splawoffice in Markham, Ontario
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Criminal Law Back

Criminal Law FAQ Question: I have been charged with assaulting my wife and one of the conditions in my release is that I cannot contact my wife? I want to go home. What to do?

Answer: You have to make a bail variation application before the court and you have to explain the circumstances. If the court is satisfied, you can be allowed to go to your home, but in most of the cases it is very difficult.

Question: I am a permanent resident of Canada. My wife went for shopping in a store. By mistake she picked up a shampoo and forgot to pay for it. The cashier caught her and called the police. She has been charged for shop lifting. We are thinking to plead guilty. What is your advice? Answer: If a person wants to plead guilty, first of all he or she needs to accept that he/ she has committed an offence, he or she must agree that not only did he/she actually commit the offence but that he/ she also intended to commit the offence. If you think you have a valid defense to the charge, you should not plead guilty. For example, if you are charged with shop lifting and you want to plead guilty, you must admit that you not only took the item from the store but that you did not intend to pay for the item. If you forgot to pay, you do not have the intent and therefore you have a defense and you should not plead guilty. Some people want to enter a guilty plea to get it over with or because they do not have lawyer or they cannot afford a lawyer. Other people will want to enter a guilty plea with an explanation and very often, the explanation is actually a defense to the charge and that type of plea is very often rejected by the Judge. Please keep in mind, guilty plea to a criminal offense should not be done lightly. Very often, guilty plea are resulted in criminal record and criminal record can have serious repercussions on current and future job, immigration status, travelling outside Canada and other areas as well.

If you are not a Canadian citizen, it becomes very important to have immigration lawyer's advice. Before consulting an immigration lawyer, it is important to know whether that immigration lawyer has experience in such cases, how long has he been practicing immigration law. You can ask for references. Very often, people are ended up getting wrong advice and such advice would be very costly for them. Before consulting an immigration lawyer ask friend and relatives who passed through similar situation. It is always good to ask a reference from friend and relatives. In my experience, I have come across many situations where people got wrong advice and messed up the case.

Before entering a guilty plea, it is very important to know the consequences of guilty plea as it would result in jail. You should also be aware of the Crown Attorney's position on your guilty plea. If you intend to plead guilty, you have to review the document given to you by the Crown Attorney and agree with the synopsis before you enter a guilty plea.

You have to go before a Judge to enter a guilty plea. The Judge may review "Plea Comprehension Inquiry". Some Judges require that you are aware of following points: A. You have right to plead not guilty and that by pleading guilty, you are giving up your right to trial;
B. Your guilty plea is voluntary;
C. You do not have a defense; and
D. You are admitting your guilt in respect of essential elements of the offense.

Very often, defense lawyer and Crown Attorney are in agreement for joint submission on sentencing. But remember, the Judge may refuse the joint submission and impose different sentence. The Judge will only agree to joint submission, if such sentence is appropriate and will not bring the administration of justice into disrepute.

Before passing sentence, the Judge may want to hear about some of your personal back ground, circumstances for the offense etc. The Judge also wants to know whether you are remorseful and you have tried to improve yourself. Considering all the factors the Judge will decide appropriate sentence. Please note that the Judge does not have to accept any suggestion or offer of sentence made by Crown Attorney or defense. Nothing is ever certain in Criminal Court.

Therefore, before entering a guilty plea, it is always good to consult a Criminal Defense Lawyer. Nothing is costly then your personal liberty.