Hiring a defense lawyer is often essential, whether the charges are criminal or civil. While many people hire a defense lawyer and assume that everything will automatically be easily resolved, that just isn't the case sometimes. Some defense lawyers may just do the bare minimum, which can leave the client in a tough spot - maybe even in jail. If a defense isn't done properly from start to finish, there is a high chance of conviction. The best way to avoid this is to hire a defense lawyer who can do three essential things. Keep reading to find out what those are.
Realistic Evaluation of the Charges
Many criminal charges in Canada can result in jail time. Because there is so much at stake, the first thing that a defense lawyer needs to do is a realistic evaluation of the charges. It might sound great when a lawyer promises you that you'll beat the charges beyond doubt, but that isn't always reality. Every charge can be different, and the specific circumstances surrounding the charge can be what makes the difference between jail time and freedom. A good lawyer recognizes this and evaluates the charges accordingly.
Some of the most common criminal and civil charges in Canada include:
- Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs
- Breaking and Entering
- Probation Infractions
The attorney needs to evaluate not only the severity of the charge, but also any details specific to the case to determine how a defense will be mounted. For example, a second DUI offense must be pursued in a different way than a first. If the second offense occurs within 10 years of the first offense, a conviction will result in an automatic 30 day jail sentence.
In the example above, the defense attorney may prefer to approach the charges as a negotiation to get the jail sentence reduced since obtaining an innocent verdict may be unlikely. A good defense lawyer will always evaluate the charges with unflinching honesty because this gives the client the best chance at a good outcome.
Finding Ways to Prove Innocence
If the client maintains that they are completely innocent of the charges, the defense attorney will look for evidence to back that claim up. This will involve several different things, including:
- Obtaining a Copy of the Police Report to Search for Proof of Innocence
- Identifying Witnesses and Securing Their Statements Regarding Client Innocence
- Obtaining Physical Proof of Innocence: This includes things like blood tests in drug cases, or video of the incident in assault cases.
- Identifying and Securing Character Witnesses for the Client
To prove innocence, the client will need to work closely with the lawyer to help them gather all the information needed. While it can be difficult to beat criminal or civil charges, it is absolutely possible when a good defense lawyer is on the case.
A defense lawyer should be an experienced negotiator who can work out a good plea bargain for their client. Plea bargains are regularly a big part of criminal and civil cases. Defendants are often willing to make a deal in exchange for elimination or reduction of jail time. Skilled negotiation can even get penalties and fines reduced or eliminated.
If a client is facing automatic jail time for a drug related offense, it is possible that the defense lawyer can work out a plea bargain that would keep the client out of jail completely. In a case like this, the person facing the charges would typically be required to attend a drug rehabilitation program in exchange for the elimination of jail time. While most people would prefer to be completely cleared of charges, plea bargaining is an important tool for those times when a conviction appears inevitable.
For more information, contact Wise Scheible Barkauskas or a similar firm.