TORONTO, OTTAWA, CORNWALL & ONTARIO CRIMINAL DEFENCE LAWYER
The Charges We Defend
Dedicated, firm, creative and bilingual defence of Criminal Code, Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, Highway Traffic Act, Customs Act, Excise Act and other offences in the Ontario Court of Justice, Superior Court of Justice, Court of Appeal and Provincial Offences courts throughout Ontario.
Offences committed on or near the Highway 401 corridor and at international border crossings at Cornwall, Ogdensburg, Lansdowne and the Ottawa International Airport are one of the focuses of our defence practice, including impaired driving, dangerous driving, criminal negligence, stunt driving, drug possession/possession for the purpose of trafficking/importing, firearms offences, failing to report goods, liquor and tobacco offences, immigration offences, and seizures of vehicles, goods and money.
We maintain a dedicated criminal & regulatory defence law website where you'll find lots more answers to your questions and details about ways we can help you:
Our Defence Approach and Fees
Dedicated, firm, creative and bilingual sums up our criminal defence client-focussed approach to securing the optimal outcome in every criminal case we're retained on. We have local knowledge of the courts, prosecutors, judges and legal precedent, and are one of few defence firms in Ontario where all our lawyers can defend you in either French or English. We don't charge extra for travel anywhere in Ontario for your criminal and regulatory defence work, and all our fees are flat block fees.
The Results We Can Obtain for You
Ways we can help you avoid jail or large financial penalties, the stigma of a criminal record, and generally sleep better at night include:
advising you on whether you should say anything to the police;
helping you make bail to get out of jail after being arrested on a charge;
getting your seized items back;
appearing court in your place;
obtaining and analysing full disclosure of the case against you;
negotiating with the prosecutor to obtain the optimal outcome for you should you want to resolve your case;
going to trial for you to secure your acquittal;
making sentencing submissions to minimize any sanctions imposed on you, stressing discharges rather than convictions, suspended sentences rather than fines, fines rather that periods in custody, and custodial terms served on weekend or at home in the community rather than straight time in jail;
taking your case before an appeal court like the Ontario Court of Justice (for provincial offences appeals) Ontario Superior Court of Justice (for summary conviction appeals), Ontario Court of Appeal (for indictable appeals), or Supreme Court of Canada (for appeals from a province's highest appellate court) if you're unsatisfied with a trial or appeal outcome.
Criminal Appeal Lawyer
You've Almost Always Got an Appeal Route for a Criminal Conviction
Because of the importance governments place on avoiding miscarriages of criminal justice, regardless of what level of court you've been convicted by you'll almost always have an appeal route to some kind of appellate court.
Seeking Bail Pending Appeal Requires Significant Advance Preparation
The best tactic for ensuring you don't needlessly serve time in prison for a trial result that could be successfully appealed is to retain an appeals lawyer to start putting together a bail pending appeal application prior to any sentence being imposed. You'll usually (but not always) have some time between a conviction and sentencing to do this. Advance preparation means the bail pending appeal application can be filed immediately upon any jail time being imposed, and you might only spend a few days (at most) rather than a few weeks in jail while an appellate court considers if bail can be granted pending hearing of the appeal.
Contested appeal bail pending appeal hearings are entirely winnable, but require a strong release plan, including affidavits from sureties, detailed explanations of proposed living and working arrangements, and possibly a significant cash deposit with the court, as the presumption of innocence no longer applies after conviction. Thus the earlier this appeal bail hearing preparation starts prior to trial sentencing, the earlier you might be released from custody.
The Conviction Appeal Process
A conviction appeal involves striking at the heart of the trial court's findings of law and fact which led to a conviction. We'll meticulously comb through the trial record, including every word uttered in the trial transcripts and every page of exhibits, to identify appealable weaknesses from the trial. Examples of trial errors that may be appealable by way of a conviction appeal include:
evidence improperly admitted at trial like statements or physical evidence;
truly incredible testimony that was incorrectly found at trial to be credible;
search warrant or wiretap authorizations that should have been struck down as illegal at trial;
improper trial judge instructions to a jury;
violations of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms that were brushed aside at trial;
a trial judge misapprehending the evidence or misconstruing the legal elements of the offence.
The Sentence Appeal Process
A sentence appeal can proceed in conjunction with a conviction appeal, or independently where success on challenging conviction is unlikely because of overwhelming evidence, but the sentence imposed was harsh, excessive, and outside the range of permissible sanctions. A stand alone sentence appeal may require "leave" to appeal.
Criminal sentencing is all about being appropriately within "the range" for both the offence and offender in similar cases. If a sentence lands outside of the range - too many days or months or years imprisonment, too high of a fine, inappropriate restitution or forfeiture orders, refusal to consider a discharge or suspended sentence or a conditional sentence, ignoring relevant personal factors like Indigenous status - you may have a successful appeal. A sentence appeal can make the difference between years needlessly spent in jail or tens of thousands of dollars in excessive fines or forfeiture and a "just" sentence.
The Criminal and Regulatory Defence Lawyers
Gordon Campbell, the firm's senior barrister and managing lawyer, is author of three criminal law books and editor of a Carswell newsletter on regulatory offences, served as a Federal Crown Prosecutor, Assistant Crown Attorney, provincial offences prosecutor and legal advisor to the Ontario Provincial Police, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Military Police Complaints Commission and municipal police services on investigations, statement taking, search and seizure, and charge drafting. He now advocates for private clients charged with serious federal and provincial offences at trial and on appeal up to the level of the Supreme Court of Canada.
William G. Stephenson is very able in his defence of clients in both French and English.
The Dedicated Criminal & Regulatory Defence Website
At www.defenceeast.com you'll find more detailed information about the firm's criminal and regulatory defence services, the process and philosophy of a successful defence, and about Eastern Ontario and Toronto courthouses, jails and border crossings - including why you might need to go to more than one courthouse on different days for similar charges.