Criminal Law

  • Serious Defence when You’ve been Charged with a Crime in Newmarket, York Region
  • Newmarket Criminal Defence Lawyers
  • Assault Charges, or Self-Defence?
  • Newmarket Domestic Assault
  • Fraud Charges in Newmarket and York Region
  • Gun and Weapons Offences in Newmarket
  • Newmarket Impaired Driving and DUI
  • Murder, Manslaughter, Homicide in Newmarket
  • Robbery, Theft, Burglary in Newmarket
  • Serious Financial Crimes in York Region
  • Sexual Assault in Newmarket
  • White Collar Crime in Newmarket, York Region
  • Youth Offences in Newmarket and across York Region

Criminal law is very complicated. Newmarket criminal defence lawyers at Shirtliff Hinds Law are the ones to call when you have been charged with any of these crimes:

  • Assault
  • Burglary
  • Criminal fraud
  • Drinking & driving offences, drunk driving, impaired driving, Driving Under Influence (DUI), marijuana and other drugs
  • Cybercrime
  • Disorderly conduct
  • Domestic violence, spousal assault, intimate partner assault
  • Embezzlement
  • Extortion
  • Gun & weapons offences
  • Forgery
  • Identity theft
  • Inside trading and other securities law violations
  • Labor law violations
  • Money laundering
  • Mortgage fraud
  • Murder & manslaughter
  • Real estate fraud
  • Robbery
  • Sexual assault
  • Stock manipulation, including Ponzi schemes
  • Theft
  • Youth offences
  • Vandalism

…and more.

Some of what a Newmarket criminal lawyer at Shirtliff Hinds Law does on behalf of our criminal law clients:

  • Our lawyers enter into discussions with the specific Crown Attorney, Judges, and the ministry prosecution teams for a resolution our client will find favorable.
  • On many occasions, the goal is having the charges withdrawn.
  • Dissecting disclosure and championing your rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
  • Disclosure is the process where Crown Attorneys provide the defendants with copies of evidence against the accused. Newmarket criminal lawyers at Shirtliff Hinds Law, for instance, now have the opportunity and obligation to examine the disclosure (evidence) carefully, and work with our clients on countering or explaining the Crown’s case.
  • Matching the charges and the discovery with the various client’s rights as contained in Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
  • Depending on the nature of the case, Newmarket criminal lawyers at Shirtliff Hinds Law will build their own version of the case, placing our clients in the best possible light. Gathering evidence and building a strong case
  • Mounting a compelling defence at trial, and cross-examining investigating officers and civilian witnesses alike
  • Pursuing all avenues of appeal.
  • Gathering evidence and building a strong case.
  • Mounting a compelling defence at trial, and cross-examining officers, experts, and civilian witnesses alike.

Assault includes both the intentional application of force, or the threat of force, without consent. And that threat can be in the future. It’s possible to be arrested for assault even if there is no contact, because someone failed in an attempt to hit or hurt someone else. Even a shouting match can be considered an assault, lead to a criminal charge, and result in a criminal conviction. If you have been charged with assault, are about to be charged with assault, speak with a Newmarket criminal defence lawyer at Shirtliff Hinds Law as soon as possible.

At the heart of a complaint can be just the feeling of being threatened. You have the right to defend yourself, and that right permits you to use reasonable force. You can be acquitted even if you “won” a fight.

But to someone charged, an assault conviction can change their lives, leading to dismissal from their job, the inability to enter certain foreign countries, and even being blocked from going on school field trips with your children because you won’t pass the criminal background check. If you have been charged with assault, contact one of our Newmarket criminal lawyers at Shirtliff Hinds Law today.

Domestic assault charges resemble assault charges, with one major difference.

An incident as seemingly minor as a shouting match can be considered threatening, and therefore count as an assault. A police officer may use almost any incident as grounds for arrest. The alleged victim of the domestic assault has no say whether or not charges will be laid.

Once at a police station, the accused is supposed to be taken to bail court within 24 hours. Usually this means a night in jail. If bail is granted, there may be one visit home to pick up clothes and personal possessions.

Almost always the judge will order that there be no other contact between spouses until after the trial is completed. If there are children in the family, it may be necessary to involve a family law lawyer. Because Shirtliff Hinds Law has both criminal defence lawyers and family lawyers in Newmarket, coordinating is made somewhat easier. Contact one of our family lawyers in our Family Law Practice.

A Shirtliff Hinds Law lawyer acting for the accused will represent your position to the Crown Attorney, and do their best to eliminate or minimize charges if you have been accused of domestic assault.

Fraud is one of the most complicated areas of criminal law, and one of the hardest for a prosecutor to prove. In most cases, it involves examining and drawing conclusions from large quantities of business activity and financial transaction documents of the type that are hard to understand even when there is no criminality involved. And a fraud trial often involves a network of participants, some but not all of whom may be fraudsters, too.

It is often difficult for victims to get the attention of Crown Prosecutors and the police. Sometimes, a victim may take a case to Small Claims Court. But if the police decide to proceed, the matter becomes complicated to defend, and the quality of your criminal defence lawyer is important.

Fraud cases under $5,000 are either summary conviction offences or indictable offences. These are known as hybrid offences. A case proceeded by way of an indictable offence can result in sentences up to two years in custody. The same cases, if proceeding summarily, are tried without a jury and can result in sentences up to 6 months.

Shirtliff Hinds Law criminal lawyer with fraud expertise will help the accused understand that summary offences are still very serious, can destroy your future, and deserve skilled and experienced expense.

Fraud over $5,000 is considered an indictable offence, often requires a preliminary hearing (the government is trying to reduce preliminary hearings), and will involve a jury trial unless the defendant waives this right.

A fraud conviction can result in a sentence up to 14 years in prison.

Because fraud is based on a process of deception, the Newmarket criminal lawyers at Shirtliff Hinds Law representing the accused in fraud cases must be experienced in sorting out facts and presenting them to the judge and jury in an understandable way.

Wikibooks provides a great deal of specific fraud related information.

Canadians look south, and can easily get a confused idea of similarities and differences of laws relating to guns and other weapons. How do our laws in Canada compared to those of the U.S.A.? In broad strokes, our laws are much stricter, and Canadians often find themselves in trouble with the police when they treat a gun or other weapon in Canada as they have seen similar treatment in the U.S.A. If you, a friend or family member is suspected of a crime involving guns or other weapons, Newmarket criminal lawyers at Shirtliff Hinds Law urge you to contact us at the earliest opportunity. And we recommend that you do not talk about the situation with any police officer until you have talked to us.

In Canada, we have laws similar to “Reading your Miranda rights” you see on U.S. television. Police officers understand your rights, but may try to get you to incriminate yourself anyway.

You are required to provide your full name and address. Otherwise, wait for your lawyer to contact you. It is not necessary for the lawyer to meet you in jail initially. Contact can be by telephone.

Wikibooks provides intense details about guns and weapons law in Canada and Ontario. Police forces have special groups of officers who search out individuals and gangs they suspect of possessing guns for illegal purposes.

In Canada, being convicted of a firearms offence can easily mean a sentence sending you to prison for several years. If the gun was involved in another crime, for instance, in a drug deal or an extortion, sentences can be even more severe.

Under Canadian law, some of the crimes involving guns are:

  • Possession of Loaded Restricted or Prohibited Firearm
  • Careless Storage of a Firearm or Ammunition
  • Possession While Unauthorized
  • Pointing or Discharging a Firearm.

Gun laws refer to various types of firearms. In simplest terms, and under most circumstances, rifles and shotguns are widely permitted. Charges relating to illegal possession of firearms are very serious, and the accused needs experienced Newmarket criminal lawyers at Shirtliff Hinds Law in Newmarket.

  • There’s a restricted category that includes most handguns, whether called pistols, revolvers, semi-automatics, automatics (which are not automatics), and a variety of small-sized rifles and shot guns.
  • And the prohibited category includes machine guns and machine pistols, and rifles and shotguns that have been shortened. The so-called sawed-off shotgun. Also prohibited are semi-automatic guns that have been converted to fire repeated shots with only one trigger pull.
  • And small one-handed cross-bows are prohibited.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police Canadian Firearms Program makes it clear which guns are legal and which are not, under different circumstances.

Other weapons - Within the same legal practice area are crimes and charges related to other kinds of weapons. The Wikibooks pages go into considerable detail about what constitutes a weapon, including whether the public would consider it to be one.

The Newmarket criminal lawyers at Shirtliff Hinds Law acting on behalf of a client charged with a guns or weapon offence will be particularly knowledgeable about several areas of the related law:

  • What determines that the accused had possession or control of the firearm or weapon?
  • What legal technicalities apply? For instance, is the weapon really a weapon under the law? Does it meet the definition of a firearm?
  • And when the gun or weapon was discovered by the police, were all the rights of the accused respected by the law enforcement officers?

In Canada, the general concept of drunk driving or driving when lacking control due to taking drugs, is known as impaired driving. penalties increase commensurately as the damage or harm caused by the impaired driving incident and whether or not you have been convicted for similar offences in the past.

Similar penalties are applied if convicted of driving with a blood alcohol level which exceeds eighty milligrams of alcohol in one hundred milliliters of blood (.08).

Impaired driving involves some mandatory sentences. The minimum sentence is currently a $1,000 fine for the first offence, 30 days in jail for the second offence, and 120 days in jail for the third offence.

There are also specific offenses for "over 80" causing death or bodily harm and refusing to provide a sample where operation of a motor vehicle caused death or bodily harm to someone.

Wikibooks provides quite specific information on the powers of the police to gather evidence in impaired driving and over 80 offences, and details of the law.

Murder is treated with appropriate seriousness by Canadian courts. If a person is convicted of first-degree murder, they are sentenced to life with no eligibility of parole for a minimum of 25 years. And there is no guarantee the prisoner will be released then. If you are being charged with either murder or manslaughter, do not delay and contact one of our Newmarket criminal lawyers at Shirtliff Hinds Law.

If a person is responsible for the death of another, it does not matter whether there was any intention to cause death or if it was by accident. It is still a homicide. Homicides are divided into two categories: there is culpable homicide and non-culpable homicide. Death by accident is non-culpable homicide.

Culpable homicide refers to the types of homicide for which there are criminal penalties. It includes causing death:

  • by means of an unlawful act,
  • by criminal negligence,
  • by causing that human being, by threats or fear of violence or by deception, to do anything that causes his death, or
  • by willfully frightening that human being, in the case of a child or sick person.

These means of death are all categorized as either murder, manslaughter, or infanticide.

Wikibooks provides carefully researched information on homicide, manslaughter and murder in Canada.

The criminal law lawyers in Newmarket at Shirtliff Hinds Law with a particular expertise in culpable homicide can provide information that clears up many questions held by individuals accused of, or charged with, homicide. The sooner an accused in a culpable homicide engages a lawyer, the sooner a defence strategy can begin to be formed.

Police homicide detectives are the elite investigators. They will find out everything about you. And much of the evidence they gather will be available on the public record.

Murder trials take place in the public eye. The best crime and justice reporters in the country will cover your trial. And you will be in all the newspapers, TV, radio stations, and popular websites for weeks and perhaps months, depending on the length of your trial.

There are a variety of crimes related to the broad category of theft. Someone accused of theft in some form may be encouraged by the police to admit to the crime, plead guilty, and get the matter cleared up as soon as possible. The Newmarket criminal lawyers at Shirtliff Hinds Law urge you not to do this. While it may seem like a good idea in the short term, it can lead to serious problems later. A conviction for a criminal offense can prevent you getting a good job, from going on school trips with children, from crossing the border into the USA, and there are many more negative aspects. Please call a Shirtliff Hinds criminal lawyer if you have been accused of theft or been accused and then arrested.

Wikibooks has excellent information on theft, and related law enforcement and prosecution procedures.

It describes four ways a robbery can be committed. There is a wide range of objects that can be considered as a weapon, meeting the “armed” consideration. This is a shortened version of the list:

  • Violence to extort, or overcome resistance. Violence does not have to actually occur. The threat of violence is enough.
  • Personal violence at or near time of theft.
  • Assault with intent to steal.
  • Theft while armed.

Break and enter is a form of theft, with its own definitions. Break and enter offenses are divided into hybrid offences, if no dwelling is involved, and indictable offences, if they involve dwellings.

The most serious sentences relate to crimes where the accused breaks into a dwelling while believing people may be there, and the accused is prepared to use violence in robbing them. Often, these are called home invasions.

Summary offenses can result in six months in jail or a $5,000 fine. Indictable offenses can reach 10 years in non-dwelling cases, and life, if dwellings are involved.

Information on the various crimes considered under break and enter laws are on Wikibooks.

The police and the judicial system look at some financial crimes as being more serious than others. Altering a price tag—a common technique in shoplifting—is not looked at as seriously as falsifying the earnings on an investment so a broker can collect a bigger commission. One of the goals of serious financial crimes is to hide, for as long as possible, money is being stolen. People who commit financial crimes are also committing a long-term crime. If you are being charged with serious financial crimes, contact one of our Newmarket criminal lawyers at Shirtliff Hinds Law.

Tracking down serious financial crimes is challenging, and often several police departments work together. The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) are particular experts on this kind of crime. The RCMP have a major detachment in Newmarket.

A variety of criminal activities can qualify as serious financial crimes:

  • Extortion is using threats to force people to give you money or items of value, or take actions to your advantage.
  • Embezzlement is stealing from your employer, usually over time, with the intention that your employer will not notice.
  • Stock manipulation, including Ponzi schemes, is to misuse money given to the accused masquerading as professional investment advisors, falsifying the value of shares in a business.
  • Money laundering is a process where the accused can take “dirty” money obtained through crime and “launder” it so that it can move into the legal financial system. Computer systems and banking requirements make it difficult to collect money from illegal operations, and then spend it in large amounts. Some under-the-table transactions are small enough to be used for “groceries and gas” since they can be paid for in cash.
  • Insider trading is a crime where executives or advisors who are aware, because of their relationship with a publicly traded company, know information that is not available to other investors. Inside traders can buy or sell shares to take advantage of future good or bad news they know about before other investors.
  • Other securities law violations are as diverse as selling shares in businesses that do not exist, or lying about the prospects of a business in order to drive stock prices up.

At Shirtliff Hinds Law in Newmarket, our ability to combine the expertise of our criminal defence lawyers and our corporate, commercial and business lawyers gives us strength in planning defence strategy and tactics.

Sexual assault law is a variation on assault law, with some significant differences. A sexual assault is an assault in which the complainant's sexual integrity in violated. It is an assault whose essence requires touching at the least. The accused does not need to have a sexual purpose in the assault. Disciplining or humiliating a person in a sexual manner is a sexual assault. Even just suspecting that someone may make a sexual assault complaint against you is good reason to engage a Shirtliff Hinds Law criminal lawyer.

The impact on your life from just an accusation can be immense, perhaps starting with losing your job. The laying of a charge makes things worse, and you should get professional help to deal with the police and crown prosecutors.

As with most crimes, police and crown prosecutors must determine if a crime was committed, and if so, how serious was the incident. It should be remembered that in all criminal court cases, the victim has no standing in court. It is up to the Crown Prosecutor to advance the case based on the evidence presented. The victim becomes a witness, but not a participant in determining how to conduct the case. That’s up to the crown prosecutor.

Recently, there has been a major public interest development known as “unfounded” where journalists reported on assertions by the victim of a sexual assault who did not feel the police and Crown treated her complaint properly. One significant issue was the classifying by police that her complaint was unfounded, resulting in the case being closed.

The result of the media coverage and its accompanying political pressure was that hundreds of police departments reopened more than 37,000 cases of sexual assault cases across Canada. Police are now taking sexual assault more seriously than ever before.

Sexual assault cases can be considered summary matters or indictable matters, depending on their seriousness.

A summary conviction can result in imprisonment not exceeding 18 months, and if the complainant is under 16 years, a minimum sentence of six months. For an indictable offense, imprisonment not exceeding 10 years is possible, and if the complainant is under 16, there is a minimum one year sentence.

Wikibooks provides exhaustive detail on the intricacies of sexual assault law in Canada.

White collar crime is much like many kinds of fraud and serious financial crime, in that violence is not usually involved, and much of the activity is done out of sight. Like serious financial crime, police departments are understaffed with qualified investigators to deal effectively with white collar crime. And this means it can be very difficult for a victim to report a crime, and convince police to investigate. But when white collar crime charges are laid, it’s the result of very serious investigation, and if you find yourself charged, you will need highly qualified lawyers. Contact a Newmarket criminal lawyer at Shirtliff Hinds Law.

Identity theft, defined: Everyone commits an offence who knowingly obtains or possesses another person’s identity information in circumstances giving rise to a reasonable inference that the information is intended to be used to commit an indictable offence that includes fraud, deceit or falsehood as an element of the offence.

Interestingly, “identity information” is also defined as: Under Sections 402.1, 402.2, and 403 of the Criminal Code of Canada, “identity information” means any information—including biological or physiological information—of a type that is commonly used alone or in combination with other information to identify or purport to identify an individual, including a fingerprint, voice print, retina image, iris image, DNA profile, name, address, date of birth, written signature, electronic signature, digital signature, user name, credit card number, debit card number, financial institution account number, passport number, Social Insurance Number, health insurance number, driver’s licence number or password.

This definition shows the range of information that the law believes can lead to prosecution if it is stolen. And that sends a message to everyone; this is the kind of information you should protect.

More information on identity theft is provided by Wikibooks.

Cybercrime is another form of white collar crime that requires highly professional Newmarket criminal lawyers like those at Shirtliff Hinds Law. Laws relating to cybercrime are flexible and fluid. They can cover other crimes, like identity theft, and they can be restricted to online activity, such as possession of child pornography. And, of course, cybercrimes can be linked to, for lack of a better term, “real world” crimes such as insider trading, identity theft, and mortgage fraud, for example.

If you suspect that you may be charged with cybercrime activities, it is a good idea to proactively seek out a Shirtliff Hinds Law criminal lawyer and clear up matters in advance, or prepare for charges.

If the cyber crimes are of a sexual nature, you may face minimum jail terms, and are likely to be required to be listed in the National Sex Offender Registry. Depending on the sexual offence, you may be required to remain on the registry for 10 years, 20 years, or the rest of your life.

It should be noted that a lot of activities—legal, illegal and questionable—involve children and teenagers. Some aspects of online law have special procedures when minors are involved, either as victims or perpetrators.

Some teenagers run into trouble with the law for a variety of reasons: they are troubled; they need money for drugs; they do it on a “dare” to fit in with their peer group; they are testing parental and societal boundaries; and other reasons, too. The Youth Criminal Justice Act is designed to help young people cope with the justice system and get on with their lives in a positive way. This does not mean, however, that the police turn their heads when a teenager commits a crime. If you are a young person in trouble with the law, or the parent of such a person, please get in touch with Shirtliff Hinds Law, and consider hiring us to help.

A young person is defined in the Act as being the ages of 12 and 18: “young person means a person who is or, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, appears to be twelve years old or older, but less than eighteen years old and, if the context requires, includes any person who is charged under this Act with having committed an offence while he or she was a young person or who is found guilty of an offence under this Act.”

It is important the rights of young people, including the circumstances outlined by the act, are protected. At Shirtliff Hinds Law our Newmarket-based criminal defence lawyers always have your rights in mind.

We will protect your rights, work with the police and crown prosecutor to ensure you are treated fairly, and strive to minimize any penalties now and in the future.