Five Critical Defence Strategies for Winning Your Impaired Driving Case

OTTAWA CRIMINAL DEFENCE LAWYER – During my career as a criminal lawyer I have successfully fought many impaired driving charges all across Ontario. Along the way, I have picked up five must-have strategies to fight Impaired Driving, Over 80, or Sample Refusal charges at the trial stage.

Today, I’d like to share these important case-winning techniques with you:

  1. 1.      A thorough and critical review of the crown attorney’s evidence. If your lawyer’s review is truly comprehensive, you might be able to have your charges dropped or resolved favourably without a trial.
  2. 2.      Thorough investigation of the facts from your perspective, and from the perspective of witnesses. Any skilled lawyer will meet with you regularly, in-person, to get a complete understanding of your recollection, and to gather the most information about possible witnesses.
  3. 3.      Skillful Cross-Examination at Trial. A top criminal lawyer with litigation experience can often expose errors or inconsistencies in the testimony of Crown witnesses or police officers.
  4. 4.      Thorough understanding of your Charter rights. There are a number of ways your lawyer can show that your detention and arrest was in violation of the Charter of Human Rights.
  5. 5.      Legal counsel from an experienced criminal defence lawyer. An individual representing himself in court will likely be unable to get any value from the above strategies – most don’t know enough about impaired driving laws.

I believe in providing the best possible information to help educate you about Ontario criminal laws and I understand the stressful experience you are facing. That’s why I provided these strategies to help you gain a better understanding of what lies ahead.

If you have been charged with Impaired Driving, Sample Refusal, or Over 80 in Ontario, a top criminal defence lawyer can help you fight to have the charges dismissed. For more information, contact the Ottawa criminal defence lawyers at Auger Holingsworth by email [email protected] or by phone at (613) 233-4529.

How to get Convicted of Your Criminal Charges

For most people, getting charged with a criminal offence is a nightmare.  All you want is for the charges to be dropped or withdrawn before a criminal trial is required.  No lawyer can guarantee that you will escape from the charges without a criminal record.  However, most lawyers will agree that there is certain conduct that will make it much more likely that you will be convicted.  Here are three tips on what to avoid:

  • Avoid being rude to the police when you are charged or while you are in the cell block.  In many cases, if the Crown lawyer is considering dropping the charges against you, he or she will speak to the police officers on the case.  The accused who was polite and subdued during the arrest and after will have a much easier time getting the police officer to let go.
  • Avoid breaches of any conditions of your release. Negotiations with the Crown attorney go better when the accused person has been well-behaved during the period of release.  If you are supposed to stay away from someone or somewhere, obey the condition.  if you are not supposed to use alcohol, don’t.   If there is a specific reason why you need to do something that your papers prevent you from doing, speak to your criminal defence lawyer, well in advance, to see if a variation of your bail conditions is possible.
  • Don’t quit your job or drop out of school. If the terms of your release permit, keep your job or stay in school and try to do as well as possible.  It is a helpful negotiating tool for your lawyer to tell the Crown that you have been gainfully occupied since the charges.

If you are charged and your lawyer is going to bat for you to get the charges dropped or reduced, avoiding  these pitfalls will make your lawyer’s success much more likely.

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].

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!

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.

Charged with Drug Offences in Ontario

Is possession of marijuana legal?

No. Despite what you may have heard, possession of marijuana and hashish are still offences.

Could I go to jail if convicted of a drug charge?

When your criminal defence lawyer meets you,  we will discuss possible outcome of your particular case. All drug offences carry a possible jail sentence. Here are some examples:

Trafficking in marijuana or hashish or possession for the purpose of trafficking (3 kgs. or more)
Life Imprisonment
Trafficking in cocaine or heroin or possession for the purpose of trafficking
Life Imprisonment
Trafficking in amphetamines, LSD, mescaline, or psilocybin or possession for the purpose of trafficking
10 years
Trafficking in barbituates or anabolic steroids or possession for the purpose of trafficking
3 years
Importing, exporting heroin, cocaine, marijuana or hashish
Life Imprisonment
Importing, exporting amphetamines, LSD, mescaline, or psilocybin
10 years
Cultivation of marijuana
7 years
Production of cocaine, heroine, or hashish
Life Imprisonment
Production of amphetamines, LSD, mescaline, or psilocybin
10 years
Production of barbituates or anabolic steroids
3 years

These charges are serious. Get a criminal lawyer who know how to help you.

If I was caught with drugs in my pocket. Could there be a defence?

Your Ottawa criminal defence lawyer from Auger Hollingsworth can help you assess your case.  It is true that physical evidence is normally the most damaging in a drug case, including drugs seized in the arrest, or the results of tests conducted by law enforcement.

Your criminal defence lawyer at  Auger Hollingsworth can defend against your drug charges by challenging the validity of the physical evidence by reviewing how it was found, seized or tested.

Your criminal defence lawyer will investigate all aspects of a drug arrest to determine whether unlawful search and seizure procedures occurred.

Our lawyers believe that illegal search and seizure is a threat not only to our clients but a threat to the liberty and privacy of all Canadians.

A large amount of cash was seized from my home and it was not mine. How to I retrieve it?

Money and property may be seized by the police at the time of arrest.  There are steps your Ottawa criminal defence lawyer can adopt to assist you regain her property.

The police confiscated my money. How do I get it back?

Your criminal defence lawyer at Auger Hollingsworth will fight to ensure that your property is returned to you following any illegal property seizure.

Someone was growing marijuana in my home. It was not me. However, now everyone in the house was arrested. Is there anything I can do?

Your criminal defence lawyer at Auger Hollingsworth will give you specific advice for your case.  When there is any kind of grow operation in a home, it is not unusual for the authorities to charge everyone who lives there.

You should hire an experienced criminal defence lawyer to defend you. In some situations, the lawyer will be able negotiate a withdrawal of this type charge before trial where it is obvious that the client was not involved.

I have a drug problem. Does that make a difference when dealing with my charges?

A qualified criminal defence lawyer can work with the Crown to minimize penalties, reduce charges or try to negotiate a rehabilitation program instead of other penalties.

Where clients are willing and interested, our criminal defence lawyers have successfully had charges withdrawn where our client has received treatment for addiction.
If you need assistance responding to drug charges in Ottawa, Smiths Falls, Brockville, Pembroke, Petawawa, Cornwall, Hawksbury, L’Orignal or other Eastern Ontario cities, contact the criminal defence lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth.  Call 613 233-4539 or email [email protected].

26 Ways the Charter Protects You – Twenty-Six Facts About the Charter and You

Make sure your criminal defence lawyer protects your constitutional rights when you are charged with a criminal offence.

You have:

  1. the right to remain silent.
  2. the right to a lawyer, including the right to consult that lawyer privately.
  3. the right to a fair trial.
  4. the right to a trial without undue delay.
  5. the right to a trial in English or French.
  6. the right to know why you have been arrested.
  7. the right not to testify against yourself.
  8. the right to an interpreter in court.
  9. the right to an impartial tribunal.
  10. the right to reasonable bail.
  11. the right to be tried by a judge and jury (in most cases).
  12. the right to be presumbed innocent.

You cannot be:

  1. detained arbitrarily (except in some limited circumstances).
  2. detained without being brought before a justice within 24 hours.
  3. subjected to an unreasonable search of your person, your home or your car.
  4. charged with an offence on the basis of racial profiling.
  5. charged tried twice for the same offence.
  6. be convicted of an offence that is overly broad.
  7. be convicted of an offence that is sexist, racist or otherwise discriminatory.

What if Your Charter Rights are Violated?

  1. Evidence obtained by the Crown in a way that violates the Charter may be excluded from use against you at trial.
  2. If you are charged with an offence that violates the Charter, the offence and the charges with it, may be struck down.
  3. If your trial was delayed too long the charges against you could be stayed.
  4. If the violation of your Charter rights brings the administration of justice into disrepute, your charges may be stayed.

Are these Charter remedies automatic?

  1. No. Charter remedies are usually only granted where the criminal defence lawyer asks for them.
  2. Your criminal lawyer must carefully review the file for Charter violations.
  3. Your criminal lawyer must prepare, file and actually argue Charter motions before the trial judge.
  • Make sure your criminal defence lawyer knows the Charter and uses it to your full advantage.
  • Ask your criminal defence lawyer what motions he or she will bring on your behalf.
  • Ask your criminal defence lawyer whether he or she regurlarly bring Charter motions
  • Ask your criminal defence lawyer whether he or she regularly wins Charter motions.

If you have been charged with a criminal offence, make sure you have an experienced criminal defence lawyer who knows how to enforce your Charter rights.  Contact a criminal lawyer at Auger Hollingsworth by clicking here or by calling 613 233-4529.

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.

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.