One of the most important factors you want to consider when looking to hire an Ontario criminal defence lawyer is their experience. You want to work with a lawyer who has several years of experience dealing with a variety of criminal cases, including those similar to yours. A lawyer who has at least ten years of experience has learned a lot about handling criminal cases, going to trial, dealing with prosecutors, juries and judges. Their experience will help them to represent you in the best way possible. For more information on making the best decision when you hire a lawyer, download our book here.
There are several areas in which you want your criminal defence lawyer to have experience. Firstly, you should look for a lawyer who specializes in criminal law. Many lawyers practice a number of different kinds of law but it is in your best interest to hire a lawyer who deals exclusively with criminal cases. A generalist lawyer (one who practices a variety of kinds of law) may not know as much about handling criminal cases like yours and they likely do not have as much experience dealing with the criminal justice system as a lawyer who deals only with criminal law. Since Ontario criminal law is always changing and evolving you want a lawyer who is always current and knows the law well. Also, legislation such as the Criminal Code of Canada are very complex documents. A generalist lawyer will probably not be as familiar with the details of such laws but a criminal lawyer who devotes all of their time to criminal law, would.
You also want your Ontario criminal defence lawyer to have relevant trial experience. While not all criminal charges end up in court, you want your lawyer to have experience defending charges in court if your case goes to trial. You should feel confident that if your case goes to trial, your defence lawyer has enough experience to be able to defend you in the courtroom. A lawyer who has years of experience handling a variety of criminal cases will understand how a trial proceeds and the best way to argue your case in a given situation. It is also important to know that your lawyer not only has experience in a courtroom but that they have successfully won cases that have gone to trial.
It is also a good idea to hire a lawyer who is familiar with your region. If you have been charged with a criminal offence in Ottawa, it is a good idea to work with a lawyer who is familiar with the Ottawa region. While “connections” with other lawyers or judges do not play a role in criminal cases (thankfully our legal system does not work that way!), it will benefit you if your lawyer is familiar with the region where you will be fighting your charges.
When meeting with your potential criminal defence lawyer think about asking them the following questions in order to assess the level and relevance of their experience:
1. How much of your practice involves criminal law?
2. Do you feel comfortable handling a case like mine?
3. Have you tried many cases in my particular region?
Hiring a good defence lawyer is important. If you have any questions about how to look for the right criminal defence lawyer for your case, feel free to speak with the defence attorneys at Auger Hollingsworth.