A lot of people are uncertain about what will happen if they call a lawyer to discuss a criminal charge they are facing. They are uncertain about the procedure and the cost. Set out below in general terms is what you can expect to happen if you have been charged and call one of the lawyers in the McDougall Gauley Defence Group.
The first thing we will do is confirm that we do not have a conflict. What this means is that we want to ensure that we are not already representing someone else who is involved in the matter. So for example if you have been charged with an assault, we will ask you for the name of the person you are alleged to have assaulted and then confirm that we do not represent that person. Once we’ve determined that there is no conflict, which generally can be done within 24 hours, we will obtain a brief overview from you of the charge. We will then advise you of what we suggest be done and what the initial retainer is that we require in order to move forward.
If you agree and would like us to assist, we will then set up a time to meet with you (during Covid-19 that meeting might be by phone or video conference). We will meet with you and discuss the facts and circumstances surrounding the charge against you.
Secondly, we will contact the Crown Prosecutor’s Office and request disclosure. Disclosure consists of the police reports, witness statements and evidence gathered by the police concerning your particular charge. This is forwarded to the Crown and the Crown will in turn forward the material to us. We are prohibited from copying or distributing the material, but we can meet with you to review it together and obtain your comments.
Next, if there are any witnesses who can provide relevant information about what happened, we will want to speak to them if possible. We will arrange further investigations into the circumstances of the charge where appropriate.
We may not have received all of the disclosure and had an opportunity to review it before your first Court appearance. Generally, we can appear on your behalf and adjourn the matter without the necessity of you having to attend Court personally.
Finally, once our review of the file has been completed we will give you our opinion as to your options which could include possible defences to the charge, resolution options including referring the matter to mediation (RAMP) and the possibility of entering a guilty plea to the charge you are facing or some lesser charge. We will also explain to you the anticipated cost of proceeding with any of the options available that we outline for you. You can then make an informed decision as to how you wish to proceed.
Aaron A. Fox, Q.C.
McDougall Gauley LLP Defence Group
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