When people think of criminal offences, in most cases they will picture a fancy courtroom, a cold-hearted criminal, a group of lawyers representing each party with all of their passion and expertise, and dozens of people watching. Reality, on the other hand, is not always like this. Although there are criminal cases that get very close to the theatrical representations, the majority of those are much simpler than that. So simple, in fact, that some are categorise as “minor criminal offences”.
As contradictory as it may sound, however, even the smallest offence can still be as dramatic and inflict as much stress on you as a huge conviction. It is important to not let yourself be trick by such a title, because when it gets personal and it is you or a family member that is going through court procedures to clear their name, nothing seems “minor”.
This conflict is also very likely to pose the question: should I hire an attorney? Is it worth it? The answers, as you may find out, are all in favour of hiring a good criminal lawyer.
What is a Minor Criminal Offenses
To be able to take an informed decision, first it is necessary to get familiarise with what constitutes a minor offence in Calgary. Instead of using terms like minor and major, Canada identifies two types of crimes: Summary and Indictable offences. Here, we are addressing the first kind.
Many things can be classified as summary offences, but most usually trespassing, disturbance, petty theft and transit violations. What all of those have in common is that the punishments for them are usually less than $5,000 in fines and a maximum of two years of imprisonment.
If you are suspect of having commit any of those summary offences, the Crown has a limit of one year to press charges. If that period passes, you are free to live your life unbother, as the offence cannot be prosecute anymore.
Another noticeable difference between summary and indictable offences is that the minor ones have the possibility of switching jail time or fines for other kinds of convictions, such as community services or a simple apology. This possibility is going to depend on each case, but it is also a valuable information to have.
In general, an accusation of a summary offence is not something that should keep you awake at night, but to make sure you will not be too affect by it, finding good criminal lawyers in Calgary is the best decision you can make.
What Can a Lawyer do For You
When you contact a criminal lawyer for the first time, you do not need to sign a contract right away. You can pay for a consultation to hear the professional opinion of someone who has the expertise to deal with your case properly. Sometimes, such as in the case of lesser traffic violations, a lawyer can just guide you through what to expect the Court to be like and how the trial should take place – and, from there, you can decide if you wish them to accompany you or if you are comfortable to do everything by yourself. In any case, seeking legal advice as soon as possible is a smart decision, as it will buy you time to truly evaluate your situation before it is too late.
Should you choose to hire a lawyer, they will be able to take the stand for you and defend your best interests. For summary offences, a legal representative can even attend Court in your place if you are not available or simply do not want to go.
Guarantee Your Rights
The worst thing that can happen when you are in court for a summary offence is to have your rights violated by authorities. The chances of such a thing happening increase if you are part of a visible minority, and so it is essential to stay alert for signs of disrespect and abuse. Having a lawyer by your side is an extra layer of protection, as they will be able to identify misconducts and malicious intentions by the other parties or Court.
For example, they can identify that a conviction of five years in jail does not align with summary offences, and instead of accepting it, they can fight further for you. Even if the source of the violation of your rights is a mere mistake, it is best to be well represent by a trustworthy criminal lawyer. Not only, but they will also be better prepare to guarantee you clean records after three years of an eventual conviction.
Negotiate on Your Behalf
In provincial courts dealing with criminal offences, the number one job of the criminal lawyer is to negotiate the best outcome possible for you. As exposed above, some minor crimes allow for alternative punishments other than jail time or fines, called diversion programs. Only your lawyer will be able to comfortably advocate for you before a judge, and so they are your most vital resource during trial. You can even find yourself not having a record at all after your expert criminal lawyer steps in.
So, Should You Hire a Lawyer?
To put it simply, now that you are more familiarised with criminal offences, the answer to this question is a strong yes. Not only will you achieve peace of mind by not being alone in court, but you also increase your chances of having a lesser penalty with a lawyer by your side. Also, the best Calgary Criminal Lawyer are most likely not charging you an absurd fee for their services, so you can also be at ease that you are paying a fair compensation for excellent guidance. There are no downsides to being well accompanied in any court, even regarding summary offences.