Getting charged with a criminal offence is a life-altering event. Even the least serious cases require you to answer and defend the charges in court. They also carry consequences if you’re convicted. So getting the best results possible in your situation is of utmost concern for your future Keep reading
There are many criminal lawyers out there. Finding one of the top criminal lawyers in Toronto to defend you against your specific charges can take some time and effort. Part of the process includes meeting with lawyers you’ve shortlisted to make a final decision.
Preparing yourself for the interviews to ask the right questions is imperative to making the right choice. The tips below can help you do just that.
It’s always a good idea to write out everything related to the charges and your arrest as soon as you can. You will want to give your lawyer as much detail as possible, and writing out the story helps you remember and record details people usually forget. It also organizes your thoughts so you tell your lawyer everything that happened in the proper chronological order. And bring all the documents related to your case with you.
It’s also a good idea to write out all the questions you want to ask.
Write Out All Your Questions
There’s a lot to cover when meeting with lawyers regarding something as serious as criminal charges. You will obviously want to discuss your charges, the lawyer’s success rate with these cases, what the law says about your situation, the Crown’s evidence against you so far, possible defences and your chances for success, to name a few.
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But don’t forget to ask questions about other aspects of the lawyer-client relationship, such as:
The lawyer’s fees, how you will be billed, how often, when payements are due, payment plans etc. If the lawyer gives vague answers to any of these questions, this is a red flag. If their payment system isn’t structured and organized, this is usually an indication that their practice isn’t either.
Who’s Handling Your Case?
Some lawyers use a junior lawyer or law student to handle minor court appearances, filings etc. This is common practice. But there are some lawyers who send less experienced lawyers to argue motions and handle crucial elements of your case to cut corners. Get assurances from the lawyer that they will be handling your case, and that you are getting billed at the junior lawyer’s rate if they or a law student is attending minor appearances and handling paperwork.
It’s important to know that criminal trials take a lot of time to resolve, and for much of that time, there will be nothing to report.
Check out the Law Society of Upper Canada’s guide on meeting with a lawyer or paralegal for a list of more questions you may want to ask.
Last but not Least, Be Honest
It may be embarrassing to tell your lawyer certain details, but your lawyer can’t help you if they don’t have all the facts. Keep in mind that a criminal defence attorney is not judgemental. They’ve seen and heard it all and truly believe everyone deserves the right to a fair trial and the best defence possible.
Lawyers are also bound by a duty of confidentiality. Even ones you don’t hire can not discuss what was said in your meeting.
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