when it should have been.  Plain and simple.

Seven defence tactics in pre-trial motions:

  1. Challenge the constitutionality of the stop.
  2. Challenge the constitutionality of the administration of the roadside tests.
  3. Challenge the constitutionality of the probable cause to arrest.
  4. Challenge whether the appropriate Charter warning were administered.
  5. Challenge how the roadside tests were given.
  6. Challenge the use of any blood or breath test.
  7. Challenge the constitutionality of any search and seizure.

Charged with impaired driving in Ottawa, Smiths Falls, Perth Ontario, Cornwall or other Ontario location?  A criminal defence lawyer at Auger Hollingsworth would be pleased to review your case for you.  Contact us here or by telephone at 613 233-4529.

Leitrim Minor Hockey Association Fraud Charges – The Ottawa Police Service reports that fraud charges have been laid.

According to the Ottawa Police Service, they received a complaint in July 2006 from the Leitrim Minor Hockey Association indicating that association funds had allegedly gone missing or had been misappropriated between 2004 and 2006.

The Ottawa Police Services are reporting that fraud investigators have completed their investigation and have charged an individual with:

  • 2 counts of Fraud Over $5,000
  • 2 counts of Forgery
  • 2 counts of Uttering Forged Documents
  • 1 count of Possession of Proceeds Obtained by Crime over $5,000
  • 1 count of Launder Proceeds of Canadian Crime
  • 1 Breach by Public Officer
  • 1 count Criminal Breach of Trust
  • 1 count of Theft by Person Required to Account
  • 1 count Misappropriate Money Held Under Direction
  • 1 count of Fraudulent concealment
  • 1 count of False Pretence

These are very serious charges that require a criminal defence lawyer with significant experience defending fraud charges and other property charges.  For more information about defending against fraud and other charges, contact Auger Hollingsworth.

Hiring an Ottawa Criminal Defence Lawyer

We read an interesting blog post today from a Miami criminal defence lawyer , Brian Tannebaum, who writes about the client who knows he/ she is under investigation but is unsure whether or not to hire a criminal defence lawyer.  The client is concerned that hiring a criminal lawyer will make him / her “look guilty”.  Brian Tannebaum’s insightful response is that you already do look guilty, at least to the police.  So, why not deal with it responsibly by hiring a criminal defence lawyer to assist you?

At Auger Hollingsworth, we get questions like that all the time from prospective clients.  The strangest variation of this question is whether or not hiring a GOOD criminal lawyer will make the client look guilty.  Our answer?  No it just makes you look smart.

If you are under investigation, speak to a criminal defence lawyer BEFORE charges are laid.  Your chances of avoiding charges increases and your anxiety level decreases if you have a lawyer stick handling for you.  Knowledge is power.  Get an expert to teach you what to expect.

One thing we know from experience, virtually no-one under investigation “talks” himself or herself out of trouble.

The Ottawa criminal defence lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth  can assist you with the pre-charge stage if you contact our office.  To schedule a meeting with an experienced criminal defence lawyer, call us at 613-233-4529 or email [email protected]

Ottawa Criminal Lawyer Gets Acquittal after Trial

Mr. Justice Wake acquitted a youth today after a two-day criminal trial for dangerous driving in the Ontario Court of Justice.  Ottawa defence lawyer Richard Auger skillfully cross-examined the Crown’s witnesses, leaving the judge with reasonable doubt about whether an offence had been committed.  The young person accused of dangerous driving was delighted with the result.

If you have been charged with dangerous driving or a related offence, you could face a criminal record.  Speak with an experienced criminal defence lawyer before you decide what to do about your crimnal charges.  Contact Ottawa Criminal Defence lawyers here.

Quebec Seeks Dangerous Offender Status for Impaired Driver

It’s a legal provision generally reserved for the very worst criminals.

A Quebec prosecutor has applied to designate a repeat impaired driver who killed a 47 year old woman last year a dangerous offender.  Although it is unlikely that this application will succeed, it sends a message that Quebec Crown attorneys are getting tougher on impaired driving, over 80 driving and related criminal charges.

If you have been charged with impaired driving, driving over 80, dui or any related criminal charge, get the expert advice you require.  For a free consultation with an experienced Ottawa impaired driving lawyer, click here.

Tax Evasion Trial Today

Richard Auger and Brenda Hollingsworth continued their Charter motion at a tax evasion trial today in Peterborough.  This was the seventh day of argument on this point.  Richard was cross-examinining the Canada Revenue Agency’s investigator today, having already cross-examined the Canada Revenue Agency auditor.  The trial continues in January.

Richard Auger defends against all tax-related charges.  Contact him at [email protected] or at 613 233-4529.

Ottawa Court Orders 4 Months Jail in Fraud Case

Despite pleading guilty to fraud and despite attending rehabilitation counselling, a 35 year old man received a 4 month jail term and was ordered to pay restitution.

Ottawa Justice Ann Alder said a jail term was justified to send a message to the public that fraud involving the elderly and vulnerable is unacceptable.  Apparently some of the victims were elderly and disabled.

The accused suffers from bipolar disorder.