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Smordin Criminal Law: Ontario Legal Advice

Ontario Criminal Defence Lawyer

Whether you are under investigation or currently charged with a crime, you need to know your rights.   A qualified Ontario criminal defence lawyer from Smordin Law can help you.

Upon arrest it is vital that you take immediate action to preserve your best criminal defence. If you are a person of interest to the police and under investigation you need to understand the jeopardy you could be facing and how to minimize the chances of bring charged with a crime. The criminal defence team at Smordin Law is available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. The police will give you an opportunity to call us. It is your right. We provide free legal advice upon initial contact while you are under arrest and in police custody.

Are we up at 3am? No, but if you are arrested, an experienced criminal defence lawyer will be.

Bail

A bail hearing is required if an individual is not released by the police upon arrest. The law requires that the accused must appear in bail court within 24 hours of arrest.

The rules surrounding bail are complicated. A criminal defence lawyer is critical at this stage as detention will often effect how your matter travels through the legal system. Remaining out of custody while charges are being dealt with allows a client to continue with employment, education and their personal life. In addition, the wait time for a trial is not nearly as difficult or stressful for the client and their family.

There are two types of bail hearings, those that are on consent of the court where an agreement is reached to release an accused with certain restrictions and those that are opposed.

Just because the Court agrees to release you, does not mean that bail will be easy. If a release is consented to, we can negotiate terms that will minimize the impact of the criminal matter on employment, schooling, travel and family life. Often a Crown will try to have curfews imposed, an alcohol prohibition placed on you, travel documents handed over to the police to restrict your movement and terms to keep you away from certain individuals. Don’t let just anyone run your bail hearing. Getting out of custody on bail is great, but living with relaxed bail terms while we prepare your defence is even better.  Criminal Defence lawyers at Smordin Law are constantly litigating in the bail courts for the release of those under arrest.

Contact Smordin Law it’s never just a bail hearing.

If the Crown is opposed to releasing you from jail then a contested bail hearing is held. Our experienced criminal defence lawyers prepare sureties for a hearing and take the time to come up with a bail release plan to present to the court.

A surety is a person who agrees to make sure the accused will abide by the terms of his or her bail. A strong plan, and a well prepared surety set the stage for a successful bail hearing and release from custody.

If someone you know is arrested and asks you to be surety for them, ask them when and where they will be appearing in court. Call us next and we can begin preparing for a bail hearing. Bail is a very important stage of the criminal process and requires the assistance of an experienced criminal defence lawyer.

Don’t leave your loved one’s freedom to chance. Start strong. Start with Smordin Law.

You only get one shot at bail. We can present the best plan in an attempt to get your loved one released without interrupting their family life, travel or employment. Presenting weaknesses in the case against you is vital at the outset and at the bail stage. We take the time to evaluate your case.

Arrests are made daily and bail hearings can be held on weekends and holidays. It is an accused person’s right to be brought before a Justice of the Peace within 24 hours of arrest or as soon as practicable. At Smordin Law we are committed to our clients, an experienced criminal defence lawyer is available to attend court on all holidays and weekends in order to perform an emergency bail hearing.

Bail Reviews

If a bail hearing is unsuccessful let us review and assess the proceedings and determine whether the outcome can be reviewed at the Superior Court level. Whether you can be released at this stage is a question of law. It is necessary to have experienced criminal defence counsel devise a strategy and legal argument to persuade the court that a mistake was made when you were detained in custody after your first bail hearing.

At Smordin Law we have run successful bail reviews that have substantially altered the outcome of a matter.

Drug Charges

We have specialized expertise in defending drug charges. As a former drug prosecutor for the Public Prosecution Service of Canada, Senior Criminal Defence Lawyer Sandee Smordin has extensive knowledge in this area of law. You need a lawyer who can spot the weaknesses in the Prosecution’s case and police investigation.

At Smordin Law, we have the knowledge and experience required to fight these criminal charges. A drug investigation will often involve search warrants, wire taps, police surveillance and informant information. These areas of the law are complex and challenging. These types of charges require a lawyer with not only experience but also a fierce passion for making sure your rights have not been violated by police at any point in the investigation or your arrest.

If you feel your rights have been violated or your personal freedom has been infringed by the police contact a criminal defence lawyer Smordin Law. We are here to protect you.

If you are charged with simple possession (drug use or having drugs on you), marihuana production (growing marihuana), drug trafficking (selling or offering to sell, sharing, delivering, transporting or sending drugs), importing drugs to Canada, or exporting drugs out of Canada, a conviction could effect your ability to travel to the United States and other countries. That is why the lawyers at Smordin Law advance each and every defence and scrutinize all police conduct.

The Federal Government has now introduced mandatory minimum sentences for less drug offenses. It is more important than ever to hire the right criminal defence lawyer.

Simple Possession

Are you struggling with substance abuse? Have you been caught with a small amount of marihuana, cocaine, ecstasy, heroin, oxycontin, or crystal meth?

At Smordin Law we recognize that addiction is a disease and therefore a medical problem. As with all addictions, finding help can be difficult. It can be even more difficult finding criminal defence lawyers with the proper balance of insight, compassion and the knowledge of resources that can assist you.

Everyone deserves a second chance. Let our criminal defence lawyers fight for yours.

The stress of struggling with a drug addiction and an outstanding criminal charge can trigger relapse and make you feel hopeless.

We have excellent relationships with court support addiction workers, Hamilton Regional Indian Center, the Alcohol Drug and Gambling Services and many other rehabilitation services. We work closely with you as you attend counseling and ensure that the Crown Attorneys and Judges are made aware of all counseling efforts and your progress. A Criminal Defence Lawyer can make a big difference.

Experience is what matters most.

Once you have hired Smordin Law you can focus on your rehabilitation and recovery.
Saving you from having a criminal record as a result of an addiction is our goal.

Have you been charged simply because you were with someone who had drugs? Have you been charged because you were at a location where drugs were found? In law this is called being a “party” to an offense or, being in “joint possession” of the drugs. You should not have a criminal record for someone else’s illegal activity that you knew nothing about and did not partake in. At Smordin Law, we challenge your arrest and the evidence of the police. Having been a drug Prosecutor, Sandee Smordin knows how these cases are evaluated by the Prosecution and will use her experience to get you the best results.

Drug Trafficking

The Federal Government has introduced mandatory minimum sentences for most serious drug offenses. It is more important than ever to hire the right lawyer. We at Smordin Law are not intimidated by the challenges of complex defences. Whether you are charged with drugs alone or drugs and weapons you could face a minimum sentence of one year or longer.

As a former drug Prosecutor for the Public Prosecution Service of Canada, Sandee Smordin has extensive knowledge in this area of law. At Smordin Law we know that mistakes are made and no investigation is perfect. Having a lawyer more experienced than some police and Prosecutors, gives you the advantage you need in court and at trial.

Know your rights. Call an experienced defence lawyer at Smordin Law.

At Smordin Law we have the knowledge and experience required to fight these charges. A drug investigation will often involve search warrants, wire taps, police surveillance and informant information. These areas of the law are complex and challenging and require a lawyer with not only experience but also a fierce passion for making sure your rights have not been violated by police at any point in the investigation or your arrest.

Drug Production

Marihuana use and production has always attracted much debate and controversy in the media. There is a great deal of stigma attached to these charges. A conviction for producing marihuana could interfere with your ability to travel, result in a job loss and impact any Family law matters involving the custody or access to your children. The Federal Government has imposed mandatory minimum sentences based on the following factors, to name but a few:

  • Whether there are children living in the same household as a marihuana cultivation operation
  • Whether there is a public safety hazard
  • Whether there are weapons located

More than anything else, hiring lawyers with the right experience is crucial.

If you have a Health Canada exemption to produce or possess marihuana we will educate you on your rights and obligations to keep your exemption license. Failing to renew or apply for amendments in a timely fashion could lead to an unnecessary expiration of your exemption. Continued production or use could lead to criminal charges. Contact us and learn how to keep in step with your exemption.

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is taken very seriously by the police and the Courts. Most police forces have policies that require them to hold people under arrest for a bail hearing. This means that even if you have never been in trouble before and have no criminal record, you will need to have a bail hearing. It is absolutely vital that you make no statement to the police and call Smordin Law immediately.

Accusations of domestic violence can be false, exaggerated or motivated by the breakdown in the relationship or a matter before the Family court. Having a conviction for domestic violence can be used against you in Family court and can effect your ability to have custody or access to your children. It can also impact your employment and ability to travel. It is almost a certainty that once you are convicted you will be put on probation and you will need to take counseling and be monitored by a probation officer. The stigma of being convicted for an offense of violence against a partner never wears off.

Don’t hesitate! Call Smordin Law before your court appearance and book an appointment.

We will negotiate right at the outset with the Crown Attorney’s office to resolve your matter. Being on bail for domestic violence can be very difficult as it will take you away from the residence you may share with your partner and away from your children. You will have restrictions regarding communicating with them or seeing them at all. When you retain our services we appreciate that time is of the essence and will work diligently to get you the quickest trial date possible. In the event that you do not want to move forward with a trial, we will negotiate all alternatives available to save you from having a criminal record.

Murder & Manslaughter

First degree murder is the most sever charge one can face. In Canada, murder is classified as either first or second degree. The difference between the charges are laid out in the Criminal Code of Canada. A murder will be defined as first degree if one of the following is proven by the Crown.

  • The murder was planned and deliberate
  • The murder was contracted
  • The murder was committed against an identified peace officer
  • The murder happened while committing or attempting to commit the hijacking of an aircraft
  • The murder happened while committing or attempting to commit sexual assault
  • The murder happened while committing or attempting to commit sexual assault with a weapon
  • The murder happened while committing or attempting to commit aggravated sexual assault
  • The murder happened while committing or attempting to commit kidnapping and forcible confinement
  • The murder happened during a hostage taking
  • The murder happened while committing criminal harassment
  • The murder was committed during terrorist activity
  • The murder happened while using explosives in association with a criminal organization or
  • The murder happened while committing intimidation.

The definition of second degree murder is any murder which is not first degree murder

The mandatory sentence for any adult (or youth sentenced as an adult) convicted of murder in Canada is a life sentence, with various time periods before a person may apply for parole. In general there is no parole eligibility for 25 years (1st degree) or 10 years (2nd degree). The ability to apply for parole does not mean parole is granted.

Other types of homicide charges in Canada include, manslaughter, criminal negligence causing death, dangerous driving causing death and impaired driving causing death. The penalties for those types of crimes vary.

It is vital to get the proper legal advice from skilled criminal defence lawyer immediately upon arrest. The police investigate these crimes zealously with every resource available to them. The prosecution of these types of crimes are aggressive and often last years. You need a criminal defence lawyer who will be there for you from the moment you are arrested and who will not back down. At Smordin Law, we have dealt with these types of charges and have the experience you need.

Weapons and Gun Charges

Crimes involving weapons and guns such as assault, robbery, drug charges and murder are reported in the media on a daily basis across Canada. The government has imposed minimum sentences for some weapons offenses and for serious gun offenses. Recently the Ontario Court of Appeal has ruled that the minimum sentences in certain circumstances are “cruel and unusual” whereas in other circumstances the minimums are justified. Regardless, the police and the Crown will fight vigorously to send you to jail for many years if you are caught with an illegal gun or using a gun in the commission of a crime.

At trial, the Crown must establish that you were in possession of the gun/weapon and they also must establish technicalities involving the testing and firing of the gun.

Charter defences also often arise in these cases. Guns are often located during a drug raid or during a traffic stop of a vehicle. At Smordin Law we advance all Charter defences in the event that you were stopped illegally, the warrant used to enter into your home was deficient and lacking in detail, or if you made any statements to the police upon arrest to name just a few.

When you are charged with a serious crime and are facing a serious penalty, you need lawyers who devote their time and energy into fighting rights violations, police misconduct, and ensuring that the Crown is put to the difficult burden of proving your guilt. Remember, it is not up to you to prove your innocence. The lawyers at Smordin Law challenge the evidence at every opportunity.

Sexual Offences

At Smordin Law, we are not intimidated to take on and defend you against accusations of sexual assault, sexual interference, invitation to sexual touching or possession/distribution of child pornography.

Sexual Assault

In Canada, the onus to prove that you are guilty of a crime is the responsibility of the Crown. You are not required to testify in your own defence and your silence or strategic choice not to testify cannot be misread as being guilty or not wanting to be subject to the cross examination of the Crown. However, in sexual offense cases the accused will often testify in their own defence. In defensing an allegation of sexual assault the most common defences are a complete denial of the incident or that there was consent on the part of the complainant. The strategic decision to testify can be very intimidating. Not only will you have the opportunity to tell your side of the story, you will be subject to vigorous cross examination. The criminal defence lawyers at Smordin Law will prepare you fully for this experience. We will reduce your stress through preparation. A fully prepared criminal defence is what you expect and its what we deliver.

Sexual Interference

Sexual offenses such as sexual interference, invitation to sexual touching and sexual exploitation involve a complainant who is under the age of 16 years. A conviction for this type of charge carries a minimum sentence of 90 days in jail if the Crown proceeds Summarily on the charge and a minimum sentence of 1 year in jail if the Crown proceeds by way of Indictment. Those are just the minimum punishments. Selecting the right criminal defence lawyer is imperative.

The skill of being able to cross examine a small child or a teenager does not come naturally to most. Ms. Smordin worked with both children and teenagers for 19 years prior to be coming a lawyer. Having worked in five different day cares, as a private nanny and as a teen counsellor and as head counsellor for the Royal Winnipeg Ballet professional division summer school program, she has a unique and impressive way of handling child witnesses. Her experience in working with children comes through in the most difficult cases.

Drinking and Driving

A conviction for drinking and driving or impaired operation by a drug can have long lasting effects on your ability to drive or to be insured. Penalties include vehicle impoundment, fines, minimum jail terms, license suspension, costs associated with having an Interlock ignition system placed in your vehicle, a mandatory alcohol education course, and an increase in your insurance. A conviction can be so costly that the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario places the estimate at over ten thousand dollars.

Keep your license. Contact Smordin Law for a consultation today.

It is vital that you contact Smordin Law for a legal opinion. Others may tell you that pleading guilty quickly will get you back on the road and driving with an Interlock ignition device in your car. However, what you may not be told is that a second or third conviction can result in a minimum jail term, a three year or lifetime driving prohibition, a lengthy Interlock ignition condition, and increased fines. Once you have one conviction there is no turning back the clock.

Theft, Robbery, and Breaking & Entering

Property related offenses can often involve mistaken identity. An experienced criminal defence lawyer knows that frailties in memory and the ability to properly identify an accused is vital for these types of charges. The police must follow specific protocol and policies when investigating these types of charges. Photo line ups, surveillance video, witness statements, forensic evidence, and a police officer’s ability to identify you, will all be reviewed with you. If you have been charged with one of these offenses contact Smordin Law and we will set up an immediate appointment with a dedicated criminal defence lawyer and advise you on all potential defences.

Contact Smordin Law for an appointment with an experienced criminal defence lawyer and start building your defence today.

About Our Locations and Services

Smordin Law has proudly defended the residents of Southern Ontario in their criminal law cases for over a decade. We are based in downtown Hamilton, and have successfully defended clients from Brantford, Burlington, Guelph, Oakville, Kitchener, Milton, Cayuga, St. Catharines, Welland, Simcoe, and Brampton. Our lawyers work diligently to give you nothing short of the best possible outcome for your case. We have friendly and professional relationships built with multiple establishments including, but not limited to, Aboriginal Legal Services, probation and parole services, the Canadian Mental Health Association, and multiple rehabilitation facilities so we can focus on your personal needs and advocate the uniqueness of your situation.

Our lawyers can represent you for any of the following cases:

Criminal Law

If you are charged with a criminal offense, or under investigation for a crime, there is a lot that needs to be considered. One of the most important things you need is a criminal defense team that is there for you at all hours of the day, every day of the week. This level of care is exactly what you will get at Smordin Law. By calling the lawyers at Smordin Law we will start working on your case immediately.

 

In addition to bail hearings and reviews (appeals), we can help with any case, encompassing charges related to:

  • Drinking & Driving
  • Drug Charges
  • Simple Possession
  • Drug Trafficking
  • Drug Production
  • Domestic Violence
  • Murder & Manslaughter
  • Sexual Assault
  • Sexual Interference
  • Sexual Offenses
  • Theft, Robbery, or Breaking & Entering
  • Weapons and Gun Charges

Mental Health

 

At Smordin Law, our defense lawyers represent clients in front of the Consent and Capacity Board whose liberties are restricted by the Mental Health Act. We also represent clients at the Ontario Review Board who have not been found criminally responsible due to a mental disorder. We work to represent the interest of all of our clients, and in cases of Mental Health Law, we establish the mandated suspension of their liberty, with the least restrictive measures. When in hearings, we can speak for our clients, challenge their detention, and the terms of their restrictions.

A client involved in the hearing is able to bring family and friends for support. Those involved can each have a lawyer present, along with witnesses, and related documents. Board members can then ask witnesses questions, and after closing remarks from each party, the presiding member will conclude the hearing. From there, the Board will have one day to meet and present their decision.

Aboriginal Law

Courts have to consider cultural heritage, and familial background when an Aboriginal person is charged with a crime. Factors such as status or non-status, whether the person is living on or off reserve, in a city or a rural community are taken into account by a Judge. A senior criminal lawyer from Smordin Law knows how to establish ancestry, and which alternatives to jail that a Judge must consider when sentencing.

 

We have handled several high profile cases that successfully used the resources available to Aboriginal clients such as Gladue Reports. A Gladue Report, named after the Supreme Court of Canada decision of R. v. Gladue, advises a sentencing Judge of the client’s Aboriginal background and reviews any of the factors that have placed Aboriginal persons at a greater risk for incarceration in Canada.

Having the chance to work closely with the Hamilton Regional Indian Centre (HRIC), Aboriginal Court Support Liaison, and the Aboriginal Legal Services of Toronto gives us ample resources to help mitigate sentencing, or diverting cases to avoid criminal records.

 

We know and use the most recent and persuasive case law that supports less restrictive sentences and alternatives to incarceration for our Aboriginal clients. This is particularly important in the cities such as Hamilton, Burlington, Milton, Simcoe, Cayuga, St. Catharines, Welland, Guelph and Kitchener that currently do not have a special Indigenous Persons court. An Indigenous Persons Court is a unique court that only deals with bail hearings, pleas and sentencing for self-identifying Aboriginal Persons. These courts are more in line with traditional Aboriginal justice with a particular focus on healing and restorative justice.

 

In the absence of Indigenous Persons courts, it is even more important that you have experienced lawyers on your side who will passionately advocate for your rights and obtain an outcome that recognizes your ancestry.

 

Youth Criminal Law

If a youth is charged with a criminal offense they, and their parents, are often told that there is no risk of jail time if they plead guilty, or are convicted after trial. In reality, the Crown’s ability to request jail for a young person, sentencing is limited by a Judge, per the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YJCA). Though it would be less of an emotional and financial burden to have the case over and done with, it is even more important to have the right legal representation so a criminal record can be avoided entirely.

 

Recent changes to the Youth Criminal Justice Act, means that it’s more likely that a convicted youth will have a record that follows them into adulthood. When you come to Smordin Law, you are seeking out the best representation for any youth related criminal charge.

The lawyers at Smordin Law have extensive experience in representing residents of Ontario who have been charged with crimes under the Criminal Code of Canada, Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA), as well as the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA). We can also help anyone who is involved in a serious traffic or driving case, and has been charged under the Highway Traffic Act, or any other matter prosecuted under the Provincial Offenses Act. Click here to contact us today to see how we can help you.

ontario criminal defence lawyer