If you have been charged with a criminal offence in Alberta—or anywhere in Canada, for that matter—there are two main categories into which that offence can fall. Criminal offences in Canada are either summary conviction offences or indictable offences.
Summary offences generally are fairly minor. Indictable offences, however, require an indictment and generally carry the right to a jury trial. These are much more serious offences, and come with much more severe potential sentences. Given the increased stakes, it only makes sense to have a defence lawyer to handle your case in the event that you are facing charges of an indictable offence.
A Defence Lawyer Can Help You Fight the Crown’s Case Against You
The Crown has the burden of proving certain essential elements for any indictable offence for which you might be facing charges. Further, the Crown—the prosecutor in your case—also has the burden of proving these elements beyond a reasonable doubt. If the Crown is not able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt all of the elements of the crime with which you are charged, the court must find you not guilty. Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms requires that every criminal case start with the presumption that the accused is innocent until proven guilty. Combined with the requirement to prove the essential elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt, this places a heavy burden on the prosecution. Because you are unlikely to be familiar with the essential elements of the crime the Crown is required to prove, much less how to combat the Crown’s efforts to prove those elements, it seems clear that, when faced with an indictable offence, prudence, if not wisdom, dictates that you retain a competent defence lawyer.
How Can a Defence Lawyer Help You Fight an Indictable Offence?
Possibly the most important element of a crime that must be proven by the Crown is that you that you intentionally or knowingly committed the offence. A good defence lawyer will attack the Crown’s ability to prove this even before the trial starts, often resulting in the dismissal of the charges. At each step, with each essential element of the charge that the Crown must prove, a defence lawyer will be attacking the Crown’s ability to prove those elements beyond a reasonable doubt. You are unlikely to even be aware that these different elements exist. A criminal defence lawyer will know the elements the Crown needs to prove and will have strategies to defeat the Crown’s ability to prove those elements beyond a reasonable doubt. Those strategies could include challenging how evidence was gathered, whether a criminal stop was justified, the propriety of any search conducted, whether a search warrant was required or properly obtained, and whether the integrity of the evidentiary chain was maintained. Without a defence lawyer, you would sit there, awaiting conviction.
If You Are Charged With an Indictable Offence in the Calgary area, Contact the Lawyers of Bourdon Defence
If you are facing charges of an indictable offence in Alberta, you should consult a lawyer to protect your rights. You will need an aggressive criminal defence lawyer to represent you. The lawyers of Bourdon Defence are ready to help you protect your rights against any criminal charges. You can reach us at (403) 474-4143 or through our website.