DO I REALLY NEED A LAWYER?
Many people go through their whole lives without ever having to engage the services of a lawyer. As difficult as the police are to deal with, the thought of dealing with lawyers can seem just as intimidating. Worry about cost and expense is common, and many people think and hope that they may be better off handling it on their own. In some cases, police officers leave Clients with the same impression – that what has happened is not the end of the world and is not such a big deal.
Criminal allegations are always serious, and they can be life-changing if not handled properly. A criminal record is like a brand on livestock. With recent changes brought in by the federal government, the pardon has been abolished. It has been replaced by a much weaker regime called “record suspension” that is harder to obtain and for which people now must wait much longer before they can even apply.
Criminal records can prevent travel into many countries around the world. Most Canadians cherish the ability to enter the United States with relative ease – whether it is to pursue education, employment or just to enjoy shopping, climate and interesting places to visit. A criminal record can prevent a number of employment and career opportunities as well. Finally, a criminal record is something most people just simply do not want.
In more serious cases, the potential consequences go beyond just the threat of acquiring a criminal record. A criminal conviction may mean time in jail or even a federal pentitentiary. A criminal conviction may trigger the taking and keeping of not only fingerprints and photographs, but also DNA. In sexual assault cases the a criminal conviction may require registration on the National Sex Offender Registry and can lead to many years of ineligibility to do simple things, like going to public parks, pools and other places where children can be found.
In short, criminal allegations are tremendously serious and must be taken seriously. The criminal law is also a technical one. Although its ultimate goal is to do justice by finding the truth, the rules as to how evidence is collected and then presented have been developed over centuries of practice. Identifying the winning issue and then the winning strategy is essential to the goal of winning the case. Because everything is on the line, it is critical to get the best help possible.