You’ve been charged with a criminal offence. You’ve been charged with say a DUI, impaired driving, domestic assault, sexual assault, property crimes such as theft and you’ve retained our firm and you come to us at the initial meeting and we don’t have the police reports at that meeting. It’s just a first meeting you have where have you just retained us.
A common question that client’s ask us, they might give their short version of events to me and say “hey, is my charge defendable?” and what I say to them is this, you know at this stage, we really don’t know. I really can’t provide you with an opinion at that point. That opinion can only be provided once we receive the complete disclosure. That’s the police reports, police notes, police supplementary reports, the victim if there is a victim’s statement, video statements. Once we have those as a lawyer I am going to pore over those and first of all, can the Crown even prove a case? I’m going to know that once I see that what the odds of winning are.
I’m also going to receive your complete version of events after you review the disclosure. That process in some cases can take hours. Then I’m in a position to provide you with a very detailed opinion of what your odds of winning and what the best strategy is but to answer that question, any lawyer who tries to answer that question at the first meeting without those police reports, it’s like a doctor trying to answer a question whether you’ve got cancer without seeing diagnostic images and that sort of thing. It’s a similar analysis to that. It’s a process that can go on for hours and requires a lot of input by you including us receiving your complete version of events and then analyzing that in the context of the disclosure. Can we create reasonable doubt? What are our odds of winning? Should we go to trial or resolve this matter.
So that’s the answer to this question, is your charge defendable.