Criminal Law FAQs
If you’ve been arrested and charged with a crime, your head is probably spinning with questions. You may be understandably apprehensive about the road ahead, and what this may mean for you and your family. Below, we have addressed some of the most commonly asked criminal law questions that we hear from our clients. We also strongly recommend that you contact a qualified defence lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your unique case.
I think I may be under investigation by the police, and I may be arrested soon. What can I expect to happen?
When police investigate a crime, they work diligently to examine all the evidence, interview witnesses, and identify a suspect. Once they have assembled enough evidence against a suspect, an arrest warrant will be issued; then the suspect can be arrested and taken into custody.
If you are arrested and charged with a crime, you will be brought to the police station. You may be questioned by law enforcement officers or detectives. Depending upon the circumstances, you may be released from the police station sometimes with and sometimes without conditions of bail that must be followed or you may be brought to court within 24 hours in order for a Justice of the Peace or judge to decide if you should be released on bail. You will be given a date for your next appearance in court. There will likely be several more court appearances to allow for you to hire a lawyer and to enable the Crown to prepare and then provide you with disclosure (which is all the evidence the police have accumulated against you). There may be preliminary hearings before the actual trial date. An experienced criminal defence lawyer can help you navigate all of the aspects of this process, from representing you at a bail hearing, to advising you about pleading guilty or not guilty, to formulating a strategy for your trial.
Are the police allowed to question me?
Yes. If you are under investigation for or have been charged with criminal activity, law enforcement officers or detectives may question you. You do have the right to remain silent and not say anything that may incriminate you; statements made in these interrogations can come back to haunt you later. You have the right to speak to a lawyer after being arrested and the police are required by law to advise you of not only this right upon your arrest, but as well as your right to remain silent.
What is bail?
Bail is an amount of money pledged/promised to the court in order to ensure that a person who has been arrested and charged will in fact return for their day in court. If you fail to appear in court, then the government may institute legal proceedings against you and the person who signed for your bail in order to recover whatever money was pledged/ promised. In addition, a warrant will be issued for your arrest. Failure to appear means that the full amount can be seized by the court and a warrant will be issued for your arrest. If you are granted release on bail, you may also have to abide by certain conditions (for example, you may have to refrain from contact or communication with certain other people connected with the alleged crime). Failure to appear, skipping bail, or violating the conditions of your release can seriously complicate your criminal case.
How much does a quality legal defence cost?
Lawyers’ fees can vary widely, depending on the lawyer, his experience, the severity of the crime, the complexity of the case, and the time it will take to prepare for the trial. Cost is often an important factor for many people when it comes to hiring a lawyer, but when your reputation and your freedom are on the line, cost should not be the only factor; look for a lawyer with extensive experience handling cases like yours and make sure you feel comfortable with your lawyer. Your priority should be to make sure that you have the best legal advice and defence available.
Since 1996, the law firm of Mitch Engel, Barrister & Solicitor has been providing clients throughout the Oshawa, Brampton, and Mississauga areas with top-level criminal defence services. Mitch Engel devotes his practice solely to criminal defence cases, and handles every matter with passion and professionalism. He has earned a strong reputation in the Ontario legal community, including among Crown prosecutors and judges, as a skilled negotiator, a formidable legal practitioner, and a fierce advocate for his clients. Mitch Engel is one of the most respected and sought-after criminal defence lawyers in the province, and he looks forward to applying his expertise to your case. Call today to get the legal advice you need to reclaim your life.