Public fascination with crime and criminals is at an all time high. News stories abound and now TV shows and podcasts have joined in, often diving deeply into long forgotten crimes in an effort to expose the “truth” about what happened. True crime is entertaining, but it’s no fun if it happens to you. The truth is, no one wants or expects to be arrested or charged with a crime in Ontario. If it happens to you, choosing legal representation is the most important decision you will make. Whether you’ve watched Netflix’s “Making a Murderer” or listened the podcast “Serial”, you know that choosing the best lawyer can make the difference between achieving justice and going to jail. You may be wondering, “what are my options?” You may be thinking, “I can’t afford a lawyer”. The information you need will depend on the situation you are in.
If you are arrested, the police must give you the opportunity to phone a lawyer. Legal Aid provides duty counsel lawyers who can take your call. Alternatively, you can call the 24 hour Lockyer Campbell Posner arrest line, at 4168472563, to receive free legal advice about your rights. Our lawyers are knowledgeable about all areas of criminal law and someone is always available to take your call.
If you have been charged with a crime but are not in custody, it is a good idea to find legal representation as soon as possible. You may want to contact the Law Society Referral Service
either online or by calling the LSRS phone number between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Alternatively, you can contact Lockyer Campbell Posner by calling our legal line at 416-847-2560 or by using our online consultation request form 24 hours a day. We are happy to arrange free initial consultations so that you can discuss your case with a lawyer (caseworker) who will help you understand your options. We will also help you decide the best way to pay for legal representation. Lockyer Campbell Posner accepts Legal Aid certificates and offers the option of flat-fee cases.
If you need help with a civil matter, Pro Bono Ontario has a free legal advice hotline. They cannot assist with criminal matters.
If you or a family member has been arrested or charged with a crime in Ontario it is important to find a good lawyer right away. Don’t wait until your case is the subject of a TV special.
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Q: What to do if the police are looking for you: With Reasonable Doubt
A: As a criminal defence lawyer, I am often contacted by people before they have been arrested with a criminal offence. The events that occur between the time when an offence is alleged to have occurred and an accused person appearing before the court for the first time are looked at very carefully when a case is examined down the road. Below is a short form guide to help you make the right decisions.
1. DON’T TALK TO POLICE
2. GET A LAWYER
3. PREPARE FOR YOUR RELEASE
4. ACT QUICKLY
A word of caution: You should not act or rely on the information provided in this column. It is not legal advice. To ensure your interests are protected, retain or formally seek advice from a lawyer. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Lockyer Campbell Posner or the lawyers of Lockyer Campbell Posner.
An arrest warrant gives the police the legal power to arrest an individual. This doesn’t mean
that the police require a warrant to conduct an arrest. Section 495 of the criminal code grants
the police the power to arrest someone when:
- they have reasonable grounds to believe the person has committed or is about to
commit an indictable offence;
- they are committing a criminal offence;
- or when they have reasonable grounds to believe that there is a warrant for that
Although it isn’t necessary for the police to serve an arrest warrant on a suspect, people will
often ask what an arrest warrant looks like. It must include:
- either the name of the suspect or provide their description;
- the offence they’re charged with;
- and an order that the person be arrested and brought before the court.
An arrest warrant gives the power to any police officer who has knowledge of the warrant to
arrest the person named in the warrant. A common example of this is where a police officer
has detained someone in relation to another offence and, in the course of the investigation, she
or he discovers the existence of the warrant. If the officer is satisfied that the warrant applies
to the person under detention, they then have lawful authority to make an arrest.
Most warrants are only valid within the province where they have been obtained and many of
those warrants will have restrictions setting out a kilometer radius. It is also possible to obtain
an arrest warrant applies across Canada. Obtaining such a warrant is more onerous for the
police, who must apply for it in the Superior Court of Justice or the Court of Appeal.
If you become aware of a warrant for your arrest, contact our office to assist you. Please also
refer to my article, “What to do if the police are looking for you” published in NOW Magazine.
Example from Ontario, Canada, of what a arrest warrant looks like.
by Eva Taché-Green
A quick glance at the changing skyline of Toronto says a lot about the increasing popularity of condominiums. Condo living means cutting back on square footage and swapping big backyards for sweeping views and access to amenities. But according to recent case law in Ontario, it also means giving up our right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure by the police.
by Alexander Ostroff
Last week, in California, a judge was removed from office after voters elected to recall him in the aftermath of a high profile sexual assault trial.1. In that trial, the accused was convicted and the judge imposed a sentence that fell within the lawful exercise of his discretion, but there was widespread public opinion that the sentence was overly lenient. Shortly after the trial, California law was changed to increase the mandatory minimum sentence for that charge. After members of the public filed complaints, an independent state agency in California with the power to discipline and remove judges from office conducted an investigation and released a report, in which they did not find that there had been judicial misconduct. However, in California, trial judges are elected, and can be removed from office as the result of a public recall vote. The impact of this highly-visible and unpopular decision affected the public enough for a successful electoral campaign to have the judge removed before the end of his term. This case raises interesting questions about judicial accountability and judicial independence and is an interesting contrast to the different balance that is struck between these important values in the Canadian legal system.
by Gabriel Gross-Stein
On November 29, 2012, Raveesh Kumar was killed during the robbery of his California home. He was tied up and gagged by the robbers, and suffocated because the duct tape covered his nose and mouth. Three weeks later, Lukis Anderson was charged with the murder. His DNA had been found underneath Kumar’s fingernails.
by Catriona Verner
On January 4, 2005 Sonia Gaudet was strangled and her body was set on fire in her own apartment. Michael Kassa, a platonic friend of Sonia’s, was charged with her murder a year and a half after the offence and, based on what has since been shown to be flimsy evidence, he was convicted. This is the history of his case.
by Richard Posner
A police officer who reasonably suspects that a person is operating a motor vehicle with alcohol in his or her body may, by demand made forthwith, require that person to provide a suitable sample of breath into an approved screening device, known as an “ASD”. These devices are approved by Parliament and are the subject of important guidelines established by Ontario’s Centre of Forensic Sciences and the Alcohol Test Committee (see: https://www.csfs.ca/what-we-do/csfs-committees/atc-alcohol-test-committee/). With proper training and experience, the ASD is a relatively simple device to use, and its results are generally reliable.
by Richard Posner
Operating a motor vehicle while your ability is impaired by alcohol is a serious criminal offence in Canada. Equally serious is the related offence of operating a motor vehicle with more than 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 milliliters of your blood. So too is the offence of failing or refusing to provide a breath sample at the roadside or at the police station. Each of these offences are informally but frequently referred to as “DUI charges”.