The Importance of Honesty
If you have been charged with a criminal offence in Ontario, one of the most important things you can do to help your case is to hire a good criminal defence lawyer to represent you. It can be difficult to know where to start to find a good lawyer and it can also be overwhelming. Many accused people don’t know what to look for or what questions to ask. This article will try to help you know how to choose a good criminal defence lawyer by explaining the important of honesty. Later articles will look at some more important factors to consider when choosing an Ontario criminal lawyer. You can also download our free book on this subject here.
The most important characteristic of a good criminal defence lawyer is honesty. It is crucial that you find a lawyer that you can trust and that you feel comfortable speaking with. There are two particular areas where you want to feel that your lawyer is being honest. The first is that your lawyer is honest about the potential outcomes of your case. Criminal defence lawyers cannot predict the outcome of any given case but they can show you how they think the case may proceed and develop the best strategy possible.
While it may sound great to hear a lawyer guarantee that they will win your case, you should be very sceptical of such promises. If a lawyer tells you how easy it will be to win your case you should probably not trust them. Good criminal defence lawyers will explain to you the potential outcomes of your case. If your lawyer is optimistic or confident about your case, that is a good thing because you want them to work toward the best outcome for you. A good lawyer will explain to you their strategies for successfully defending you but they will also lay out what might happen if things don’t go the way you plan. Make sure that your lawyer gives you an honest assessment of your case and the potential outcomes.
The second area where you want to make sure your lawyer is being honest is regarding legal fees. The last thing you want to find out at the end of your case is that you have a surprise bill to pay for the legal services you received. You can assess the honest level of a particular lawyer by looking at the way they charge their clients. It is best to work with a lawyer who uses a retainer system. This system is the most honest arrangement between a lawyer and their client and they allow you to also plan ahead. A good criminal defence lawyer should be upfront about their legal fees and should be able to give you an estimate of what their services will cost.
Lastly some important questions to ask your lawyer include:
1. What is the worst/best case scenario?
2. What challenges do you see in my case?
3. When do I have to pay legal fees?
4. What are my options and what are the risks and benefits of each option?
If you are facing criminal charges, contact the criminal defence lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth and you can be confident that you will receive honest legal representation.
One of the most important factors you want to consider when looking to hire an Ontario criminal defence lawyer is their experience. You want to work with a lawyer who has several years of experience dealing with a variety of criminal cases, including those similar to yours. A lawyer who has at least ten years of experience has learned a lot about handling criminal cases, going to trial, dealing with prosecutors, juries and judges. Their experience will help them to represent you in the best way possible. For more information on making the best decision when you hire a lawyer, download our book here.
There are several areas in which you want your criminal defence lawyer to have experience. Firstly, you should look for a lawyer who specializes in criminal law. Many lawyers practice a number of different kinds of law but it is in your best interest to hire a lawyer who deals exclusively with criminal cases. A generalist lawyer (one who practices a variety of kinds of law) may not know as much about handling criminal cases like yours and they likely do not have as much experience dealing with the criminal justice system as a lawyer who deals only with criminal law. Since Ontario criminal law is always changing and evolving you want a lawyer who is always current and knows the law well. Also, legislation such as the Criminal Code of Canada are very complex documents. A generalist lawyer will probably not be as familiar with the details of such laws but a criminal lawyer who devotes all of their time to criminal law, would.
You also want your Ontario criminal defence lawyer to have relevant trial experience. While not all criminal charges end up in court, you want your lawyer to have experience defending charges in court if your case goes to trial. You should feel confident that if your case goes to trial, your defence lawyer has enough experience to be able to defend you in the courtroom. A lawyer who has years of experience handling a variety of criminal cases will understand how a trial proceeds and the best way to argue your case in a given situation. It is also important to know that your lawyer not only has experience in a courtroom but that they have successfully won cases that have gone to trial.
It is also a good idea to hire a lawyer who is familiar with your region. If you have been charged with a criminal offence in Ottawa, it is a good idea to work with a lawyer who is familiar with the Ottawa region. While “connections” with other lawyers or judges do not play a role in criminal cases (thankfully our legal system does not work that way!), it will benefit you if your lawyer is familiar with the region where you will be fighting your charges.
When meeting with your potential criminal defence lawyer think about asking them the following questions in order to assess the level and relevance of their experience:
1. How much of your practice involves criminal law?
2. Do you feel comfortable handling a case like mine?
3. Have you tried many cases in my particular region?
Hiring a good defence lawyer is important. If you have any questions about how to look for the right criminal defence lawyer for your case, feel free to speak with the defence attorneys at Auger Hollingsworth.
A Good Track Record
When looking for a good Ontario criminal lawyer it is important to take into consideration the individual’s track record. While years of experience certainly count for something, it is more important to have consistent positive results. The business of criminal defence lawyers is really a results-oriented business and you want the lawyer representing you to have consistent results. Although no criminal lawyer can win every case, you should work with a lawyer who has a good track record of achieving successful outcomes. Download Choosing the Right Lawyer here.
There are a few areas in which you want your criminal lawyer to have a good track record. The first is regarding case results and testimonials. When choosing a criminal lawyer, take a look at their past case results and if you have access to them, read some of their client testimonials. It can help to hear about the experience that other individuals facing criminal charges had with a particular lawyer.
Another way that you can assess a lawyer’s track record is to fine out if they have received any awards or distinctions. Such honours demonstrate that a lawyer has received particular recognition from their peers, professional organization governing bodies or local association. A good defence lawyer will likely include this kind of information on their website. After all, the internet is usually the first place individuals go to find information. Good lawyer will want to show prospective clients that they have received awards or distinctions, just as they will likely also include case results and client testimonials on their website.
A final way that you can assess a lawyer’s track record is by finding out if they have been previously disciplined by the Law Society. All Ontario lawyers are licensed, governed, and regulated by the Law Society of Upper Canada. This society deals with any complaints that may arise against a lawyer and it serves to protect the public in this way. The Law Society pursues disciplinary action against lawyers if need be. It may be awkward to bring up this issue when meeting with a potential lawyer, but it is important for you to know if they have had any complaints filed against them. Having past complaints does not necessarily indicate that the person is not a good lawyer, but if they have been disciplined in the past, you may want to hear more about the details of the situation. It is up to you if and how you factor the situation into your decision-making process.
A lawyer’s track record is an excellent way to decide if a particular criminal defence lawyer is right for you. Learn about their past case results, read client testimonials and look into any awards or honours they have received. All of this information can help you choose the right Ontario defence lawyer to represent you.
Commitment to the Law
While there are a number of Ontario criminal lawyers offering their services to potential clients, it can be difficult to find a criminal defence lawyer who is passionate about the law. You want to hire a lawyer who is passionate about criminal law and who is continually studying and learning more about the law. You want to look for a lawyer who spends time staying up to date on the evolution of the law and whose knowledge of criminal law is current. If a lawyer does not spend time reading important law journals and studying the law they are likely not passionate about their work and are probably not going to be the best lawyer to represent you.
One way to assess a lawyer’s commitment to the law is to find out if they have made any contributions to legal publications or if they have written their own books or booklets about the law. The best lawyers are those who have put time into researching developments in the law and in educating the general public. If a lawyer has been involved in publishing legal information, they are likely invested in their work and are passionate about criminal law. Additionally, a lawyer committed to helping people who have been charged with a criminal offence, should provide a variety of information on their website aimed at informing the public. Things like “frequently asked questions” sections on their website or regular blog posts and online articles can indicate a lawyer’s commitment to the law.
A lawyer’s commitment to the law can also be seen in their involvement with the media. If a lawyer has been asked by the media, whether on the radio, television or newspaper, to comment about a legal issue it is a sign that they are a good lawyer. If a criminal defence lawyer feels confident enough to speak knowledgeably about a particular legal issue on the radio or on television, they are likely going to have the confidence necessary to handle your case. It means that they are informed on current legal issues and that they are comfortable speaking about the law in a variety of ways, not only in the courtroom, but to the general public as well.
Here are a few questions you might want to ask a lawyer when trying to decide whether to hire them or not:
1. Have you written any recent books or articles?
2. What legal journals do you read regularly?
3. What kind of free information do you offer to the public and potential clients?
4. Have you ever been involved in commenting on legal issues in the media?
If you are looking to hire an Ontario criminal defence lawyer to work on your case, make sure that you consider their level of commitment to the law and their passion about the field of criminal law in particular. The criminal defence lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth are committed to providing excellent legal representation for their clients. Contact them for a free consultation to discuss your case.