Below see some of the most frequent legal questions that criminal defence lawyers are asked regarding common charges and defences. If you don’t find your question answered here, contact us and we’ll get you an answer as soon as we can.
Generally speaking, assault refers to the application or threat of force against a person without that person’s consent.
Under the Canadian Criminal Code, there are three types of assault: simple assault (section 266), assault with weapon or causing bodily harm (section 267) and aggravated assault (section 268). A charge of simple assault is the least serious and the most common.
If you are charged and convicted summarily with simple assault, the maximum penalty is six months in jail. On the other end of the scale, if you are charged and convicted by indictment of aggravated assault, you could spend up to 14 years in jail.
Self-defence is a common justification for the use of reasonable physical force. This might include a situation where you incapacitate an intruder in your home.
You may also be able to argue that a fight was “consensual” if both parties were involved and no serious bodily harm was caused.
Even the most common forms of assault are serious crimes. Such convictions can leave a serious black mark on your criminal record and limit future opportunities. You should definitely seek legal counsel if you are being charged with assault, and a good criminal defence lawyer can help fight or reduce these charges. If you are being charged with assault, call Rishi Gill today at 604.899.1436 for a free consultation.
Drug offences in Canada are prosecuted under the Food and Drug Act and the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act sections 4 through 7.
Controlled substances in Canada are organized by schedule. Schedule I substances include opiates (like heroin), cocaine, methamphetamine, other amphetamines (such as MDMA) and several other less-popular drugs. Schedule II substances include large amounts of marijuana and its derivatives. Schedule III covers many psychedelic drugs as well as some pharmaceuticals. Schedule IV drugs include some pharmaceuticals that are legal to possess, but illegal to seek, traffic or export. Further schedules include personal quantities of cannabis and substances that can be used to produce drugs.
Possession charges can be treated as a summary or indictable offence depending on various factors. The exception to this is the possession of a personal amount of marijuana (up to 30 g) or hash (up to 1 g), which is treated as a summary offence and carries a maximum penalty of 6 months in jail or a $1,000 fine. Possession of other substances from schedules I and II carry prison sentences of up to 7 years.
Trafficking, production and cultivation offences are much more serious, and can carry jail terms of up to life in prison.
If you are arrested for a drug crime, no matter how minor, you should seek legal counsel immediately. Good representation can lessen charges. You can even have charges dropped with no criminal record. For more information and a free consultation, contact Rishi Gill at 604.899.1436.
Driving offences are prosecuted under sections 249 to 259 of the Canadian Criminal Code. They range from reckless/impaired driving to vehicular offences that cause death.
First-time offenders caught driving impaired face a minimum $1000 fine. Repeat offenders face progressively harsher penalties.
Any driving offence that causes bodily harm or death is prosecuted as an indictable offense. This means that you could end up doing a life sentence in jail.
Though many people charged with DUIs choose to plead guilty, you should know that there are many ways to fight the charge. Police and their instruments are not perfect, and many factors can cloud judgment or even invalidate results. To best understand your options, contact Rishi Gill at 604.899.1436.
Firearm and weapon offences are charged under sections 84–117 of the Criminal Code of Canada.
Firearms in Canada fall into three classes: non-restricted, restricted, and prohibited. Roughly speaking, non-restricted firearms include rifles, shotguns and air guns with a length of 660mm or greater (these tend to be used in hunting); restricted firearms cover most handguns and AR-15 rifles; and prohibited firearms include all automatic and semi-automatic firearms. One needs a license to purchase and possess restricted firearms. It is not legally possible to acquire new prohibited firearms in Canada, but owners who possessed the weapons before they were prohibited are allowed to keep them.
Simple possession of a restricted firearm can carry a maximum of a 1 year jail term or a $5,000 fine. If there is reason to believe that you had dangerous intentions, or if children or drugs are found nearby, the charges can be much worse.
Trafficking offences carry a minimum of 3 years in jail for a first-offence, to a maximum of 10 years.
Likewise, other offences become significantly more serious if committed with a weapon.
In all cases, you should consult with experienced legal counsel. A criminal defence lawyer can be instrumental in getting charges reduced or dropped. Call Rishi Gill at 604.899.1436 for a no charge consultation today.
Fraud is prosecuted under sections 380 through 396 of the Criminal Code of Canada. Depending on the seriousness of the charges, it can be pursued as a hybrid offence or an indictable offence. Like theft, fraud under $5,000 is treated more leniently than fraud over $5,000.
Your sentence can be increased based on a number of aggravating circumstances. These include significance of the impact, taking advantage of high community regard, and attempts to hide evidence by destroying records.
Charges of fraud under $5,000 prosecuted as summary offences carry a maximum sentence of 6 months or a $5,000 fine. More serious convictions can result in a sentence of up to 10 years in jail.
Fraud charges are serious, and you should consult a legal professional in order to minimize your chances of conviction. For more information and expert representation, contact Rishi Gill today at 604.899.1436.
Murder, along with manslaughter and infanticide, is prosecuted under sections 229 through 240 of the Canadian criminal code.
The penalty for first degree murder is life in prison without possibility of parole for 25 years. If you are found guilty of second degree murder, you could receive a minimum of 10 years in jail, but up to 25 years with no parole.
Murder is a very serious crime, and anyone facing a murder charge should be represented by a legal professional. A lawyer can dispute the charges (as self-defence, for instance), argue for a reduced charge (such as manslaughter) or argue for a reduced sentence. If you are at risk of being charged for murder, call Rishi Gill at 604.899.1436 for a no-charge legal consultation.
Property crimes are prosecuted under various sections of the Criminal Code of Canada, particularly in sections 321 through 366.
The severity of the punishment is based on several factors, including the criminal background of the accused and the value of damaged or stolen items.
Harassment and threats are covered in sections 264 and 264.1 (respectively) of the Criminal Code of Canada.
Those convicted of uttering threats face up to 5 years in jail; those convicted of harassment could get up to 10 years.
Absolutely. Threats and harassment are serious charges, and you have the best chance to fight them if you have expert legal counsel. Contact Rishi Gill at 604.899.1436 to discuss your options.
Sexual offences generally refer to sexual actions undertaken in non-consensual situations as well as voyeurism and harassment. These are serious charges, but they can be defended against.
Sexual offences are generally charged under sections 150 – 162 of the Criminal Code of Canada.
Depending on factors such as victim age and the threat/use of violence, those found guilty of sexual assault can be punished with up to life in prison. Lighter charges, such as voyeurism, carry a sentence of up to 6 months in jail or a $5,000 fine.
Theft charges are prosecuted under sections 322–334 of the criminal code. If you’re caught shoplifting in Canada, you can be charged with the crime of theft. Theft is a property crime that can be applied in any circumstance from shoplifting a chocolate bar to stealing a car or jewellery.
The Canadian courts make a distinction between theft under $5,000, which can result in a maximum penalty of 2 years in prison, and theft over $5,000, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. Less serious offences are charged as summary offences and more serious offences are indictable.
Conditions for bail can vary from crime to crime. All bail conditions include a duty to attend all appropriate court dates. Other conditions could include remaining in a certain area, not contacting certain individuals, and not possessing weapons.
We can help convince the court to let you out on bail with fair conditions. If you are denied bail, we can guide you through the process of a bail review with a higher court. Call Rishi Gill at 604.899.1436 for representation at your bail hearing.
A criminal defence lawyer acts as your partner in the trial and sentencing process. For first-time offenders unfamiliar with the Canadian legal system, this is indispensable and can dramatically reduce the amount of stress you would otherwise encounter navigating the murky waters of Canadian criminal law alone.
Rishi specializes in representing clients having their first contact with the law. He has the expertise and knowledge to see you through the twists and turns of the legal system, as well as answer any questions you have in clear, precise language. Having worked on both sides of the criminal courts; first as a crown attorney and now as criminal defence lawyer, Rishi offers a valuable perspective of the courts and Canadian justice system overall and will work hard to defend you fully.
You still have a chance to work out a more favourable sentence at a sentencing hearing. Typically, at a sentencing hearing, the crown attorney will speak first to go over the offence and its impact, and, from that, argue for a sentence. After that, you or your lawyer will have a chance to suggest and argue for a lighter sentence.
If you have questions about an upcoming sentencing hearing, call Rishi Gill at 604.899.1436. Your initial consultation with Rishi is free and includes a review of your case, possible defences and courses of action. When you call, you will speak to Rishi Gill directly (not a paralegal or assistant), so you can be assured that the counsel you receive will be timely and discrete.
Since a lawyer knows the circumstances that would encourage the court to give you a more lenient sentence, you should certainly seek counsel. A savvy lawyer on your side can mean the difference between a conditional discharge and jail time — and they may be able to get minor offences dropped entirely. Contact Rishi Gill today for a no charge consultation at 604.899.1436.