Understanding the law can be a daunting task, especially for those who need to quickly familiarize themselves with the intricacies of the Ontario criminal defence system.
A quick glance at Google Maps reveals a large concentration of Toronto’s criminal defence lawyers in the quadrant from Front Street in the south to Dundas Street in the north, and University Avenue to the west to Jarvis Street to the east. On the peripheries, criminal defence lawyers can be found in the Trinity-Bellwoods area, Chinatown, the Distillery District, and Moss Park. Further east, offices can be found in North Riverdale, Clairlea-Birchmount, Davisville, and Leaside, while in the north, Don Mills is an option. Further west, lawyers can be found at the intersections of Islington Avenue and Bloor Street West, and The Queensway and Kipling Avenue.
Cost of Criminal Defence Lawyers
Hourly lawyer fees in Toronto range from $75-$750 CAD per hour depending on level of experience, such as lead or associate counsel. However, many lawyers, especially those in criminal law, now charge a flat fee, while Legal Aid remains per hour. In addition, many charge 13% HST on top of their legal fee.
A 2018 survey by Canadian Lawyer Magazine revealed that although87% of lawyers use hourly billing, 71% charge flat fees as well, while 17% combine these two methods.
In its 2019 survey of legal fees, the magazine also demonstrated that the average Ontario bail hearing ranges from $1, 000-$2, 000 CAD. A one-day criminal offence trial is $6, 000-$8, 000 CAD. A trial longer than7 days costs between $35, 000-$44, 000 CAD. A simple plea of guilty ranges from $500-$1, 000 CAD, while a summary conviction appeal is $5, 000-$8, 000 CAD.
Many lawyers accept Visa, Mastercard, and Debit. Financing may be available in some cases. All fees are due upon completion of the case.In the Ontario court system, cases take about 9 months to reach trial.
Canadian Criminal Law
Both the Criminal Code of Canada and The Controlled Drugs and Substances Act are part of Federal legislation passed by Canadian parliament.
Specifically,the Criminal Code of Canada sets out criminal law and procedure and prohibits harmful conduct. Criminal Code offences are usually prosecuted under Provincial jurisdiction and include murder, fraud, sexual assault, breaking and entering, assault, impaired driving, robbery, uttering threats, and failure to comply with bail/probation.
The Controlled Drugs and Substances Act is under Federal jurisdiction.
Criminal Law Procedure
When an individual is first chargedwith a crime, they will either be released or taken into custodyand given a bail hearing. In both cases, a form states where they are to appearfor their first court appearance. Several more court dates may occur before a trial is set, or the matter may be resolved.
A preliminary hearing will decide if the Crown has enough evidence to hold a trial.
Once the trial is set, the defendant must attend our trial, with or without legal representation.
Defendants attend the Ontario Court of Justice for the majority of criminal cases and the Superior Court of Justice for more serious criminal cases. Most appeals are heard in Toronto’s Ontario Court of Appeals.
Bytensky Prutschi Shikhman
The BPS is a criminal law speciality association in Toronto. They offer high profile criminal defence lawyers.
Law Society of Ontario Referral Service
For low-income clients, Legal Aid compensates lawyers for their services. Four different hourly rates exist ranging from about $100-$160 CAD, depending on the complexity of the case. In addition, help in over 300 languages is available on their toll-free number 1-800-668-8258.
Although the criminal justice process can appear intimidating at first, many options exist for those looking for criminal defence lawyers in Toronto.
A variety of attorney’s are available around the city, in a wide range of budgets. In addition, Legal Aid and the Law Society of Ontario serve lower-income clients. Whatever your budget, a defence attorney can be found in Toronto.