Q: If I’ve been charged, what should I do?
A: You should contact an experienced criminal lawyer as soon as possible. It is important to know your rights before you make any decisions about how to deal with your charges. You will want to discuss with a criminal lawyer the consequences of setting a trial date or a guilty plea. Some of the decisions you will make are time sensitive. Sometimes it will be important to attempt to preserve evidence for a future trial. Almost without exception, only a lawyer who works exclusively in criminal law will have the right experience to guide you through the process.
I offer a free consultation for people charged with criminal offences for the first time and who are confused and anxious about their court appearance. Everything that is said during the consultation remains completely confidential.
Q: If I suspect that I am being investigated for a crime, what can I do?
A: If you believe that you are the subject of a police investigation, you are well within your rights to visit a criminal lawyer to discuss the situation. It will be important to learn what obligations you have when dealing with police, and also what obligations the police have when investigating you. The police may want to discuss the investigation with you. In most circumstances, you are not required to speak to them. You should speak with an experienced criminal lawyer before you decide how to proceed.
Q: What should I look for in picking a lawyer?
A: When picking a criminal lawyer the most important thing is to feel comfortable with the lawyer. You need to trust the lawyer and know that he or she has your best interest at heart. You will want someone who is open and honest with you about your case. The lawyer should not be someone who intimidates you. They should not try to alarm you or make you feel fearful. At the same time, the lawyer should treat your charges seriously, and should not imply that there is no risk of conviction. You need a criminal lawyer that is sincere and who will answer your questions. You also want someone who has knowledge of the courts and its procedures.
The best criminal lawyers are the ones who are dedicated to this work for the right reasons. You want someone who believes strongly in your civil rights and will fight to protect them.
Q: How much will a lawyer cost me?
A: Like most criminal defence lawyers, I charge a flat fee rather than an hourly rate. This means that you will know the cost of your case up front. The precise fee will depend on the complexity of the case and on the amount of time it is estimated to take. At the initial consultation, you can sit down with me for free and in nearly every case I will be able to tell you the fee for your case up front.
Q: Will you take Legal Aid?
A: Many experienced criminal lawyers say that they will not take cases on Legal Aid. This sometimes causes inequities in the quality of legal services recieved by people who are disadvantaged. If you qualify for Legal Aid feel free to contact me. If your circumstances are difficult and you need an experienced lawyer who will take your legal aid referral, I will review your file with you and in some cases I will take your file on. If for some reason I cannot take your file on, I will make efforts to find a qualified lawyer to help you.
Q: Do I have to appear in court in person or can my lawyer appear on my behalf?
A: Once you have met with me in person and retained me, I am able to appear on your behalf for most court appearances. There are some obvious exceptions that require you to be present in court, for example a hearing or a trial. If you need to attend the court, I will provide you with ample notice so that you can make the appropriate arrangements with work, school or child care.