When you have been charged with a criminal offence, such as a minor theft, it is possible that you may be released at the police station with a promise to appear and you may be subject to conditions on an undertaking. In other cases, such as drug trafficking, the police may decide that they will not release you at the station. This could be because of nature of the allegations, the fact that you have a criminal record or you breached previous release conditions. In those cases, the police must bring you before a justice within 24 hours of your detention. This means you are brought to the courthouse where an assistant Crown attorney will look at your file and determine whether they will consent to your release. If they do not consent to your release, then you will have a bail hearing where the justice will determine whether you should be released.
If you are being investigated or under suspicion for sexual assault (or any other criminal charge) - read this blog. This article will examine a sexual assault investigation and how you, the suspect can protect your rights and freedoms.
Clients frequently need advice on the possibility of a polygraph examination, particularly during investigations into sexual offences.
When your child is charged with a criminal offence, and you hire a lawyer to represent your child in court, it is important to remember that ultimately, it is your child that is the client and not you. This is so even when you have paid for the lawyer (which is most often the case). As a parent, you play a crucial role in the process, not only in helping your child through the process and with the decisions that lie ahead, but also in ensuring that his or her lawyer understands any particular challenges your child has faced or circumstances that may be relevant to why he or she has been charged. Your lawyer should encourage you to attend all the meetings with your child, in order to ensure that everyone is on the same page. Your lawyer should also encourage your child to consult you and include you in all decision making. Often times criminal charges can result in complex decisions for your child and it is extremely useful for a parent or family member to be able to offer assistance in working through those decisions. It is worth keeping in mind however that if at any time your child requests to have a private conversation with his or her lawyer, the lawyer cannot disclose the contents of that conversation to you as parent, as a result of the lawyer's obligations. This is called solicitor-client privilege. Similarly, sometimes a parent and child will be at odds as to the appropriate course of action, when this occurs, the lawyer is obligated to take your child's instructions on the issue, as ultimately, it is his or her decision to make.
In many cases, an offender's main concern when being sentenced is whether he/she will have to go to jail. However, justices have other tools at their disposal when considering what an appropriate sentence might be.
Diversion programs are an alternative to prosecution. It is recognition by the Crown that not all offences should be prosecuted, and that some form of community service may more properly offset the harm done to the community. Under a diversion program, minor criminal charges, such as certain thefts, are resolved by diverting them out of the court process. In Ottawa it is called the Direct Accountability Program and is run by the Elizabeth Fry Society ('E-Fry'). In order to be eligible there are a number of preconditions that must be met: you must be 18 years or older, the charges must be minor in nature, you must accept responsibility for your offence(s), the Crown must screen you into the program and then the Community Justice Worker at E-Fry must find you appropriate for the program.