A prosecution for committing a violent crime carries with it severe penalties—prison, fines, and restitution—and a devastating impact on your reputation, future, and family. Consequently, securing the services of an experienced violent crimes lawyer in Alberta, to take charge of your defence is the first step to protecting your freedom, future, and family.
Chadi & Company is Edmonton’s premier criminal defence law firm, with over 30 years of experience representing Alberta’s residents in all kinds of criminal cases. However, the experience found at Chadi & Company is particularly important to the defence of prosecutions for violent crimes. We bring our reputation for fierce and principled legal representation together with our knowledge of the police, prosecutors, and judges who run the criminal justice system in the Province to help our clients navigate the complex and often frightening process of criminal prosecution.
What Are Violent Crimes?
Violent crimes are defined in Part VIII of the Criminal Code of Canada. Violent crimes involve the use or threat of use of force against a person or property and include:
- Assault: An assault is any act that inflicts physical harm or unwanted touching of another person and can include threats and attempts to cause physical harm or unwanted touching.
- Attempted Murder or Homicide: Attempted or actual murder includes different degrees depending on the kind of force used or contemplated, and the intent of the actor. The highest degree of murder (first degree), involves premeditation (planning and deliberation).
- Kidnapping: Kidnapping involves the taking away of a person against their will either by transporting them or confining them. There may be significant additional consequences if there is a ransom demand or some other condition for release.
- Human Trafficking: Human trafficking is a modern form of slavery and involves the recruitment, transportation, harbouring, and domination over the movements of a person in order to exploit that person through sexual exploitation or forced labour.
- Robbery: Robbery is theft or extortion of property with the use of a weapon or threat of violence. A robbery requires the use of violence in connection with the taking of property. Actual harm need not occur as a result of the use or threat of use of force.
- Sexual Assault: Sexual assault refers to any form of unwanted sexual contact, including sexual assault and sexual harassment. Sexual assault encompasses any unwanted sexual activity—touching, kissing without consent, rape. Sexual harassment includes behaviour and unwanted sexual contact, including jokes, threats, and discriminatory statements about someone’s gender or sexuality.
What should you do if you are charged with a violent crime?
The first thing you should do when charged with a violent crime is to secure the services of an experienced violent crime defence lawyer. Important rights can be waived if you cooperate with police or prosecutors without the help of experienced counsel, so it is crucial that you speak with a lawyer prior to providing the police or prosecution with your version of events. Your side of the story needs to be presented in a systematic and strategic way in order to maintain all of your options and to ensure a fair criminal process. Your freedom and reputation depend upon getting through the criminal prosecution guided by an Edmonton violent crimes lawyer who has a deep understanding of the local courts and procedures, as well as all the relevant players—police, prosecutors, and judges.
Who are the typical victims of violent crimes?
Anyone can be a victim of violent crime whether perpetrated by a stranger, an acquaintance, or once trusted friend, lover, or family member. Most crime is not committed by strangers, a fact that is often concerning. Victims of crime are often the most vulnerable—children, women, and the elderly.
Victims of crime are protected in Canada by the Victims Bill of Rights, which ensures that a victim is provided with services and privacy protection immediately upon reporting; is informed about the proceedings as the investigation and prosecution moves forward; secures a role for the victim in the proceedings, and provides for restitution where applicable.
What should you do if you are the victim of a violent crime?
As the victim of a crime, you are entitled to services and participation in the criminal process under the Victims Bill of Rights. First, you are entitled to having your security and privacy is taken into account by criminal justice personnel so that you and your family are not subjected to further harassment and violence, and that you be protected from intimidation and retaliation. In some instances, the court can prevent the release of your name to preserve your privacy.
In addition to the Bill of Rights, Canada has developed principles of justice for victims of crime that include:
- Victims of crime should be treated with courtesy, compassion, and respect.
- The privacy of victims should be considered and respected to the greatest extent possible.
- All reasonable measures should be taken to minimize inconvenience to victims.
- The safety and security of victims should be considered at all stages of the criminal justice process and appropriate measures should be taken when necessary to protect victims from intimidation and retaliation.
- Information should be provided to victims about the criminal justice system and the victim’s role and opportunities to participate in criminal justice processes.
- Victims should be given information, in accordance with prevailing law, policies, and procedures, about the status of the investigation; the scheduling, progress and final outcome of the proceedings; and the status of the offender in the correctional system.
- Information should be provided to victims about available victim assistance services, other programs and assistance available to them, and means of obtaining financial reparation.
- The views, concerns and representations of victims are an important consideration in criminal justice processes and should be considered in accordance with prevailing law, policies and procedures.
- The needs, concerns and diversity of victims should be considered in the development and delivery of programs and services, and in related education and training.
- Information should be provided to victims about available options to raise their concerns when they believe that these principles have not been followed.
What is the violent crime rate in Alberta?
The Northwest Territories, including Alberta, have the highest crime rate in Canada. In 2020, Alberta had a crime severity index of 107.36, compared with just 95.71 in British Columbia and 71.76 in Nova Scotia. However, the rate of crime changes by category of crime.
For example, Ontario had the highest murder rate in 2020—234 deaths—whereas Alberta only had 139. In 2020, the crime rate in Alberta decreased by 13.01%, probably because of the Covid 19 pandemic. However, the rate of hate crimes directed at Black, East or Southeast Asian, Indigenous, and South Asian populations increased during the first year of the pandemic.
Contact Chadi & Company Today
If you are charged with a violent crime or are a victim of a violent crime in Alberta or in the Edmonton area, contact the lawyers at Chadi & Company immediately. With over 30 years of experience in the criminal justice field, we will treat you with respect and dignity and will defend your rights as a defendant or as a victim. Book a free consultation online or over the phone now to schedule an appointment with one of our lawyers. Call (780) 429-2300 to set up that appointment today.