Lawyers sometimes claim expertise in both civil and criminal law. However, if you are under investigation or being prosecuted for a criminal offence, only an experienced criminal defence lawyer can fully protect your interests.
Why? Because criminal defence attorneys know the players—police, prosecutors, judges; understand police investigatory procedures, what they should do and what they actually do; know how to tell your story in a convincing fashion that raises reasonable doubt; comprehend the precise law and any defences, and can negotiate with prosecutors and the court to secure the best disposition for their clients.
But even before you hire a criminal defence lawyer, remember these two absolute rules:
- Do not speak to the police other than to give them identifying information, such as your name, date of birth, and address. Be polite and cooperative, but it is your legal right to inform the police that you wish to remain silent until you have spoken with a lawyer. Anything you say can be used against you in court, so don’t say anything you don’t have to say.
- Contact a skilled Edmonton criminal defence lawyer immediately. Before you make another move or speak another word, consult with a lawyer. Most people are unaware of their legal rights in these situations, and even if you do know your rights, it’s easy to become emotional, reactive, and confused when enduring the stressful experience of an arrest. Your lawyer can ensure that your rights and best interests are protected throughout the entire process.
What Does a Criminal Defence Lawyer Do?
A seasoned Edmonton criminal defence lawyer knows the stages of criminal prosecution and can guide you through each, protecting your rights and assuring that the police and prosecution are acting within their limited authority. They know the charges and what elements must be proven by the prosecution. They also know all the possible defences to any charge.
Most importantly, they can advance a defence based on the evidence that creates the reasonable doubt necessary to convince a prosecutor, court, or jury that you are not guilty of the charges. And lastly, even if convicted, experienced criminal counsel can negotiate alternative sentencing, decreased charges, expunging a criminal record, and other ways to mitigate penalties. Criminal law is intricate and complex, and only experienced counsel can thoroughly represent your interests.
Reasons to Hire a Criminal Defence Lawyer
Criminal law is complex, layered and constantly changing as judicial decisions interpret criminal statutes and how the law is applied to the specific facts of any case. Therefore, hiring criminal defence lawyers rather than representing yourself makes sense. Here are some things to consider when interviewing prospective Edmonton criminal defence lawyers:
- Don’t expect any promises. Be wary of attorneys who make promises about the release on bail, dismissing charges, winning trials, and avoiding prison sentences. No one can predict how a criminal case will run its course, because of the complexity of the criminal justice system. Here are the steps a prospective attorney will take in your defence:
- Initiate an independent investigation to ensure police thoroughness and conformance to established procedures
- Gather evidence and witness statements to strengthen your case and weaken the prosecution’s
- File motions to access evidence or exclude it depending on police conduct
- Negotiate a reduction in charges
- Obtain a pre-trial resolution if you qualify for the Alternative Measures Program
- Draft recommendations for sentencing mediation.
- Talk money. Lawyers require retainers, a fancy word for fees, to represent clients. The terms of the retainer and the services to be provided for those fees should be clearly described to you so that you fully understand what to expect and how much your defence will cost. Most criminal defence attorneys want their fees upfront, prior to making an official appearance in court on your behalf. Be prepared to act quickly to secure the funding needed to move ahead with representation.
- Your lawyer isn’t a therapist but should be accessible. Lawyers are not trained psychologists, but they should be sympathetic to the stresses you are feeling. Lawyers or a member of their staff should be available to you by phone or email, keeping you informed about the progress of the case and your defences.
- Tell the whole story to your lawyer. Lawyers cannot represent clients who withhold information. You might not understand the relevancy of some incidental fact or see it the same way an experienced attorney might. Answer the questions your attorney asks fully. Lawyers ask questions because they want to know the legally relevant facts so that they can properly defend your interests and advocate on your behalf.
- You might not go to trial. About 90% of criminal cases are resolved pre-trial. Skilled criminal defence lawyers can negotiate with prosecutors at various stages of a case as evidence is revealed, witnesses are identified and deposed (and their credibility judged), and the strength of the prosecutor’s case assessed. A defendant might submit a plea to a lesser charge to avoid a trial and to accept a lighter sentence.
Types of Criminal Cases Chadi & Company Handle
Our experienced Edmonton criminal defence lawyers have years of collective knowledge on how to effectively defend a full array of criminal charges.
Contact Chadi & Company Today
If you have been charged with any type of criminal offence, the skilled legal team at Chadi & Company can help. We have been protecting the rights of individuals charged with crimes in Alberta for 30 years, and we understand how stressful and terrifying it can be to face criminal charges.
Our experienced, knowledgeable, tenacious defence lawyers will fight aggressively and tirelessly to position you for the best possible outcome. It is our goal to protect your rights, reputation, and freedom so that you can move on with your life. Contact us at (780) 429-2300 or online today for a free consultation.