There are three stages to a criminal case: the Analysis; the Negotiation; and, if necessary, the Trial. Every case goes through an analysis and a negotiation, but only a minority of cases require a trial.
Once you have been arrested and charged with a criminal offence, and once the issue of bail has been resolved (either by a station-house release or a bail hearing in court), the case is turned over to the Crown Attorney for prosecution in the courts. While the police will still have some influence over the proceedings, they are no longer in charge at this point: the prosecutor is now the decision-maker, until such time as a judge is called upon to make rulings.
The court process is complex. Each jurisdiction and each courthouse has its own rules, policies and procedures built up over the years. It takes an expert with knowledge, experience and a network of contacts to guide you through this labyrinth. At The Defence Group, we have years of experience, at all courthouses in Southern Ontario. We know how to navigate the bureaucracy and cut through the red tape.
The court process in criminal cases has three parts to it: the Discovery Phase; the Negotiation Phase; and the Trial Phase. The only way to win your case is for your criminal defence lawyer to defend your case vigorously and proactively at each stage.
Frequently Asked Questions about Domestic Assault Charges
Targeting domestic violence cases is one of the top priorities for police and prosecutors in Ontario. The federal and provincial governments have declared domestic violence a “zero-tolerance” crime. Statistics Canada, in its comprehensive Uniform Crime Reporting Survey, found that 1 in 5 violent offences are domestic in nature, as are 1 in every 4 homicides.
As a result of a few high-profile murders and historical unfairness in the law, laws and policies have been written that make it mandatory for police and prosecutors to investigate and prosecute every allegation and 911 call of domestic abuse to the full extent of the law. These “pro-charging” and “pro-prosecution” policies are in full force and effect throughout Ontario.
The Criminal Code lists domestic violence as an “aggravating factor” for sentencing, which means that if you are found guilty of a criminal offence involving domestic violence, the penalty will be harsher. Also, the consequences of a criminal record can affect your ability to work, to travel to the United States, and your immigration status if you are not a Canadian citizen.
No matter how minor the incident- a small push, or an angry comment perceived as a threat, it will be treated as a very serious matter by police and prosecutors. As soon as a family member, intimate partner, or even a neighbour calls the police to report a domestic incident, the case will be handled differently from other criminal cases. The police will show up quickly, and they will almost always make an arrest, even when there are no injuries.
Sadly, while the police should investigate the complaint fully, they usually don’t, because they are under strict policies to lay charges as soon as someone tells them they were assaulted or threatened while in a domestic relationship. As a result of these “charge first, ask questions later”, the police make their arrest, close the file and refer it to the Crown Attorney’s office for prosecution. It will be up to you and your domestic assault lawyer to sort the mess out afterwards.
The police are under strict policies to lay charges, not to negotiate, mediate or make recommendations, which they will often do in other types of criminal cases. Your views as a complainant/victim will be heard, but not necessarily agreed with by the police or prosecutors.
Unlike other criminal charges, there is a political element to domestic violence. As a result of a few tragic, high-profile incidents where someone was murdered by an angry spouse or ex-lover, police and prosecutors are afraid of releasing someone in case he turns out to be the one in a million who will then turn around and kill their spouse or girlfriend. No police officer or prosecutor wants to be held accountable for that decision, so they often pass that responsibility on to someone else, such as a presiding justice in court. In domestic assault cases, that means that you will most likely be held in jail until your bail hearing, and if released, you will be bound by strict conditions. You will need a good criminal defence lawyer to get you through that process intact.
In domestic violence cases, the police, prosecutors and judges will be seeking to have strict conditions imposed, even if you have no criminal record, because they are concerned about the safety of the complainant. In the majority of cases, you will be separated from your family and your home, often for up to a year or more. Unless you have an experienced domestic assault lawyer.
Getting your bail conditions changed is not easy. You will need a domestic assault lawyer with the skill and experience to negotiate for you. Your lawyer will need to persuade the Crown, the police and the court that you do not pose a risk to the complainant, by submitting the right kind of evidence and arguments for their consideration. At The Defence Group, managing director Arun S. Maini has worked on both sides of the domestic violence issue. As a former Crown Attorney, he prosecuted hundreds of domestic cases; as defence counsel, he defends and advises both complainants and defendants on a whole range of issues, from bail issues to recantations to trial strategy. In the highly-politicized arena of domestic violence, you need to have a lawyer on your side who is highly experienced, and well-respected by all the players in the justice system.
No. Once the police are called in, the complainant loses control over the process. And just as police follow strict policies to lay charges in domestic cases, prosecutors are under strict policies to zealously pursue convictions to the full extent of the law. If a complainant tries to get the charges dropped, she will be sent to speak with a worker at the Victim Witness Assistance Program, which is an agency affiliated with the Crown. They will discourage her from trying to have the charges dropped. If she says that she exaggerated or lied to the police, she will be told that she risks being charged with public mischief. Even if she continues to insist on having the charges dropped, the Crown will likely proceed with the prosecution anyway.
False. The Crown’s policies are based on their belief that when a complainant wants to change her story, or have the charges dropped, it is because she is being pressured to do so, either by the accused himself, or by family members. This could be for cultural reasons, financial pressures, even because of fear. To deal with this issue, the police usually have a complainant sign their statements, or videotape them under oath, so that if they change their mind later, the original evidence can still be used to prosecute. The Crown could also postpone the case to track down the complainant, and can even request that a warrant be issued for her arrest.
Yes, although government statistics show that 85% of domestic charges are reported by women against men.
Unfortunately, as in any situation where rules are rigidly imposed, there is the risk of abuse and manipulation. As shocking as it sounds, there are many cases where allegations of domestic violence abuse are fabricated or exaggerated because one of the parties is angry, jealous or bitter. Sometimes it is done to gain an advantage in a divorce or custody battle. The reality is that because of the zero tolerance policies that are currently in force in this province, which were imposed with the best of intentions, a few unscrupulous people who choose to abuse the system by falsely reporting an allegation of domestic abuse to the police can get away with it very easily. One call is all it takes to have a spouse or domestic partner jailed, removed and banned from the family home, and to gain a major advantage in family court. You need a skilled and experienced lawyer to fight against that kind of insidious behaviour.
Possession of drugs does not necessarily mean actual physical possession; there are other forms of legal possession, including “constructive possession” or “joint possession”. The legal requirements are some element of knowledge, and control. You can be found to be in possession when another person has physical custody; when they are in a place that you occupy or have some measure control over; or when other people have the control, with your knowledge and consent.
The Criminal Code definition of possession is as follows:
(3) For the purposes of this Act,
- (a) a person has anything in possession when he has it in his personal possession or knowingly
- (i) has it in the actual possession or custody of another person, or
- (ii) has it in any place, whether or not that place belongs to or is occupied by him, for the use or benefit of himself or of another person; and
where one of two or more persons, with the knowledge and consent of the rest, has anything in his custody or possession, it shall be deemed to be in the custody and possession of each and all of them.
There are many ways that drugs can be bought, sold, or distributed. Trafficking means that drugs are being sold, transported or distributed. The police have an arsenal of tactics and techniques to build a case against a suspected drug trafficker is through a combination of surveillance, confidential informants, undercover police officers or civilian police agents, or in bigger cases, through “controlled deliveries” and the use of judicially-authorized wiretaps.
The Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA) defines trafficking as follows:
- (1) “traffic” means, in respect of a substance included in any of Schedules I to IV,
- (a) to sell, administer, give, transfer, transport, send or deliver the substance,
- (b) to sell an authorization to obtain the substance, or
- (c) to offer to do anything mentioned in paragraph (a) or (b),
otherwise than under the authority of the regulations.
If you are found to be in possession of drugs (whether in actual possession or in joint or constructive possession), the legal question then becomes whether the drugs were for personal use or to be sold for profit. The commercial sale of drugs is a highly aggravating factor which results in significant jail terms, and the police and prosecutors are always looking for ways to turn what might otherwise be simple recreational drug use into a much more serious case of an illegal commercial enterprise.
The determination of whether a quantity of seized drugs is for personal use or for trafficking can be complex, and depends on an examination of all of the surrounding circumstances, including the nature and quantity of drugs; packaging and presentation, including any sub-division; presence of cash, debt lists or paraphernalia, including scales, cutting agents, and tools; wiretaps; surveillance; informants and civilian agents.
A fast-growing area for law enforcement and prosecution is the production of controlled substances, which includes everything from “meth labs” to the manufacturing of ecstasy and the cultivation of marijuana in “grow-ops” all over the province. Particularly in the case of the marijuana grow-ops, the government has increased its enforcement provisions and penalties. The public, the media, and the real estate industry have led the outcry against residential homes being used to cultivate marijuana. In the past, run-of-the-mill courthouse lawyers would routinely negotiate plea-bargains with the Crown in return for a fine and forfeiture of the hydroponic equipment. Nowadays, jail time is the norm, not the exception, for cultivation- even for people who are merely caretakers or “gardeners”.
The Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA) defines production as follows:
- 2 (1) “produce” means, in respect of a substance included in any of Schedules I to IV, to obtain the substance by any method or process including
- (a) manufacturing, synthesizing or using any means of altering the chemical or physical properties of the substance, or
- (b) cultivating, propagating or harvesting the substance or any living thing from which the substance may be extracted or otherwise obtained, and includes offer to produce;
Importing drugs into Canada is one of the most serious offences known to Canadian law. A conviction for importing carries penalties that can be as severe as those for homicide; a lengthy jail term is virtually a certainty, often in the federal penitentiary.
Importing occurs in a variety of ways, from bodypacking to swallowing drug-filled condoms, to mailing parcels or transporting over land, air or water.
These investigations usually involve customs officers from the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA), who follow slightly different policies and laws than the police. Given the severity of these criminal cases, and their specialized nature, you should make sure that you hire a criminal defence lawyer with experience in these cases. At The Defence Group, Arun S. Maini has spent years as a federal prosecutor, working with the Drug Enforcement Unit at Pearson International Airport, and has handled hundreds of these cases. He is available to defend you with all of the knowledge, experience and contacts developed from his experience with the government.
A conspiracy is an agreement between two or more people to commit an illegal act. Because drug enterprises require communication and agreement between individuals, conspiracy charges are a commonly used method for police and law enforcement to ensnare many people, sometimes entire networks, in large-scale, long-term “projects” designed to apprehend and dismantle organized crime.
Conspiracy charges are among the most complex in criminal law. Large amounts of money and drugs are usually involved, as well as huge teams of police and prosecutors. Several people are facing charges at the same time, sometimes dozens of people. Wiretaps, search warrants and forfeiture applications are routine in these cases. There are many specialized rules and interpretations, such as the “co-conspirators’ exception to the hearsay rule”, and police officers, lawyers, or even judges sometimes have difficulty understanding them or applying them correctly. For this reason, you need a lawyer with the skills and experience to handle a conspiracy case properly. At The Defence Group, we have lawyers who are former federal prosecutors. There is no one better to defend a case than someone who has been on the other side.
In recent years, police have received greater funding to combat organized crime, and wiretap authorizations have become more commonplace. There is nothing more effective in court than for a prosecutor to introduce your own words or those of your accomplices against you to prove that you are engaged in the sale or importing of drugs or controlled substances. Wiretaps can intercept your telephone, your cellphone, and yes, even email and text messages. Police also have the power to install listening devices in your room or your car in order to build a case against you.
Often, the difference between a conviction and an acquittal comes down to whether wiretap intercepts are allowed into evidence. Wiretap authorizations are extremely complex, with the documents running hundreds of pages. Such complexity creates opportunities to challenge the admissibility of this powerful evidence. Also, because the state’s interception of your personal communications is such a significant invasion of privacy, and there are many gray areas between permissible police investigation and a constitutional violation, there is an enormous body of case law about where to draw the line. It takes an experienced lawyer to interpret these laws and regulations to make sure that your rights are respected and that you are not convicted because of evidence that was illegally or improperly obtained. At The Defence Group, we have years of experience prosecuting and defending wiretap cases and are in the best position to help you deal with such difficult matters.
One of the most powerful tools at the disposal of the police is their ability to enter your home, place of business, car, or anywhere else where you have an expectation of privacy. Once they enter, they have the power to search and seize anything they deem to be relevant to their investigation. The police even have the power to seize samples of your blood, fingerprints or DNA to build a case against you.
To be able to deploy such a powerful tool, the police must comply with certain rules developed by Parliament and the courts to protect your privacy interest. In addition, section 8 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects you against unreasonable search and seizure. Before they can search your property, the police must apply to a judge or justice of the peace for a search warrant. A sworn affidavit must be filed with court setting out all of the particulars relevant to the court’s decision to grant a search warrant. If any of the details are missing, incorrect, or misleading, the search warrant and the evidence derived from it could be thrown out. For that reason, the affidavit in support of the search warrant is often subject to a sealing order, so that the defence cannot access it unless an application is brought by the court for an unsealing order.
At The Defence Group, we can help you with all aspects of search warrants, including before, during and after police show up with a warrant. We will bring an application to unseal the warrant, and analyze all of the information to determine the best strategy for challenging the case, the evidence, and even the warrant itself. Often, the Crown’s entire case will rest on the evidence seized by police during a search; therefore, if the warrant is thrown out, or the search is deemed unconstitutional, the case might be won right at the outset of the trial.
One area of law enforcement that has become much more commonplace recently is the government’s strategy of seizing assets that they believe to be proceeds of criminal activity. For example, if drugs are found in the trunk of your car or in the cargo hold of your transport truck, they can seize the vehicle. If drugs are stored in your house, they can seize your house. If you have cash in the bank or investment accounts that the government claims must have been earned from illegal activity such as drug trafficking, they can seize your money also. This tactic is a very powerful tool, because it is designed to hurt the target where it really counts: in the pocketbook. If your assets are seized or frozen, then you cannot pay your mortgage, afford to hire a lawyer, or put up bail money.
Worse, once the state has seized or frozen the property, they will seek a court order forfeiting the property to the government; and the standard for such an application, in the case of a civil forfeiture, is lower than it is to prove the criminal case against you. In other words, you can win your case and still lose your assets!
The forfeiture provisions are complex and often misinterpreted or misunderstood. At The Defence Group, we have lawyers who worked on the government side of these cases, and have the knowledge and experience to defend them fully so that you can get your property back. We can also bring applications for interim orders for you to access funds to hire a lawyer or to pay your mortgage so that the bank does not foreclose on your house
Police will often use information from informants to build a case against a target in a drug investigation. Search warrants or wiretap authorizations are often based on what they tell their police handlers. Informants are dangerous because their identity is protected by the law and never revealed, which makes it very difficult to challenge the information they have provided to police. Informants often lie or exaggerate, and they have their own agenda; often they something to gain by providing information, such as a break on their own criminal case; money; or the elimination of a rival. It takes a great deal of finesse and a sophisticated knowledge of this area of the law because the Crown and the courts are very reluctant to permit the disclosure of any evidence or permit any questioning that could remotely come close to exposing the informant’s identity. Yet if the information can be shown to be unreliable, or challenged so that it must be removed from consideration in the case, or in the search warrant or wiretap authorization, it can spell the end of the Crown’s case.
Only a lawyer with the experience in dealing with challenges to confidential informants should be entrusted with your case in such a situation. At The Defence Group, we have the knowledge and skill to prepare and carry out an effective attack on the informants’ privilege.
Drug transactions occur in secret, because they are illegal. Drug investigations, therefore, require the police to enter into the private space of their targets to seize evidence. Police gather evidence through surveillance, wiretaps, informants, undercover operations, search warrants, and civilian agents. In utilizing these techniques, police are often treading the line between what is legally justifiable and what constitutes an invasion of the target’s reasonable expectation of privacy. Drug cases often stand or fall based on the courts’ assessment of police conduct, and applications to exclude evidence or seek a stay of proceedings often form part of the strategy that we at The Defence Group will use to win the case.
Sexual assault is a generic phrase that can describe everything from a simple touch to an armed rape. To be proven, the offence requires a touching , of a sexual nature, without the consent of the person touched. The use of force or hostility is not required; however, the assault must take place in circumstances of a sexual nature, such that the sexual integrity of the victim is violated. To determine guilt or innocence, the court will examine all of the circumstances surrounding the act, including the relationship between the parties, the part of the body touched, the words and gestures that accompanied the contact, and the intent and state of mind of the defendant.
The Criminal Code defines sexual assault as follows:
- 265. (1) Assault- A person commits an assault when
- (a) without the consent of another person, he applies force intentionally to that other person, directly or indirectly.
- (b) he attempts or threatens, by an act or a gesture, to apply force to another person, if he has, or causes that other person to believe on reasonable grounds that he has, present ability to effect his purpose; or
- (c) while openly wearing or carrying a weapon or an imitation thereof, he accosts or impedes another person or begs.
- (2) This section applies to all forms of assault, including sexual assault, sexual assault with a weapon, threats to a third party or causing bodily harm and aggravated sexual assault. Most of the law which clarifies what is and what is not sexual assault comes not only from the Criminal Code but from a series of court decisions which discuss and analyze the issues in different contexts.
Sexual contact between two people who consent to it is not a crime. Things get complicated when one of them later claims that the sex was non-consensual, and therefore criminal. Because sexual activity usually occurs in private, there are no witnesses other than the complainant and the defendant who can say what really happened. These cases are referred to as credibility cases, and there are many special rules that come into play in these situations.
To decide whether a sexual act was consensual or not, in a sexual assault case the court must decide what was in the mind of the complainant at the time of the sexual activity. The complainant must have agreed not only to sexual activity at that particular time, s/he must have agreed to the particular act they are about to engage in. The court will examine all of the circumstances, from the relationship between the parties to their words and actions before, during and after to try to sort out where the truth lies.
At any point, a person can change his or her mind, and if the other person continues to engage in sexual activity, s/he could be found guilty of sexual assault unless s/he took reasonable steps to ascertain whether consent was still present. What is reasonable will be for a court to decide.
If a defendant believed that the sexual activity was consensual, and took reasonable steps to make sure of it, then s/he might have a valid defence of “apprehended” consent. However, it is not enough to say that the complainant didn’t say “no”, or was physically passive. Drunkenness is not a defence.
There are some situations where the court will generally find that there was no consent: for example, where there is an abuse of power or an abuse of trust; where the complainant is under the age of 16 or lacks the mental capacity to consent to sexual activity. Also, one person cannot consent to sex on another person’s behalf, and sex that was obtained as a result of threats, violence or extortion will be found to be non-consensual.
The Criminal Code defines consent and provides examples of lack of consent in sexual assault cases. As with the definition of sexual assault, what constitutes lack of consent is further clarified and analyzed in many important court decisions from all over the country.
- 273.1 (1) Meaning of “consent” – Subject to subsection (2) and subsection 265(3), “consent” means, for the purposes of sections 271, 272 and 273, the voluntary agreement of the complainant to engage in the sexual activity in question.
- (2) Where no consent obtained- No consent is obtained, for the purposes of sections 271, 272 and 273, where
- (a) the agreement is expressed by the words or conduct of a person other than the complainant.
- (b) the complainant is incapable of consenting to the activity.
- (c) the accused induces the complainant to engage in the activity by abusing a position of trust, power or authority.
- (d) the complainant expresses, by words or conduct, a lack of agreement to engage in the activity.
- (3) Subsection (2) not limiting- Nothing in subsection (2) shall be construed as limiting the circumstances in which no consent is obtained.
265 (3) Consent- For the purposes of this section, no consent is obtained where the complainant submits or does not resist by reason of
- (a) the application of force to the complainant or to a person other than the complainant.
- (b) threats or fear of the application of force to the complainant or to a person other than the complainant.
- (c) fraud; or
- (d) the exercise of authority.
Bail is the means by which a defendant charged with a criminal offence can get released from custody before trial. A recognizance is a form of bail. There are several types of bail. The least intrusive is when the police give you a document requiring you to appear in court to answer to the charges. This document can take several forms: a Summons, a Promise to Appear or an Appearance Notice. While you are required to follow the document’s instructions, it does not contain any bail restrictions or make you or a surety liable to lose any money.
An Undertaking is a document where you formally promise to attend court on a certain date, and to follow its conditions, such as abstaining from contact with certain people, not having any weapons in your possession, or avoiding certain places. It is considered to be a step up from a Summons or Appearance Notice, and if you do not follow its conditions, you can be charged with breaching the Undertaking. No money is on the line, and no surety is required to guarantee the bail.
A Recognizance is the most formal type of bail. It can only be granted by a court, which means that you will stay in police custody until they can get you to court, up to 24 hours after arrest. A recognizance requires you to promise formally to the court that you will follow its conditions, and failure to do so will result in criminal charges of breaching a court order, and will make it more difficult to get out on bail next time. In addition, the promise to the court is backed up by a sum of money which can be forfeited to the government if the bail conditions are not followed. There are two types of recognizance: one where you alone make the promise to the court, which is usually backed up by a liability of $500, which you stand to lose if you breach the order; and one where you need another person to supervise you while on bail. That supervisor is called a surety, and the surety will stand to lose the amount of money pledged to the court on your behalf. That amount of money can vary depending on the seriousness of the offence and other perceived risk factors.
A surety is a person who is approved by the court as your supervisor while on bail. The surety is someone who knows you well, usually a family member or close friend. A surety formally promises to the court to be familiar with your conditions, to discuss them with you, and to make sure that you are following them. A surety has to be prepared to take the difficult step of notifying the court or the police if you fail to live up to your promises. A surety also stands to lose the sum of money pledged if s/he does not supervise properly, a process known as estreatment. That sum of money pledged can be as low as $500 or as high as several hundreds of thousands of dollars for the most serious cases. Often, a surety has to pledge the equity in their home to guarantee bail, which illustrates how serious this commitment is.
If the police are not prepared to release you from the station on a Promise to Appear, Appearance Notice, or an Undertaking, then you will be taken to court for a formal bail hearing known as a show cause hearing. In court, the Crown will review the file and make a decision as to whether to try to keep you in jail or agree to release you. An agreement to release you is known as a consent release. A consent release will be the result of negotiations between the Crown and defence. While it is tempting at this stage to accept whatever the Crown is offering, a good lawyer will make sure that the conditions imposed on you are the least onerous ones possible, to give you the maximum flexibility and breathing room while you fight the case. It is not easy to change bail conditions later on, so it is important to get the best bail terms early on: conditions that do not unnecessarily limit your ability to work or cut you off from contact with your children or force you to live away from home, for example.
There are many different types of bail conditions, depending on the situation. Most bail conditions are designed to address the main concerns listed in the Criminal Code, and can include:
- a requirement that you live with your surety;
- a prohibition on contact with the victim or witnesses;
- a prohibition on being at certain locations;
- a weapons prohibition;
- a curfew;
- a prohibition on consuming alcohol or illegal drugs;
- a requirement that you seek or maintain employment or attend school.
It is not easy to change your bail conditions, which is why it is important to hire a lawyer who will get the bail terms right the first time. There are three ways to get a change in your conditions:
- Apply to the Crown for a bail variation; you only get one chance at this, and it must be done properly, after disclosure has been received, and with the appropriate submissions made to the Crown in writing. A quick request made on the fly by counsel at a pre-trial or on the telephone is not the right way to do it;
- Apply to the court for a special bail hearing at the conclusion of a preliminary inquiry [see The Court Process]; this is rare and only takes place in serious indictable matters where there is a material change in circumstances;
- Apply to the Superior Court for a bail review.
A bail review is a special procedure which is partly an appeal from your detention order at the original bail hearing, and partly a new bail hearing, known as a hearing de novo. A bail review is a complex and formal procedure, with very specific rules about the documents and information required. For example, unlike a regular bail hearing in the Ontario Court of Justice, to apply for a bail review in the Superior Court, you will need sworn affidavits from your sureties, and transcripts of the original bail hearing, certified by the court reporter, as well as a book of documents known as an Application Record. Bail reviews are time- consuming and expensive, which is why it is worth taking the time and expense to hire a proper lawyer to prepare and conduct your bail hearing, rather than rushing into an improvised show cause with some overworked Legal Aid duty counsel.
Unless you are under 18 [see Youth Court/Young Offenders], you only get once chance to seek bail, which is why it has to be handled by a lawyer with the skill and experience to do it properly. If you are unfortunate enough to be detained in custody following an unsuccessful bail hearing, you have three options:
- Apply to the Crown for a consent release where there is a material change in circumstances (rare);
- Apply to the court for a special bail hearing at the conclusion of a preliminary inquiry [see The Court Process];this is rare and only takes place in serious indictable matters where there is a material change in circumstances;
- Apply to the Superior Court for a “bail review” (time-consuming and expensive: see above).
If you are released on bail, you will be bound by the bail conditions until the case is finished; that means until either:
- the charges are withdrawn;
- you plead guilty and are sentenced;
- the trial verdict is in and you are found Not Guilty;
- the trial verdict is in and you are sentenced, (if you are found Guilty).
Because it can take a year or more for your case to be complete, your bail conditions will be hanging over your head for a long time, and if you violate them, you could spend the rest of the case in jail. It is important that you have an experienced lawyer to handle your bail hearing right from the outset, so that you get bail and so that your bail terms are not unfair, unworkable or too inconvenient.