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Criminal & DUI Lawyers, including:
Three Former Crown Prosecutors

Should I Lay A Counter Charge?

You’ve been charged with a criminal offence and you retained a lawyer, and you go to that lawyer and say “look, I’m completely innocent, in fact, I’m the victim”. For example, my wife charged me, she had the police attend, made a 911 call, police showed up, and they wounded up charging me and she is the one who assaulted me.  So client’s will often ask me, “should I lay a counter charge, in this situation?”  Will that be helpful in trying to negotiate to have these matters withdrawn? I want to put the blame on her.  This is a very loaded question. Each situation has to be applied, you know, each factual situation, and you have to speak to a very good lawyer who knows what they are doing whether they are to do this okay. The problem with laying a privately laying criminal information, that’s where you would be go before a Justice of the Peace and give your version of events in writing, is now you are revealing all of your facts, to the Crown, so they have a chance to cross examine you at trial. I don’t want to give, you know, I can give you some generalizations. In a domestic situation, it rarely if ever, and I frankly never do it and wouldn’t advise it to lay a counter charge because the way it politically is in the province, if you are a man charged with a domestic assault, it’s not going to help you lay a counter charge, end of story. 

There are some narrow situations that I would have to look at it carefully, each situation, for example, if you got into a bar fight where you were attacked and you have your own witnesses, in that situation, it might be effective to lay a counter charge, but every situation has to be looked at very carefully. By in large, counter charge are not effective, “can they be effective in a narrow factual situation?” The answer is “yes” if you could go to a good lawyer that can analyze it, and figure out, “does this maximize my chances of winning the case, I can tell you this, in a domestic assault, if you try and lay a counter charge and give the Crown your version, that minimizes your chances of winning a case because it’s not going to be effective.

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