My case is not in Toronto. Which courts do you service?
While we primarily serve clients in the Greater Toronto Area, we represent clients all across Ontario. Our lawyers have litigated cases in the Ontario Courts of Justice and Superior Courts of Justice in the following jurisdictions: Toronto, Brampton, Oshawa, Barrie, Orillia, Newmarket, Bradford, Milton, Collingwood, Burlington, Halton, London, Hamilton, Coburg, Kingston, Brockville, Bellville, Kitchener, Guelph, Orangeville, Oakville, Ottawa and Kirkland Lake, Simcoe, Owen Sound, Bracebridge, Timmins, Sudbury. We can travel and appear in any court in Ontario.
I don’t see my charges listed above. What other types of cases to you take?
We defend clients facing any and all types of criminal or regulatory charges. Most of these charges arise in the Criminal Code of Canada, the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Cannabis Act the Income Tax Act, and the Highway Traffic Act. Our most frequent cases include: murder, white collar crime, drug possession and trafficking, impaired driving (DUI), vehicular death, large-scale fraud, credit card fraud, insurance fraud, robbery, theft, extortion, assaults, criminal harassment, indecent exposure, sexual interference, sexual assault, child abuse, domestic violence, uttering threats, firearms possession or use, weapons offences, fail to appear, breach of recognizance, bail hearings, and peace bond applications. We also act for young offenders in the youth court of the Ontario Court of Justice charged under the Youth Criminal Justice Act. We also have experience acting for clients in various provincial and tribunal regulatory matters, including professional discipline proceedings and the full range of provincial offences, including careless driving, fail to remain, driving with suspended license or without insurance.
How are you different from other defence lawyers?
We are hands on. We work hard to resolve cases without a trial or a guilty plea. In a significant number of our cases we get the charges withdrawn. We work very closely with our clients right from the beginning to support them and gather information and evidence we need. We then advocate powerfully for our clients with the police, Crown Attorneys and judges. When cases go to trial, we leave no stone unturned. We prepare relentlessly, we bring in experts when necessary, and we offer our clients the utmost in professional advocacy. We are with our clients every step of the way.
Can I afford your services?
We know that our clients are concerned about the cost of litigation. Our firm policy is that we only discuss fees in person. No two cases are the same. Engaging in a frank and open discussion about financial matters is the best approach. Lawyers at RSJLAW have different levels of experience and charge different hourly fees accordingly. We use junior lawyers, students or paralegals to keep the costs down. It is important that we have a full consultation with you first, to better assess your case and work out a viable fee structure.
Do I really need to hire a lawyer?
Yes. If you are facing a criminal or regulatory offence, you should hire a lawyer as soon as possible. Lawyers are specially trained in the laws of evidence and trial procedure. They know what to look for, how to defend a case, what evidence is admissible, and how to prepare a client to testify. Hiring a lawyer will significantly increase your chances of success in your matter. Even if you are innocent, you can still be convicted of the charge if you do not present your defence properly. Call our office as soon as possible so that we can discuss your case with you.
I have not been charged yet, but the police want to speak to me?
Call us right away! It is most important that we speak to you before you go to the police.
This is a crucial time period in your case and we will immediately call the police to find out why they want to speak to you. If you are about to be arrested, it is important that you understand your rights, including how to exercise your right to remain silent before you go to the police. We are able to negotiate a proper surrender with the police. Often times we will be able to arrange for your release directly from the police station. If the police detain you until you are brought to bail court, we can quickly mobilize our team to assist in lining up sureties and a plan in order to argue for your release.
Will I have to answer any questions by the police?
You have the right to remain silent and the right not to incriminate yourself. That means that you NEVER have to answer any questions posed by the police about the allegations against you. Clients often feel pressured to answer the questions because they think that it will make them look guilty if they do not speak up. In fact, a court cannot look negatively or comment on the fact that a person did not answer the questions posed to them. Answering questions without knowing all of the evidence against you can lead to misunderstandings or inadvertent mistakes in your answers that might make it seem like you are lying or trying to mislead the police when you are not. Worse, your answers might be taken as an indication of guilt. It’s vital that you speak to a lawyer first.
Can you help someone who is in jail?
Of course. As soon as we are retained, we arrange to visit our clients in jails all across the province. If the client hasn’t had a bail hearing, we work hard to secure their release.
What about getting someone bail?
We strongly believe in our client’s right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty and to be granted reasonable bail if the circumstances allow for it. It is essential to get our clients bail when possible to best prepare their case. We have done hundreds of successful bail hearings. We prepare proposed sureties to testify in court and work out detailed plans of release. Once our clients are out on bail, we work with them to ensure there are no problems and amend the bail as needed when things improve.
I am a victim in a sexual assault case. Can you help me?
Yes. We are well known for our work assisting complainants who require independent legal advice, trial preparation and guidance as the case moves through the criminal justice system. We draw on our experience defending these types of cases to provide us with a unique perspective. We understand how difficult these cases are, and will approach your matter with respect and understanding to provide you with all the information that you need. Two of our lawyers are on the government roster for the Independent Legal Advice for Survivors of Sexual Assault Pilot Program, and provides funding for up to four hours of consultation and information about your case for clients who qualify. You may click on the link above to apply for funding, or contact us for more information.
Complainants may be surprised to learn that the Crown Attorney and the police are not allowed to give any independent legal advice or guarantee of confidentiality, and will not be able to spend a significant of time preparing the witness to testify in court. We can provide an outlet for any witness to discuss the case in a confidential manner and can provide the extra assistance the client needs to feel prepared to testify in court. We also liaise with the police, other counsel or with the Crown Attorney to ensure that our client’s interests are being taken into account.
At times, our clients are served by the accused person with applications to access their private medical or therapeutic records. We are experienced in representing complainants on these types of “third party records” applications, and can represent clients in court at the hearings to argue that their privacy interests should be taken into account by the court. Please contact our office for a consult, as the the costs of these services may be covered by the Ministry of the Attorney General.
I am a victim of domestic violence. Can you help me?
Yes. We work with many victims of domestic violence. This is hands-on and very important work. Sometimes the victim wants to reconcile with the accused after a period of assisted counselling. At other times the victim wants no further contact and has serious safety concerns. We work with the police, the Crown Attorney, Victim Assistance Workers, and defence counsel to assist our clients with issues that arise, such as: personal counselling, marriage counselling, protection of children, dealing with bail conditions, making a safety plan, working out pick-ups and drop-off with the children and preparing to testify in court.
What if I am aboriginal or have native Canadian ancestry?
The Criminal Code mandates that the court must take all reasonable alternatives to imprisonment for all offenders, with particular attention to the circumstances of Aboriginal offenders. In the 1999 case of R. v. Gladue the Supreme Court of Canada took judicial notice that aboriginal people had a long standing disadvantage in Canadian society with effects that had been felt for generations. As a result, the court must place a higher emphasis on non-custodial sentencing options when faced with an offender of aboriginal descent. This may include restorative justice options that include the victim and the offender’s community in the sentencing process. If you are of aboriginal descent, please inform us so that we may gather the historical information about your ancestry that may assist your case.