Frequently Asked Question
Generally any criminal, traffic and/or wildlife conviction can be appealed. There are typically very strict timeliness in which to file a notice of appeal and this decision typically must be made very quickly after the conviction is recorded or the sentence is issued.
Yes. This is called ‘Bail Pending Appeal’. Similar to a regular bail hearing prior to trial, there are criteria that the Court will assess in determining whether you are eligible for bail pending appeal. These are prescribed within s. 679 of the Criminal Code and include:
- the appeal or application for leave to appeal is not frivolous;
- the appellant will surrender themselves into custody in accordance with the terms of the order; and
- their detention is not necessary in the public interest.
A strong and experienced defence lawyer will in certain circumstances negotiate a plea to a lesser-included offence under the Traffic Safety Act; saving you from a criminal conviction, criminal record and the associated consequences. In the past we have been able to save clients from criminal prosecution by having these charges amended to careless driving offences under the Traffic Safety Act.
In some cases the filing of a ‘Charter Notice’ from experienced counsel will be sufficient to see your charges either dropped completely or downgraded to a lesser offence. This will depend on the circumstances of the seizure and arrest.
An IRS suspension is in place for 12 months, however you are typically eligible to install the interlock device to your vehicle and start driving 90 days after the offence. There are steps required to re-acquire the legal right to operate a motor vehicle and you should receive advice on those before doing so. IRS suspensions must be appealed within seven days of being issued, so it is imperative that you receive advice from a lawyer quickly to preserve your rights.
The landscape for DUI charges and the defence of same has shifted drastically in recent years with the introduction of IRS suspensions and the SafeRoads program in Alberta. Drunk driving continues to be one of the most litigated areas of Canadian law and there are many technical defences available in almost all situations. Blowing a fail does not mean that you are guilty. We are successful in having suspensions lifted in many cases in which a fail was recorded.
Sexual Assault charges are rarely dropped. Typically, these allegations will require a trial that takes between one and three days. An experienced sexual assault defence lawyer will have a high rate of success in defeating these charges at trial and can advise you as to the best mode of trial.
There are typically both proof and Charter-based defences available when someone is charged with drug possession, particularly when the drugs are not found on the person themselves. This includes arguing that the Prosecutor cannot prove possession (knowledge and control) and that the search that led to the drug being found was invalid or in contravention of your Charter rights protecting you from unreasonable search and seizure.
Theft can include a wide range of conduct, from shoplifting basic necessities to taking valuable commercial items for resale. Often the best defence is a strong negotiation with the prosecutor to either drop or reduce the charges. We have a good amount of success in achieving alternative measures or diversion where this is a first offence.
This will depend on the circumstances of the alleged driving pattern and the evidence available to the Prosecutor. Typically, defences to dangerous driving offences include either a defence on the basis of identity (the Prosecutor cannot prove that you were the one driving), or that the driving pattern did not meet the necessary threshold for a dangerous driving conviction; or a combination thereof.
Not all collisions are the result of dangerous driving. An experienced lawyer will be well-positioned to apply the law to your particular circumstances and to advise you accordingly.
The Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (“CDSA”) makes it an offence to “possess” specified substances. Possession of a drug requires knowledge of the drug and control over it. A person’s knowledge of a drug may be proven by circumstantial evidence. Control is power or authority over the drug, but it is not necessary that the power or control, in fact, be exercised.
Federal Prosecutors are responsible for the prosecution of drug offences in Canada.
An appeal can involve a challenge to either a conviction, a sentence, or both. Depending on the level of court your charges were initially heard in, you may appeal to the superior court (the Court of King’s Bench) or an appeals court such as the Court of Appeal of Alberta. In very rare and limited circumstances a further appeal could be made to the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa.
In an appeal the appellate court reviews what happened at the lower court to ensure the lower court complied with the law and came to a reasonable or correct decision. The standard on which an appeal is decided varies depending on the nature of the appeal.
Sexual Assault charges are one of the more common and more serious charges we deal with. A conviction leads to significant jail time and a sexual offender designation, both of which are life-altering consequences.
Oftentimes charges are laid based on the statement of one person alone, called the Complainant. No other evidence is required to lay charges. We understand that this can be daunting and frustrating, however you do not need to give in. We have a high rate of success in defeating these charges and can assist you with your defence in all aspects.
Being a witness in court is often difficult and overwhelming. If you are under subpoena to appear as a witness you have a lawful obligation to attend, unless you are released by the party who issued the subpoeana. Most commonly, the Crown Prosecutor will be the one issuing subpoenas for witnesses at criminal trials. If you do not attend and are not excused, the presiding judge may issue a warrant for your arrest (called a witness warrant). You could be arrested and may have to explain to a different judge why you failed or refused to attend court.