When you are facing a criminal charge in Canada, you need to hire a competent attorney to represent you in court. But choosing the right one may prove difficult, because many will claim to possess the right skills to defend you efficiently.
Finding criminal attorneys is not hard. You just need to open a phone book or do an online search and you will get the names of scores of lawyers who operate in your area. However, a much better way to conduct the search is to define the crime you have been charged with and look for an attorney who practices in that specific field.
You can also inquire with people who have hired attorneys in the past. If you know attorneys in other areas, you can ask them to suggest a criminal lawyer for your defense. Law forums and blogs are also good platforms for finding a good attorney. Another approach is to go to the local court. It sounds odd, but you will get to see criminal lawyers in action there, which may help you choose. You can ask them about representation in the hallway or their chamber, doing away with the need to do a formal search – although do not be surprised if they are very busy and cannot give you a lot of time on the spot.
As for the attorney's fees, it depends on the complexity of the crime you are accused of.The payment is usually based on the type of charges and how many your attorney has to argue. There is also a considerable price difference between going to trial and submitting a plea agreement. Most lawyers charge a flat fee for certain types of case, which provides you with a clear legal cost rather than an open-ended one.
You need to discuss with your lawyer whether you should go to trial or negotiate a plea agreement. If you feel you are going to lose the case, submitting a plea agreement may well be the best option.
When you go to a lawyer for a preliminary discussion, be prepared to give the lawyer specific facts about the case so that they may have an idea how the case may go in the court. You cannot expect a busy attorney to spend hours discussing the facts. However, you must provide them with enough information so that they are able to give you accurate advice.
A good lawyer will spend anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour explaining how the case would move through the legal system, pointing out the most important choices and the odds. They will be clear with you regarding the possible outcome. They will talk openly about the merits and disadvantages of the case, without giving any assurance of the result. In fact, any attorney who talks about "guaranteed" results is the one you should probably avoid. Nothing is guaranteed in criminal law, and anyone who talks like that is compromising their clients' interests.
Whether you plan to hire a criminal lawyer in Toronto or any other city in Canada, you need to take these suggestions into account. It will help you hire a competent lawyer, optimizing the chances of getting a favorable outcome.