New Videos – November 2020
Criminal Harassment and Consequences
I want to talk to you today a little bit about criminal harassment under section 264.1 of the Criminal Code. So first of all, this is a dual procedure offence which means the crown can elect by indictment for a very serious charge or elect summarily for a less serious charge.
Now for an indictable charge such as a very serious stalking or harassment charge, the maximum penalty is actually 10 years in prison, which is pretty high maximum. Of course the crown will elect summarily for a less aggravated harassment charge.
A harassment charge can result from a wide range of different activities, including, repeatedly stalking and following someone, repeated communications, watching and besetting a dwelling house or generally threatening conduct directed towards a person over time. Genuine harassment causes a lot of fear in people. An element of the offence which must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, is that the person who is being harassed must have reasonable fear. Someone could have reasonable fear if an accused has repeatedly made unwanted communication with them, even though each contact was not threatening in nature by itself. For example, in the context of a break of a relationship, when someone persistently keeps sending unwanted emails or text messages, at some point, it becomes criminal harassment.
It is hard to draw the line where ongoing communication such as phone calls, emails or text messages becomes harassing behavior. I have done many of these cases over the years and I have seen so many cases that are perhaps right on the line. However, I know from the case law when the line has actually been crossed. Sometimes in that grey area where the charge is defendable, you can win a case involving some degree of persistent communication.
Winning these cases often depends on how the client comes across in court in terms of being credible and reliable compared to the alleged victim. I hate to say it, but sometime the alleged victim may be exaggerating their fear or the alleged fear does not even exist. Harassment will not be proven when there is, for example, a break-up of a relationship and a woman sends a man or vice versa, 6 pleasant and non-threatening emails over the course of 6 days professing their love and asking to get back together. Well, maybe the person who has received the 6 emails may feel they are being subjectively harassed and it is causing them subjective fear, but their fear is not objectively reasonable. But at some point, it crosses the line where the crown may be able to prove criminal harassment.
An experienced criminal lawyer will apply the case law to a given fact situation and will know whether the conduct in question supports a harassment charge. A good lawyer is going to know whether harassment can be proven when they see it and advise the client accordingly. For criminal harassment cases that are not defendable, for a less aggravated offence sometimes you can avoid a criminal record. Occasionally, you can get a conditional discharge which is not a criminal record Sometimes you can even negotiate a peace bond and get the harassment charge withdraw. But those are for pretty minor harassment cases to be honest with you because the judges and crown attorneys take these cases very seriously. When it is more serious stalking and significant harassing behaviour causing a lot of fear, an accused will often face a short jail term. Even in these more serious factual situations, you can sometimes avoid a jail term with a very good personal background, no prior criminal record etc. and through involved plea negotiations.
There is also a separate charge in the Criminal Code which is basically similar to criminal harassment. You could also be charged under the criminal harassment section for this type of charge, but repeatedly making phone calls for the purpose of harassing someone is a similar type of offence, with its own similar type of penalties. But it is really kind of analogous because criminal harassment also encompasses repeated communications as well. Criminal harassment is an offence with a wide range of possible outcomes or consequences; it is also an offence which is often defendable, depending on whether the conduct in question has crossed the line. Obviously, if you intentionally follow someone on two or three different days that is going to cause fear and meets the definition of harassment in and of itself. However, there can be grey areas such as where there are ongoing text messages or emails that are innocuous and non-threatening where the victim has not advised you to stop contacting them. But at some point the sheer volume of ongoing contact will instill both subjective and objective fear in the victim and clearly meets the definition of criminal harassment.
So there you have it. We represent a lot of clients who have been charged with criminal harassment and I wanted to share with you today exactly what it’s all about.
Diversion for drug possession
A very important step to potentially eventually decriminalizing drug possession took place in August 2020 and perhaps it was prompted in part by the Covid-19 pandemic. It also may have been prompted in part by the long standing recognition that drug possession is really an addiction and health problem in Canadian society. Is drug possession really a criminal type issue? Are we criminalizing people who merely have a substance abuse problem? The Public Prosecutions Service of Canada is responsible for prosecuting drug crimes in Canada.
In August 2020, they gave a directive to all of the federal drug prosecutors in Canada to look at drug possession charges in the following way: drug prosecutors are to consider in their discretion, whether someone charged with possession of marihuana, cocaine, amphetamines, fentanyl, heroin etc. (i.e. any type of illegal drug) should be diverted out of the criminal justice system. In other words, the drug charges would be withdrawn in return for the accused doing something such as receiving counselling. This is a negotiable issue at this point and certainly for aggravating circumstances, where the person is found with drugs while in possession of a weapon or where they are using the drugs in possession in a car or driving in a car or using machinery etc., drug possession charges are not going to be diverted for these types of aggravating circumstances. However, in other situations, the directive allows federal drug prosecutors to exercise their discretion to withdraw charges. This allows your lawyer to potentially negotiate and plea bargain with the crown to completely avoid a criminal record.
This is a very positive development in my view and it’s very modern thinking which is long overdue in my respectful submission. And again, it really pays to hire a good criminal lawyer in this situation. You will be able to potentially get your case diverted out of the criminal system and avoid a criminal record. This is good news as you will then be able avoid the significant negative repercussion of a criminal record regarding future employment, travel and the stigma of having a criminal record for drug possession and other negative consequences in your life.
Drug trafficking and consequences
Our firm represents a lot of clients who have been charged with drug trafficking or possession for the purpose of trafficking. The definition of drug trafficking is obviously self-explanatory. Possession for the purpose of trafficking is really based on the circumstances surrounding your possession of a particular drug. For example, if the police conduct a search warrant in your home and find maybe an ounce of cocaine, for example, or even less, but also find weigh scales and a significant amount of cash or a drug cutting agent, clearly these are factual circumstances that prove possession for the purpose of trafficking.
Every case is different, because if you have just a very small amount of drugs and some cash, it might not prove possession for the purpose of trafficking beyond a reasonable doubt. Depending on the facts, many of these cases are defendable. The crown often cannot prove that you possessed the drugs for the purpose of trafficking and there may be other defences or constitutional arguments as well. These are very serious crimes. I am not going to review with you the exact sentencing consequences for a given quantity of drugs. If you told me the quantum and exact type of type of drug, I can give you the range of sentence in Ontario. Drug trafficking in a small amount of marihuana, could attract a shorter period in jail, up to potentially a life sentence for an extremely high volume of hard drugs such as, for example, fentanyl or crack cocaine with a street value of millions of dollars. The maximum sentence for drug trafficking is 25- years in jail. The range of jail sentences can be anywhere between a short jail term and a life sentence frankly. The length of sentence really depends on the quantum of the drug, obviously your personal background and the type of drug is key.
There are very insidious drugs, some of them that I have just named, that the courts consider “hard drugs” such as heroin, fentanyl, crack cocaine or powdered cocaine etc. The courts consider hard drugs to be scourges on society and people are going to jail for a very long time in Canada for trafficking in high volumes of hard drugs. Drug crimes often present various defences which can be used to win your case at trial.
There are constitutional issues where you can file a Charter application to get the drugs excluded from evidence at your trial; undercover informants can be exposed as being not credible or reliable; wiretap search warrants can be challenged. Can the crown prove all the elements of the offence beyond a reasonable doubt? Can they prove identity? Can the crown prove you are in possession of the drug in a home or vehicle because there are multiple people present?
Our law firm has won a lot of these cases. After we receive your disclosure, we are able to provide you with a legal regarding whether your drug charge is defendable. We will head to trial on those cases where we have a reasonable chance of winning. Or we might try and get a deal to plead to a lesser charge to minimize or avoid a jail term depending on the instructions of our clients. There are many cases where we can convince the crown the defence has a reasonable chance of winning at trial. Through plea negotiation, the crown may agree the defence has a strong case and for example, offer us a deal to plead guilty to simple drug possession instead of drug trafficking, where we avoid a jail term or get a much shorter jail term at least. So this is what we do.
We handle a lot of drug possession and trafficking cases. We have a former, exceptional federal drug prosecutor, Karl Toews, who works at our law firm. I am a former criminal prosecutor. Our lawyers know the ‘tricks of the trade’ from both the crown and defence perspective and this give us an advantage defending these drug charges during both negotiations with the crown and at trial. We have been defending these types of charges for over thirty years. Certainly it pays to hire a good lawyer in this area because it is a complex area of law and we have the knowledge and experience to either win your case or get the best result possible.
DUI Charges and Breath Readings
I want to talk to you today about DUI charges and specifically where the blood alcohol readings (“BAC”) are under 120 milligrams of alcohol in 100 milliliters of blood.
What happened during the Covid-19 pandemic this summer is that in August the Ministry of the Attorney General basically gave a new directive to their crown attorneys that for BAC readings under 120, they are to consider whether a careless driving guilty plea offer should be made. In other words, you would plead guilty to careless driving which is a non-criminal charge under the Highway Traffic Act and the crown would withdraw the DUI charge. This would be a great result.
This new directive was really prompted by the Covid-19 pandemic in the summer because of the perception of trial delay developing in the criminal court system. The crowns are very concerned about the potential for trial delay occurring in the Ontario criminal courts due to the covid-19 pandemic. Crown Attorneys are actually taking a hard look at all of these cases whether the BAC reading is below 120 or above 120.
For a BAC reading below 120, the crown will strongly consider a careless driving guilty plea as long as there are no aggravating circumstances such as a motor vehicle, a child in your vehicle or obviously a death or bodily injury. As of August 2020, for a garden variety DUI with BAC readings under 120, the crown attorneys will often offer an accused a careless driving plea. The guilty plea to careless driving might still require a shorter licence suspension or installation of an ignition interlock device in your car, but the great benefit is you will not receive a criminal record. Your DUI charge would be withdrawn by the crown and the person really walks out of the courtroom with a much better deal than receiving a devastating criminal record. It is a win/win situation for both the defendant and the crown. This has been one of the very positive developments prompted by the Covid-19 pandemic because of the perception of possible trial delay developing in the province. Certainly, our law firm has been getting great deals for DUI cases across the province for BAC readings below 120.
Even for BAC readings over 120, we have been receiving many careless driving guilty plea offers whenever we can show the crown we have a at least a viable defense. Pre-covid for BAC readings above 120, it was very rare for the crown to offer a careless driving plea unless the defence case was very strong. However, the covid-19 pandemic has now prompted the crown to offer careless driving pleas in many cases above 120 as long as the defence is at least viable at say, a 50% or more level. So there are many great deals to be had during covid for drinking and driving cases.
So there you have it. That is the answer to the question regarding what is going on with BAC readings under 120 in Ontario due to the covid-19 pandemic.
First time DUI and refusal to provide
breath sample consequences
What are the consequences of pleading guilty to a first time DUI or refusal to provide a breath sample in Ontario?
First and foremost, you are going to get a criminal record. That is never a good thing. You are always going to get criminal record if you plead to any type of drinking and driving charge. There are mandatory minimum fines which depend on the level of blood alcohol concentration (“BAC”) in a person’s blood stream. First of all, for a straight impaired driving charge, the mandatory minimum fine is $1,000.00. For readings from 80 up to 119 milligrams of alcohol in 100 milliliters of blood, the mandatory minimum fine is also $1,000.00. If the BAC reading is 120 to 159, the mandatory minimum fine is $1,500.00. For BAC readings of 160 and above, the minimum fine is $2,000.00.
For a refusal charge (i.e. failing or refusing to comply with a breath demand), the mandatory minimum fine is $2,000.00. Will you face a jail term for a first time DUI or refusing a breath demand? Yes, you could, assuming it is an aggravated situation. For example, if there was a motor vehicle accident on a 400 series highway or if you were transporting a child in your vehicle at the time you were charged, a judge could sentence you to a shorter jail term. Of course, this assumes you were not charged with impaired driving causing bodily injury or death, where you could obviously face a multi-year jail term.
You are also going to be required to pay a victim fine surcharge which is 30% of the fine amount. A judge has discretion not to order a victim fine surcharge if you can show financial hardship. A first time DUI or refusal offence could qualify for the Ministry of Transportation’s (“MTO”) Stream A Ignition Interlock Program, if you are able to negotiate that with the crown and the Judge allows you to make an application to the MTO. I have covered the MTO’s Stream A Ignition Interlock Program in detail in one of my other videos. Stream A essentially means if you plead guilty within 89 days of the date of your arrest and the judge allows you to apply for the ignition interlock program with the MTO, the Ministry will hopefully approve you to drive 3 months’ days after the date of your sentencing.
Let’s do a quick recap regarding how Stream A works. Of course, there is an initial 90 day MTO administrative licence suspension commencing on the date of your arrest for impaired driving, 80 or over BAC or refusal. The 90-day administrative suspension will stop on the date you plead guilty. if you plead within 89 days from the date of your arrest. The MTO will then suspend your licence for 1 full year, but if the MTO allows you to install an ignition interlock in your vehicle, you can commence driving 3 months after the date of your sentence with the interlock. There are 2 separate “suspension systems’ by the way for DUI and refusal case. Mandatory driving prohibition can be found in the Criminal Code. The mandatory minimum driving prohibition for a first time offender is 1 year. A Judge is going to prohibit you from driving for at least 1 year up to a maximum of 3 years for a more aggravated situation, such as an accident on a 400 series highway, for example. The MTO is also going to automatically suspend your licence under the Highway Traffic Act for 1 year which runs at the same time (“concurrently) as the court ordered driving prohibition. However, as per above, the judge can prohibit you from driving for up to 3 years. A first time impaired driving, 80 or over BAC or refusal conviction will cost you at least $25,000.00 in total fines, MTO Back on Track program and ignition interlock and increased motor vehicle insurance rates over 6 years, assuming you can even get insurance. Lawyer’s fees would be on top of this. One good reason to hire a lawyer is to try and win your case and avoid all these negative repercussions. You should at least consider retaining a good DUI lawyer to provide you with a complete legal opinion. There are a lot of DUI cases that are winnable. There are also a lot of great deals being offered by the crown during the Covid-19 pandemic. Crown attorneys have become motivated to move DUI files through the system and avoid cases being thrown out for trial delay during the Covid-19 pandemic. There are especially great careless driving pleas being offered for BAC readings below 120, where the facts are not aggravated. However, even for BAC readings above 120, we are getting a lot of great careless driving deals. There are a lot negative implications for this type of offence and it really pays to hire a lawyer to defend your charges or at least obtain a full legal opinion regarding whether your charges are defendable.
I want to talk a little bit about more serious thefts. So in other words not shoplifting or thefts of minor items, but when someone’s stealing something over the $5,000 or even under $5,000, but it’s a larger item.
Under the Criminal Code there’s two separate charges: there’s theft under $5,000 and there’s theft over $5,000 and obviously there are different penalties for each. For example, if the crown elects by indictment on a theft over $5,000 charge, the maximum penalty is 10 years in prison. So there can be serious jail terms depending on the quantity of the goods stolen whether that be money or stolen goods.
One of the things where somebody is going to face quite a serious penalty is if you are an employee and you steal from an employer; that is considered a breach of trust. Now depending on the dollar amount, if it’s a medium to large dollar amount, it’s quite difficult to avoid jail in that situation. You know, you are in a situation where obviously there is a breach of trust and the rule of thumb is that you are typically facing a jail term. We have been able to avoid jail in many cases with full restitution. However, it is difficult to avoid a jail terms when the amount stolen is in the tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars.
So every case is different. We need to approach it number one is there a defence? Many of these cases are defendable. We’ve won many theft cases at our law firm. They can’t necessarily prove the identity of the thief and sometimes it’s a circumstantial case. You are trying to create exclusive opportunity. The crown has to establish that you are the person who stole the money or the good and they can’t necessarily do that in those circumstances. I’ll just give you an example; let’s say you had something stolen from your desk at night and you know the cleaning staff was there that night. Well how really are you going to prove that unless you can show exclusive opportunity? How good is your memory? It could have been stolen during the day. We’ve won cases like that on many occasions.
Some people are caught stealing red handed though. Now you are talking about trying to negotiate the best possible deal. Are there situations even on a serious theft where you can avoid a jail term. Let’s say somebody steals a snow blower out of your garage. Could that person avoid a criminal record and get a conditional discharge? Maybe they could depending on the situation although that’s starting to push it. Clearly, I talked about mere minor shoplifting in another video where we can often get that diverted, but the bottom line with theft it really depends on the amount stolen regarding whether you are going to jail. It depends on whether it is employee theft and then we look at other factors about your background and your ability to pay restitution is a big thing. I mean if you are able to pay restitution up front, that goes a long way to being sorry and remorseful and our judges are very impressed with that. They might lower your sentence. If you are not able to pay it upfront, they often will often order restitution as part of the sentence which is effectively, in addition to your jail term, that you have to reimburse the victim the amount that was stolen and it’s like a judgment. So the government could attach your salary for the rest of your life if it’s hundreds of thousands of dollars for example. So every case is different. That’s just an overview of how we approach theft under and over $5,000 cases that are more serious.
Dangerous driving and consequences
I want to talk to you a little bit today about dangerous driving under s. 249(1) of the Criminal Code. Our firm represents a lot of people who are charged with dangerous driving. It’s a dual procedure offence so the Crown can elect by indictment when it’s a much more serious case or perhaps you have a lengthy criminal record for dangerous driving or if it’s a more minor case, they can elect summarily.
It does have severe consequences even on a minor dangerous driving charge where there’s no injuries and the driving is at the lesser end of the scale so it’s not terrible driving, but it’s still dangerous. You’re going to for sure be facing a significant fine plus a 30% victim fine charge. At a minimum, you are going to face a 1 year driving prohibition or more. By the way, the Ministry of Transportation is going to also take your licence for one year as well. The 1 year driving prohibition that the judge sentences you to will run at the same time as the Ministry’s 1 year driving suspension. We call that “concurrently” under the criminal system, but the driving prohibition order could be lengthier than 1 year.
Now the dangerous driving itself is defined as a marked departure from the reasonable standard of care which a prudent person would take in that situation. So let me give you an example, driving through a 40 or 50 kilometres speed limit at 100 kilometres an hour is dangerous driving per say. So very excessive speeding can be dangerous driving in other words. Obviously weaving in and out of traffic in a dangerous manner over a course or period of time is dangerous driving per se, i.e. speeding and weaving in and out of traffic extensively, but it has to kind of take place over a bit of a time period. It can’t be merely a momentary lack of attention. For example, careless driving under the Highway Traffic Act is defined as a momentary lack of attention or not being duly attentive to the roadway. For example, briefly reaching for your cell phone and getting into an accident. That’s not dangerous driving. That’s not a marked departure from a reasonable standard of care over a certain period of driving time. It’s momentary. There are far different consequences obviously from careless to dangerous driving. Dangerous driving is a serious criminal offence versus careless driving merely being a serious traffic ticket worth 6 points on your Ministry of Transportation driving record.
We are often able to negotiate a dangerous driving charge down to a careless driving charge which is a great result for the client. In many cases, we don’t feel the driving is dangerous, but merely a momentary lapse of attention. It might be close to the limit or in a grey area. For example, you know a person could perhaps be charged with dangerous driving if they are speeding 150 or 160 kilometres per hour. Depending on the facts of the case, this arguably may be dangerous driving on the 401. Certainly, inordinately high speeds probably of over 200 kilometres per hour on a 400 series highway is probably dangerous driving per se. There is a certain level of speed that is going to be considered dangerous driving or weaving in and out of traffic extensively on the 401 and getting in a motor vehicle accident. Could you face a jail term for a garden variety dangerous driving where there are no injuries and no one killed? Yes, there are certain aggravated situations where you could face a jail term even if there was no accident or no one was hurt. An accident on the 401 where there’s quite bad driving might attract that. Speeding excessively, I am talking far beyond the stunt level of driving on a 400 series highway might attract a short jail term depending on the fact. Stunt driving and racing by the way is at 150 kms/hr. or more, but somebody going 220 kms. /hr on the 401 with their kids in their back seat, for example, they are looking at a short jail term. Every situation is different. The judge is going to look at the nature of the driving, your background, your driving record and prior criminal record and we are going to try and negotiate the best possible result for you. Hopefully, that’s a careless driving plea or maybe that’s winning your case. If your driving is kind of in that “grey” area between dangerous driving and careless driving and it often is, where the Crown can’t prove that marked departure for various reasons, we can often negotiate a careless driving plea. So in a nutshell, that’s how we approach a dangerous driving charges and some of the consequences you could be facing if you pled guilty.
Can I win my DUI trial?
Every day, our offices, our staff, our lawyers, receive phone calls from across the province for DUIs and we offer free consultations. We go through the court process with them and review their version of events, but one of the first questions, they ask us after that is; “Can I win my DUI trial? What does it look like?” And what we say to them is: “Look, it’s impossible to tell at this point, it’s a little bit like a doctor who hasn’t done the tests yet, the blood tests, the x-rays, the MRI’s you get”.
What we need are all of the police reports about the DUI, the breath test procedure, the breath room video, cell video, the alcohol influence report and all of the police notes. Once we have that information, and by the way it doesn’t come until at least the first court appearance, or after which is three to six weeks down the road. Once we have that information, our lawyers will then analyze it and look for errors that the police made and look for ways and means of winning your case: Charter issues, were your rights breached, is there a section, 7, 8, 9 or 10 Charter issue that we can seize on here? Once we have that information, we sit down with you; we review it; we give you our legal opinion and again review your version of events. So now, we are in a position to provide you with a legal opinion, and we can break it down for you. We can, you know, some cases are completely unwinnable or close to that; some are not bad-maybe it’s worth running, maybe it’s not, it’s certainly less than 50-50. Some cases are 50-50; some cases are looking decent. The odd DUI case is frankly a slam dunk, although I am a little reluctant to tell clients that, but I tell them it’s looking very good. Sometimes we don’t want to over promise and underperform, but so, all kidding aside, we are able to provide you with a valid legal opinion, with what range it is in. And we can only do that once we have full disclosure. And by the way, the initial disclosure, package we receive, at the first appearance or after the first appearance, they are sometimes deficient, a lot of times. Actually usually there’s missing disclosure; sometimes we don’t get the breath room video, usually we don’t get the cell video of you in the cell. So, we need all that to finalize our opinion. So that’s the short answer. Is your DUI case winnable? Well, I can only tell you that after I receive the full disclosure weeks and weeks down the road.
Consequences of fraud
Our firm represents a lot of people who have been charged with small scale or large scale fraud. Now, there’s fraud, under $5000, and there’s fraud over $5000, under the Criminal Code. By the way, the maximum penalty for, if the Crown elects by indictment, for fraud over $5000, is a whopping 14 years in prison. So it’s a very serious crime. Now the classic definition of fraud is to deprive by deceitful or dishonest means. So in other words, deprive someone of something through deceit or dishonesty. It could be money for example, it could be a good that they own.
A lot of frauds, frankly over the years that we represented, that happen across the province that are employee frauds. The classic employee fraud case I suppose is the book keeper, the one who has their financial hands on the financial where with all of the company. So they have an opportunity to commit frauds. We’ve won a lot of those cases; they are not necessarily easy to prove and there’s often a complicated paper trail. You have witnesses, to certain things and maybe circumstances, maybe exclusive opportunity, it’s hard to prove and bring it all together. The trials can be very complicated. I’ve seen trials go on for weeks for some matters which are more complicated than others. On the other hand, and we’ve won those cases, on the other hand someone’s caught red handed; the paper trail is very clear; it’s the book keeper or someone else within the firm. Now what’s going to happen, for that person? Well, this is an employee breach of trust, essentially and the Ontario Court of Appeal, has basically said that’s a very serious crime. The typical penalties for that are a lot of jail time, unfortunately, for people who have been caught for that crime and I say unfortunately by the way.
Can we avoid a jail term for employee breach of fraud? It really depends; it has to be a smaller scale fraud, perhaps, you know, not hundreds of thousands of dollars. We have avoided jail, on lesser cases, especially under $5000, sometimes over $5000, depending on the factual background. If the person is able to pay restitution, that goes a long way to avoiding a jail term by the way. If they can’t pay restitution up front, there’s going to be a restitution order at the end. But the rule of thumb is you start with a jail term. Can you convince the judge that there should be no jail term? Is the employee going to get a conditional discharge ever on a breach trust case involving fraud? I’ve seen it, I mean, I’m also, we’ve even done it at our firm, but I hesitate to say that’s possible; it’s a very narrow circumstance, as it was in the case that we did. There’s all types of frauds and they range from more minor, you know dollar amounts to serious. You could be facing multi years in jail or no time or even a conditional discharge for small scale fraud. So it’s all over the map.
It’s a very serious crime. We are very experienced in dealing with it. There’s a lot of minutia to running the trial. You have to have an eye for detail and you have to have a clever financial eye. What is the crown missing? You’re essentially, the Crown is trying to put a puzzle together. You’re trying to take out one piece; they can’t connect the dots and guess what? You win. So you need to have a financial background with it. You often need to have expert witnesses and accountants to testify in these types of cases. Fraud is considered to be a very serious crime in Ontario. Our firm defends a lot of fraud cases. This is what we do for a living 24/7. Defending fraud cases is one of the criminal practice areas that we focus on.Absolutely, they can.
Consequence of shoplifting
I want to talk to you a little bit toddy about the consequences of shoplifting in terms of what’s going to happen or not happen in court. So obviously shoplifting is theft under $5,000 under the Criminal Code and we all know what shoplifting is; you go into a store and you lift a good and put it in your pocket and leave or walk out the store and you get charged with the offence.
So what happens in Ontario? First of all, it’s considered quite a minor criminal offence. Obviously, it’s one of the most common criminal offences in Canada, if not the most common frankly and what can typically happen? Well each county has their own little program for dealing with shoplifting and if you hire a lawyer they can often negotiate to get what’s called diversion. That means it can get diverted out of the criminal system where you avoid a criminal record. You might have to do certain things like, for example, pay a charitable donation or write a letter of apology or watch a video on shoplifting on the weekend at the probation office. So there are ways and means of avoiding a criminal record. We can often do that. The problematic thing for some of our clients is that some of our clients maintain that it was an accident. They were in a store and they put something in their pocket. They got distracted and they walked out and they get charged. What if they get offered diversion? Well it becomes a bit of a catch-22 because they can go to trial to try and win where they might get convicted and get a criminal record or they can take that diversion program if we can negotiate that. So these things have to be carefully assessed with each individual client. The worst case scenario on a shoplifting charge is you might receive a criminal record depending on the value of the good, but for minor goods we can often negotiate diversion with the Crown.
So it really pays to consider retaining a lawyer in this situation.
Can The Police Lie To You During A Criminal Investigation?
I have had many clients say to me over the years, “Look Mike, the police lied to me , I was in the confession room and they were making up evidence against me , saying there’s this witness and that witness, and they were pointing to empty boxes which turns out to be empty boxes of materials in an attempt to get me talking and a confession and I felt so much pressure, as a result over lies which I thought was the truth that I eventually gave a confession. “
Are the police allowed to lie ? Unfortunately, this is a very accepted technique, that is good policing it happens all the time, it’s one of the reason why you should remain silent. In the face of a police investigation when you are being a accused of a crime, and the police have various techniques including the read technique, is a really clever technique which I covered in a blog, about how to get you talking but one of the accepted tactics is to lie to you, because the case against you is overwhelming , you might as well help yourself out now , you get talking about it , and when that case goes to trial, sometimes there’s no way to kick out that confession and the judge is going to say “ yeah, certainly the police are allowed to lie, you are convicted” So that’s something to keep in mind, and you should always bear in mind, the exercise your right to remain silent in the face of police questioning when you are being accused of a crime or under suspicion by the police. I cover that topic in another blog or video which you should watch as well. So that in a nutshell is the answer to the question, “Can the police lie in interrogation?” Absolutely, they can.
A Critique of the Ontario Criminal Case Management System
I’m really glad you can join me today, my name is Mike Kruse, from Kruse Law Firm, and I am here today to talk to you about a critique of the Canadian or least, Ontario, criminal courtroom remand system. This involves the Ontario Court of Justice and the Superior Court of Justice.
One thing that the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted is that our remand system, our case management system, in our criminal courts, is completely out-dated, it’s like a nineteenth or twentieth century anachronism, there’s no need for it. And I’ll basically explain it very briefly. In our court system, you get a first appearance, it might be four, three, four five, six weeks after you are arrested, and you show up or your lawyer shows up and says, look, I retained, this person retained me, and I need three or four weeks to report to the crown attorney, and speak to the crown and get disclosure. It’s a completely useless system. Its just a reporting system. You would have to go back to court three to four weeks, and say something along those lines. “Look, I need more time”, or “I need to set up a pre-trial with the judge or a crown pretrial with the crown”. Why do we need this system? We don’t. COVID has highlighted this because our cases are going over automatically, you don’t even have to attend. It’s presumptively that they are going over. What that says to us is “look, we can still do the normal steps, we don’t have to report to a Justice of the Peace every three weeks, we can just report those steps electronically, you are expected to do certain steps, and why do we have to keep going back to court like this? “ I would expect, I really believe, there’s a very good chance that they are going completely scrap our remand system, both in the Ontario Court of Justice level and the Superior Court of Justice level. Superior court of Justice is called assignment court. Again, it’s useless there in my respect of opinion and there’s other ways and means of doing it. For example, defence counsel and crown counsel could just be expected to complete the normal steps, let’s say three to four months, and send an electronic message,.“ Look , we completed the steps, we’re ready to set a trial date”. If the steps are not completed, then perhaps the judge could say, well let’s have a manage, let’s have an appearance, so you need to explain why this is not completed. It’s very simple, we don’t need to go to court every three to four weeks, and wasting time and particularly during COVID and particularly forever. This is something that should have been dealt with years before. And I can tell you this, there’s certain jurisdictions in the states, including the federal court system where they don’t even have remand appearances. You don’t need this reporting system, we’re in the twenty-first century now, let’s report electronically and do the normal steps in the file. Steps in a file are not done in the court room they are done outside of the courtroom and have been had this critique for many years, that COVID has really highlighted it for us in the Justice system. So I hope the Ministry of the Attorney General does the right thing, and gets rid of it so we don’t waste time every three to four weeks in going to court.
Are Virtual Criminal Trials A
I wanted to discuss a very interesting issue today and that is whether having a virtual trial that is a trial by Zoom or Skype, JVN technology, where witnesses are testifying remotely whether that’s a viable option for you, whether the court system is moving towards that and whether it’s effective or whether you should resist and try to you know, have an in person trial.
First of all, in Canada, we have an absolute right to an in person trial. So you don’t have to agree to a virtual trial. Now, what’s happened during the COVID pandemic is our court system, the Ontario Court of Justice, the Superior Court of Justice, the Ministry of Attorney General, has spent a lot of money on modernizing our courtrooms, and they’ve made virtual trials an option. Their have been a few that went on and I can tell you this, a lot of criminal defence counsel are very resistant in the province, and there’s competing arguments on both sides. There’s pros and cons’ to that. Some of the competing arguments are this, “well how, how can you effectively cross examine the person via video hook up, how can the judge access their demeanour, the way they are coming across, could they be coached by someone else in the room, could they be reading notes”.
I can tell you what my experiences with virtual trials and virtual preliminary hearings, I’ve had many virtual preliminary hearings where witnesses testify from across the, different provinces, and I have found frankly no disadvantage I felt that I was able to effectively cross examine the witnesses, it was very clear that they weren’t being coached and very clear that they were not reading notes and you can examine their demeanour. It was quite, surprisingly effective in my view. I’ve also done trials. Under our system, if it’s a child witness under eighteen they can potentially testify via closed circuit TV even today, and you have, that’s an application, I found that very effective too. The witness is in another room; they are there with a support worker. I found actually young people more forth coming when I wasn’t in the room, I was able to gleam more information from them. So I tend to be in the pro camp for this. There’s very early returns on this. There’s been a few virtual trials. Not a lot of counsel are agreeing to it yet. You do not have to do that. I may have some client’s that say to me “ yeah, I want a virtual trial, I would do that, absolutely, I would do that” . I would say this “even though I am quite open to it, that I think it could be a good thing, I don’t want to be the guinea pig, I want to see how other trials proceed and get some feed back from other people”. But sometimes we can be closed minded at things without thinking it through just because we are soo use to something. But with the technology we have today, why couldn’t a virtual trial work, it’s something to consider, at least, and again, my advice to a client right now would be “No, I wouldn’t agree to that, you have a right to an in person trial, let’s see how it goes, I’m going to speak to other lawyers, see how it goes in the province and go from there”, and there be some studies done about that but to put your head in the sand and say this can’t work, I don’t’ think that’s the right idea and of course, I may be wrong. It may turn out that some of these negatives are in fact negative, that has not been my experience on the virtual cases I have done in the past. That’s available for preliminary hearings by the way and that’s also available for young people, even in normal times. So those are some of the issues that have emerged in the COVID-19 pandemic in our court system with modernization. I know that the Ministry of the Attorney General are encouraging people to consider virtual trials, but another option, even if you, like the negative about the virtual trials, the potential negative is cross examining witnesses and seeing their demeanour and whether we can judge credibility, that is the judge or jury via through a camera. But the thing is, you could do certain aspect of the trial virtually quite easily which don’t depend on demeanour. For example, there’s opening argument, there’s closing argument, to a jury or judge alone, there’s pretrial motions or evidence that’s not called, there’s submissions. So there’s all sorts of things that whether could be a combination of virtual and not virtual and I think most defence counsels are not open to that. So you either run into one camp, you’re saying, “ I’m on the pro camp, for virtual trials, or I’m in the con camp, but I think most people in the pro camp, like me, well I don’t want to be the guinea pig , it’s not going to be my client that goes first, let your client go first” so anyways, it’s going to be a very interesting up coming months, and years in the criminal justice system as we modernize and to see what extent virtual trials take place, and whether in fact they are good and viable options and make no difference whether it’s in person or not in terms of your odds of being able to successfully challenge the credibility of a witness.
Can A Lawyer Represent A Couple On Domestic Assault Charges?
Our firm represents many men and woman who are charged with domestic assault. You know, a fairly common situation does occur and this person comes to our office and it’s a husband and the wife and they say “Mike, I would like to retain you to represent me in domestic assault, my husband’s also been charged because the police had a hard time sorting out who is the aggressor so they charged us both, can you also represent my husband because we want to work things out and get these charges dropped. We are talking about getting back together, even though we are not supposed to talk due to our bail conditions”. And I say to them, “ No, that’s the very, probably one of the clearest example of conflict of interest. I can only your interest, I can’t represent your husband because he’s charged with assaulting you. You are charged with assaulting him, I’m here to help you, I’m not here to help your husband, who am I helping in that situation. I can really help neither. It doesn’t work out that way. So that’s a clear example of conflict of interest, you can retain me, the wife, or the husband as the case may be, and your husband has to go and get another lawyer.
Now a common situation, and I’ve seen this happen, perhaps it’s an inexperience lawyer, who meets with both couples, or gives advice to both couples, that lawyer’s also already in a conflict, they shouldn’t represent either. So we are very careful that way. If the wife or husband calls us first, that’s the person we can represent, and no other. So that’s the very , a common situation in criminal law, and that’s how it should be handles. Both should have their own independent lawyer representing their best interests.
Can A Criminal Lawyer Represent Multiple Co Accused?
A very common situation in criminal law is where police charged multiple co accused with the same crime. For example, a drug case, where they find multiple people in the same car, they don’t know who had possession of the drug, multiple people in the same house during a search warrant. A client comes to me and they say “Mike, you know, my wife and I were found in this car together, um, can you represent both of us?” Well it really depends, let’s say that there’s four people in the car, both the husband and wife were saying the drugs wasn’t ours, that it was the driver, and they are both saying that. Well, technically would not be a conflict of interest and a lawyer technically could represent both the husband and wife as long as that story doesn’t change. Sometimes the conflict of interest could occur at some point later. For example, the wife says,” no, no the drugs were my husband’s”. So it’s always a bit touchy situation, to take on co-accused. That would be one where you could. Our firm, I am not saying we never take on a co-accused but we’re very careful about it. We have to access each individual situation. We have to make sure there’s no conflict first. The way we do that is that we only represent one initially, get disclosure, review it carefully with them and make sure there’s no conflict and perhaps we might be able to represent the husband in that situation. Now, there’s other touchier situations where there is no conflict, yeah you can represent two but it may not be in the best interest because it’s a very complicated factual situation. Like a , you know very complicated factual situation, say a fight on the golf course, involving multiple parties, so now you are cross examining at trial for two people , it becomes messy in your mind to sort things out. Who you are helping in any one given time, even though both of your clients are saying the other four golfers were the aggressors. So you have to be careful I wouldn’t recommend a criminal lawyer take on many co-accused cases, maybe there are cares that are okay to do it, many not, but I can tell you this, there’s soo many examples of conflict of interests where you can’t and again, that would be an example, the car, where say there’s four co-accused, a man in the car says “the driver had, was in the possession of the drugs”. The man wants to retain me, well I can’t represent the driver because we want to point the fingers at the driver.
So, conflict of interests occurs at the outset of criminal law. They can also develop during the course of the trial, so that becomes a messy situation too. Two people paid a lawyer all this money, and a conflict occurs in the middle of the trial. A trial gets mis-tried and put over and where do you go from there. So you have to be very careful as a criminal lawyer, and you have to understand the law of conflicts very carefully. So that’s the short answer of when not you can develop a , you know, a conflict and whether a lawyer should actually consider taking two co-accused on. The bottom line the lawyer has to be very careful, and do the right thing. It sometimes doesn’t pay to take two co-accused on even though there’s no conflict.
Do I Need To Hire A
Local Criminal Lawyer?
I want to talk to you a little bit today about how whether virtual courtrooms and virtual technology really make it necessary to hire a local criminal lawyer and I want to give you the example of our offices. For example, we have multiple physical locations and lawyers and staff. We’re located in Toronto. Lawyers in Toronto, staff members. Kitchener, London and Windsor. So we’ve always operated locally and happy to operate locally in those cities but we’ve also serviced all of the other areas in between. Smaller counties like Woodstock, Walkerton, Simcoe. You know, bigger cities like Hamilton and we’ve never felt at a disadvantage in doing that. We’ve been able to, well first of all those locations are within striking distance of each of our offices.
There’s always been this feeling a lot of people and it is propagated by the criminal bar, and I used to be one of those people who felt this way frankly when I was a younger lawyer that oh it’s better to hire locally. You know your lawyer knows the Crown Attorneys more, knows the local Judges, etc. We never felt at a disadvantage frankly working in any of those counties. In fact I’ve found our success rate in out-of-towns at least as good if not better than our local. You know, there was no problem there. Of course some clients wanted to have a local lawyer so they wouldn’t retain us. They would retain someone else but now things have changed. You see we have, our firm has this, we have virtual technology in the province. People don’t want to meet in person. The courts are going virtual. Right now we are doing virtual out-of-custody guilty plea, virtual bail hearings. A lawyer in Toronto can operate in Windsor quite easily and very good lawyers in different cities can operate anywhere.
Is there an advantage to knowing the local Crown’s? Well if there was ever that, I think at one time there was that you know, a bit of a myth that there’s an old boy’s network that you get deals if you know the lawyer. If ever that existed, I’m not saying it ever did, that’s all gone. You know Judges like to sometimes see a refreshing face in Crown Attorneys and again our firm’s had a very good success rate. So you can even do trials virtually right now.
So that’s what’s going on. It’s not necessarily a good thing for local lawyers. It’s not necessarily a good thing for our firm because our main offices are local but we don’t propagate that message. I don’t say hire us because we’re local. I say hire us and compare us to other law firms and make your decision based on your budget because we can operate anywhere in the province effectively right now including doing virtual trials, virtual guilty pleas and this is probably not going away. The pandemic is probably going to be here for a while unfortunately. The court system’s changing. It’s modernizing and I would expect for example the remand system is going to be done away with or go virtually. Virtual guilty pleas are here to stay and virtual trials may be here to stay as well. Very simply hire the best lawyer you can find within your budget whether that be local, and that may be a local lawyer or it may not be and that’s the message I want to give to you today about what’s going on with the new virtual reality that’s been caused by the Covid-19 Pandemic.
Does Kruse Law Firm Charge For
When we meet with a new client, we will meet with them and provide them a free consultation and we’ll provide them with exact quotes for our legal fees. So first of all we quote a down payment. It’s called a retainer. That’s a certain amount of money to start the file. We will quote if the matter resolves that means by way of guilty plea without setting a trial date, withdrawal, peace bond. So in other words, you’re not heading to trial. There is a block fee quote. So you know exactly what you are getting into and then we will quote for a trial as well. So if you don’t do a plea there is further fees in addition to the retainer to proceed to trial. So you’ll know exactly what you’re getting into. We don’t charge hourly rates and there’s a reason for that. You can watch another video I’ve commented somewhat negatively on hourly rates. I don’t believe it’s a good thing to get locked into hourly rates with a lawyer for various reasons. You’re going to know exactly what you are getting into, your exact quote and you can decide to retain us or not.
Now a question that clients often ask me are there travel fees outside, we have multiple locations across the province and we travel to areas within a range of those locations and most of those counties are within you know 30 minutes, an hour, 2 hours, sometimes as much as 4 hours from where they are located. We don’t charge travel fees. Our fees are common across central, western and southwestern Ontario which is our main region and we don’t charge travel fees and we do cases even father than that at times we do take on cases across Ontario frankly. So that’s the answer. We don’t charge travel fees. We charge block quote fees so you know what you are getting into. There’s certainty. You’re fees are not going to be more than those block quotes as opposed to the uncertainty of oh my god hourly rates of four or five hundred bucks an hour that some criminal lawyers charge. How do you know when it ends? You have no idea the time estimate. You should strive for certainty with quotes and that’s what we do at our firm.
Does Kruse Law Firm Offer A Free Initial Video Consultation?
I want to talk to you today about Kruse Law Firm’s free initial video consultation. If you check out one of my other videos I go through in detail what’s involved in our consultations and they’re free. It’s no cost or obligation to you. One of the issues really that the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted is the new virtual reality we’ve been living in. Our firm has always had the ability to have zoom and skype consultations with people and we’ve been doing this for years and we’ve been very active with it during these times. Many clients want to do this. They don’t want to meet in person. It’s safer and it really works out well. It’s really as if you are there and it allows us to meet with all of our clients including in counties that are outside of our physical locations. Our physical locations are in Windsor, London, Kitchener and Toronto but we also act for people in all of the counties in between. So this is the service we provide. Our consultation is usually in the range of 30 to 60 minutes and we’re going to give you a lot of good advice and it will almost be as if you are there really which we’ve been finding is great and clients like it so that’s what’s involved in our free initial video consultation.
How Long Can The Police Keep My Electronic Devices?
Our firm represents a lot of clients. They come to our office and they’ve been charged with a particular crime and as part of the investigation the police have seized their electronic device. Their laptop, their iPad, their computer, their cell phone because the police want to do a further investigation to see if there’s evidence which supports and proves the crime in addition to the other evidence they have and they’ll ask us you know “will I get this back? I mean these are expensive devices, I’ve got an expensive computer. Will I ever get it back?” The answer to that really depends on a) whether the police find something of help to them in solving the crime, in proving the crime or b) the nature of what’s found on the computer.
So let me give you an example. They are going to search, they have to get a search warrant by the way to open the devices and search. They’re going to do that after they seize it. Go before a Judge or Justice of the Peace to get a search warrant, doing a forensic analysis of the computer or look for whatever they are looking for whether it’s Facebook threatening messages, whether it text, whether it’s harassing messages or things like child pornography if it’s a child pornography case. So it really depends. So if they find things like Facebook and text messages which support harassment, they are going to need that evidence for the trial if you go to trial and you’re not going to get that computer back perhaps until the end of the trial. You’d probably get it back in that scenario at the end of trial because the computer probably wasn’t used as a crime itself in a sense like child pornography you’re using the firm to search your child pornography, that type of person who is found with child pornography, they’re not going to get their devices back. Obviously in fact they’re going to if they lose their trial, they’re going to be prohibited from using a computer any way and they’re not going to get that one back. If they don’t find anything on the computer obviously they’ll give that back within a reasonable time period. So either you’re going to get it back soon, you’re going to get it back sometime after the trial or you’re never going to get it back depending on the situation. So that’s the short answer to those particular questions. It really depends on the facts of your particular case and we can help you with that, answer that question if you come to our office.
What Difference Will Hiring A Criminal Lawyer Make?
During our free initial consultation clients or perspective clients will often ask me “Mike should I even hire a lawyer? Will it make a difference?” and there’s an old adage, I love old adages but there’s a particular apt one for that. A self-represented accused has a fool for a lawyer. That is so true. It’s impossible to effectively represent yourself in the criminal court system.
Even one of the highly experienced lawyers such as the criminal lawyers at our law firm, if they found themselves charged with a criminal offence they would absolutely try and find the best criminal lawyer around to defend them. It’s impossible to effectively negotiate the best negotiated plea on your own. It’s impossible to effectively represent yourself at trial and cross-examination, cross-examine a witness. It just doesn’t work and particularly even for a criminal lawyer it wouldn’t work. For someone who doesn’t know the criminal justice system it would be an absolute disaster. So it does make a huge difference. It makes a huge difference in terms of the leniency you might receive on your sentence and negotiations. It makes a huge difference about the odds of you winning a trial. I can’t even imagine a person attempting to defend any criminal case. It’s so technical, you know every aspect of criminal law is technical. DUIs are technical. It just would be a complete disaster. So that’s the short answer to that.
We can take your stress away. We can alleviate your pain in that regard. We can effectively represent you in court. Get you a lenient sentence and potentially win your case but certainly maximize the chances of doing all of those things including hopefully winning your case and that’s what we do and that’s why you need to hire the best criminal lawyer you can find within your budget.
Mutual & Consensual
I want to talk to you today a little bit about mutual physical fights. That is where two people agree to engage in fisticuffs or a wrestling match or a fight of some sort and this sometimes can occur between husband and wife of course and clients of mine will get charged, whether it’s the man or the woman that’s accusing them of assaulting them and they will say look it is a mutual fight. We consented. We were slapping each other or grabbing or punching each other. We both started at the same time and it was both consented to or two people on the street for example or two people at a bar and the client says “is that a valid defence?” It’s not self-defence because it was agreed to. You’re not defending yourself. The short answer to this question is sometimes it’s a defence and sometimes it’s not. It is a defence if you didn’t cause any injuries to the other person. They didn’t suffer any bodily harm, for example. You are allowed to engage in a mutual fight if there’s no bodily harm and that’s a case called Jobidon, R. v. Jobidon which is a higher court decision in Canada.
Now if there is bodily harm and bodily harm by the way unfortunately has been defined at a very low level. I’ve seen bruises be defined as bodily harm even minor bruises. Some Judges will even bend over backwards if they’re really minor to say that’s not bodily harm but I’ve seen it. Certainly anything beyond bruises is clearly bodily harm. So the bottom line it’s not a defence if you’re causing injuries in that regard defined as bodily harm under the Criminal Code.
So it’s not like the mutual fight, one assault cancels out the other either. It’s not like it’s just going to go away. So the way to defend that type of charge is not necessarily by mutual. It wasn’t mutual or consented it if was bodily harm. We have to plead guilty. The only way to defend that type of charge is if it was truly acting in self-defence.
So that’s the law of consent and bodily harm when it comes to mutual fights. Whether it’s a husband and wife, intimate partners or strangers in a bar for example and that can be troubling for some people because a lot of people are under the impression that you can engage in a fight. It’s a mutual fight, cause a black eye and just walk away. Well not if the guy, person, man or woman calls the police. You’re going to be charged with an assault under our Canadian Criminal Code and you would likely be convicted unless it was in self-defence.
What Is Involved In A
I want to talk to you today about what is involved with our free consultation at Kruse Law Firm. You come to our office, you phone us, you’ve been newly charged with a criminal offence and you want some information and you’re reaching out to us because we offer that free consultation. What is involved in that process? Well first of all we will meet with you whether it’s on the phone, whether it’s in person or zoom or skype and we’re going to go through the nature of your charges with you, we’re going to review the law with you, go through your version of events and receive what you say is alleged by the police or the alleged victim as well. We are going to receive all that information from you. You know, basically go through some strategies, all of the court process A to Z and what you can expect in the court system and also discuss with you some common defences, how you might be able to defend this particular charge.
People are often looking for a very firm opinion during that initial consultation and that’s really impossible to provide. Sometimes we can give you some ideas or hints about your case and I’ll give you an example, let’s say it’s a domestic assault charge and you’re telling us there’s no injuries, you acted in self-defence and your wife has a certain version of events or your husband does than you do. I can tell you this, I can probably safely give this opinion that those cases always start out at at least a 50/50 percent chance of winning if not higher. So there’s an example where we could give a tentative opinion but the real legal opinion’s impossible to provide you until we receive all of the police reports, the videos of the alleged victim, the police notes and statements. It’s called the disclosure. It’s a package of materials it can range from even on a minor case 50 to 100 pages up to even literally up to literally 1000s of pages in more complicated conspiracy or drug case or murder case. Until we receive that disclosure we can’t really give you a particular legal opinion but we can really point you in the right direction, make you feel comfortable with what you’re getting into if you decide to retain us, know what our role is and know where we’re headed and we can also give you some ideas about range of sentence if you decide to plead guilty but many of our clients claim they’re innocent and want to have trials but that’s if you decide to plead guilty.
So that’s what’s involved in a free consultation. The thing is about it, I analogize it to going to a doctor. When you go to a doctor and you discuss symptoms they can give you some general ideas about it but they really can’t diagnose it as serious symptoms in many cases until they send you for blood tests, x-rays, MRI’s. That’s kind of an analysis to the police reports. We are only able to receive a little bit of information. We need the complete information before we give you a firm legal opinion after you retain us. Our consultation takes place anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour. You’re going to receive a lot of information. We are also going to provide you with quotes for legal fees and you can decide to retain us and if you don’t at least you have some good guidance and information to go on your way and either represent yourself or decide what you’re going to do with your criminal charges.
What is Kruse Law Firm’s Success Rate Winning Criminal Trials?
Our clients often ask me “Mike what is Kruse Law Firm’s success rate winning criminal trials? You know when I first started practicing law about 30 years ago I heard an adage from a senior criminal lawyer and he said to me “Mike the definition of a good criminal trial lawyer is as follows: you win almost all of the cases that you’re supposed to win, on 50/50 type cases you win the vast majority of those and on some cases where you have absolutely no business of winning a good criminal lawyer can even pull out a win there.”
The point is criminal law is a vast spectrum of odds of winning. When we get your police reports, we review your version of events, we will be able to give you an idea of what your basic odds of winning. See criminal law breaks down to certain ranges of winning. There are some cases that are completely unwinnable. You’ve confessed to 3 police officers, there are 8 witnesses that you beat someone up. There’s a crow bar at the scene and there’s DNA. There’s no chance at winning that case. There’s some cases that fall into a range of well there’s a lower probability to win. We might win it with some good luck. There’s 50/50 cases. There’s hey looking pretty good or there’s close to slam dunk cases.
The point is as well, if a lawyer says to you “look I never lose cases”, they are either a) lying to you or b) they don’t do criminal trials. Many good criminal lawyers including our firm we sometimes take on very hard cases to win. The client says they’re innocent, there’s a low odds of winning and we sometimes pull out those cases but those cases are easily lost. We have already given the opinion that you don’t stand much of a chance but sometimes we get lucky there. A good criminal lawyer can sometimes pull out those cases. In 50/50 type cases say it’s a domestic assault a he said she said case, no injuries or even minor injuries and the client is claiming self-defence, they haven’t confessed to the police, it’s one witness against the other, a good criminal lawyer in that case can invariably often win those cases at a much higher rate than 50% because those cases the burden of proof is in his client’s favour, there has to be proof beyond a reasonable doubt and it’s a difficult burden for the Crown. On higher range cases we rarely lose those types of cases but those cases are not guaranteed. Again a good criminal lawyer would lose a good slam dunk case even 1% of the time. It happens, things go wrong. We can’t make any guarantees in that regard. We have former criminal prosecutor’s here, we’re very experienced lawyers. We do the full range of criminal law and we do hard cases, we do 50/50 cases, we do pretty good cases that have a good chance of winning and slam dunk cases and I will put our lawyers’ track record up with other criminal lawyers in the province who are at the same level and they have a very good winning track record as do I over the last 30 years. So that’s basically what our success rate is. It’s good. We’re here for you. We are going to do the best we can. We are either going to win your case or we’re going to get the best result we possibly can.
What Is The Kruse Law
During our free initial consultation many perspective will ask me, “Mike, what will you or your lawyers do differently than another law firm? Why should I hire your firm as opposed to another law firm?” Well first of all, we have several former prosecutors. Criminal prosecutors and drug prosecutors who work for our firm. I myself am a former criminal prosecutor so I have the mindset of a prosecutor in a sense that I can put my mind into the strategy that they’re thinking. That’s a very helpful asset. We put the client first. The client’s needs, the client’s goals are number one in our mind. That’s client centric approach to our firm. We have constant communication with our clients all well. Hard work is number one like skills and experience which we have, 30 years I’ve been at this business that only takes you so far. You can’t just rely on skills and experience. It’s hard work. It’s preparation. It’s detail and let me give you an example from myself and our other lawyers and I’ll compare us to other law firms in this regard. When we get a client ready to testify, say at a domestic assault, sexual assault, a dui case, we spend hours with that client. Mock questioning in-chief examination, mock cross-examination, correcting them, you know, using their personality and their version but we show them how to testify properly because that’s an art form. People don’t just get up on the witness stand, whether they are truthful, whether they are lying or somewhere in between and sound good. It requires preparation by the lawyer and this is what our law firm does. Fees, I can tell you this, obviously we are in business and we are here to make money but fees are probably the last thing on my mind when I am doing a criminal case. If you do good work with hard preparation, you have a client centric approach, you are here to win cases as hard as you can for a client and negotiate the best possible result. The fees follow and the reputation follows. That’s what we will do differently than other criminal law firms and that’s why you should hire Kruse Law Firm.
What Types of Criminal Charges Does Kruse Law Firm Handle?
I want to talk about what type of criminal charges Kruse Law Firm handles. First of all, our firm completely restricts our practice to handling any type of criminal case or impaired driving. So that’s the full gamut of cases under the Criminal Code, Narcotics Controls Act and other Acts in Canada which are criminal acts. There are certain offences for example under the Customs Act which are criminally related. We have done this area of law for over 30 years and it’s all we do. All of our lawyers. We don’t do any other type of law other than this area and that runs the full gamut so you’re talking crimes of violence like assault, aggravated assault, assault causing bodily harm, any type of sexual crime, domestic assault, property offences, drug offences and of course one of our focuses is on impaired driving by alcohol and impaired driving by drugs. Coincidentally approximately 15 % of criminal charges in Canada are impaired driving offences if you can believe that a little known fact. This is what we do. We have very experienced lawyers in this regard and in fact we have former criminal prosecutors. I’m a former criminal prosecutor myself when I started my career and we have former drug prosecutors. This is what you need. If you’re hiring a criminal lawyer , you’re charged with a criminal offence, you need to find a lawyer who restricts their practice to this specific area and is experienced doing the specific type of crime that you’re involved in because not all lawyers handle for example impaired driving cases, just as an example but we do the full spectrum. We are here to serve you and we are going to do the best we can to either win your case or get the best result possible in court.
Will Mike Kruse Be My Lawyer?
During our free initial consultation we quote clients for legal fees and clients will often ask us if I’m doing the intake or one of our staff members or lawyers and say “Will it be Mike Kruse who’s doing the trial or guilty plea or resolution or will it be one of the other experienced lawyers?” and what we do is we quote differential rates. All of our lawyers are very experienced lawyers, very capable lawyers and have winning track records. My particular legal fees for doing a trial are higher than the other lawyers. So if you choose to pay those higher rates you can get me. If you choose to pay the lower rate for the other lawyers you will get one of our other experienced and highly capable lawyers. I might add you will be in very good hands with them. So this allows our clients sometimes to work within a budget. Sometimes they frankly cannot afford my legal fees so we try and work within a budget by having differential rates. So that is one of the benefits of going to our firm as well, that we do have differential rates but any route you go with our firm whether you have me do your trial or resolution or whether you have the other lawyers you are going to be in good hands. You’re going to have a lawyer that’s experienced that restricts themselves to only doing criminal law and impaired driving cases and has a good winning track record at getting great results for their clients.