Skip to main content


What happens when you are charged with a criminal offence?

When you are charged with a criminal offence, you have been formally accused of committing a crime under the Criminal Code of Canada. You will now have to navigate the court process. This procedure is complete once the courts either determine you are innocent or you are convicted and found guilty.

As soon as you have been charged with a criminal offence, it is in your best interest to phone the team at Roulston Urquhart.

At your first court appearance, the charges will be read against you for your understanding. You will have the opportunity to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty.

If you plead guilty, the Justice may schedule a future date for sentencing. If you enter a plea of not guilty, you will continue with the court process and potentially to trial. If further negotiation with the Crown Prosecutor does not result in an offer that is acceptable to you then a trial date will be set. At trial, the Crown Prosecutor will argue evidence to prove that you committed the crime. Depending on the type of alleged crime, a Justice or jury will conclude if you are guilty based on the evidence presented.

Wouldn’t it be less expensive for me to hire a non-criminal lawyer?

Other lawyers practice in various areas of law. At Roulston Urquhart, we specialize only in criminal defence law. This sets our firm apart. We have a familiarity with the Crown Prosecutors and Judges, along with an exceptional understanding of the criminal court system. It is imperative to your criminal case and likelihood of success that you retain a lawyer with expert knowledge and experience defending criminal cases.

How much do your services cost?

At Roulston Urquhart Criminal Defence we provide the client with a variety of fee options. We will request a retainer from you in the range of $1,500.00 to $3,500.00 depending on the lawyer you wish to hire. We will find the best fit for you based upon your finances and we can then assist with working out payment arrangements for next steps and further fees. If you qualify, certain lawyers at our firm may represent you through Legal Aid. Call Legal Aid to discuss eligibility based upon your personal finances.

Even if I know I won’t get jail time, do I still have to hire a criminal lawyer?

You may still obtain a criminal record even if you do not complete jail time when convicted. These potential consequences to employability and travel, present a major concern for clients. Therefore, it is critical that if you are facing the risk of a criminal record, you contact our law office immediately.

After I have been criminally charged, how often will I have to make court appearances?

Once we are retained, our firm will attend all court appearances on your behalf. This will be possible once you sign a Designation of Counsel document. This empowers your lawyer to act on your behalf. You will only have to attend court when ordered by the Justice or in the event of trial or resolution. Your matter is often adjourned at the initial stage to allow all disclosure, which is the evidence against you possessed by the Crown, to be reviewed by defence counsel. As well future adjournments may be set to allow for resolution discussions with the Crown Prosecutor.

How quickly can my case be resolved?

The timeline to the resolution of your case is dependent on the complexity. It may be as short as 2 to 3 months or take as long as 2 years. Beginning the process of negotiation relies on the time it takes to receive disclosure (the evidence against you) from the Crown. Cases may resolve quickly or require complicated and lengthy negotiations with the Crown. You will receive instruction from your lawyer on how you can help facilitate the quickest resolution possible.

How often will I hear from you?

We will update you as to how your charges are progressing. We will review your disclosure (the evidence against you) and meet with you to give you a thorough and detailed legal opinion. We will devise a plan so that we can strategically and successfully defend the charges against you. We will keep you updated every step of the way.

Who will be handling my case?

At Roulston Urquhart Criminal Defence the lawyer you hired will be handling your case. That lawyer will be reviewing the disclosure (the evidence against you) and negotiating with the Crown Prosecutor to seek a resolution or conduct a trial.

The benefit of our firm is that we work collaboratively as a team to ensure every aspect of your case is considered to obtain the best outcome possible. A more junior lawyer may complete certain tasks under the advisement of seniority to reduce the total legal fees sought. However, the lawyer that you hire remains solely responsible for your file and will make all strategic choices for your matter.

Should I give a statement to the police?

You are not required to provide a statement to the police regarding the allegations against you. You must only provide the police with your basic information. This includes your name, birth date, and address.We advise our clients not to provide a statement to the police as anything you say may be used to seek a conviction. Since you will be in a high stress situation when speaking with the police, it is very difficult for a client to provide a thoughtful and complete answer. We will assess your situation and advise you on how to speak with the police, if necessary.

Do I have to go to trial if I have been criminally charged?

We will negotiate with the Crown Prosecutor to resolve your matter without the need for a time-consuming trial. Your lawyer at Roulston Urquhart will work diligently to consider all possibilities to receive the best resolution possible. If a resolution cannot be agreed upon, we will meticulously prepare your case to be in the best position possible to win at trial.

I’ve been charged with a criminal offence - what do I do now?

If you are facing any type of criminal charge, it is critical that you contact Roulston Urquhart Criminal Defence immediately. We will arrange an initial phone meeting with you as soon as possible to listen to your situation and review the process moving forward to fight your charges.

Follow these general guidelines after you have been arrested:

  1. Take photos of anything related to the alleged crime.
  2. Save all text messages, emails, Facebook messages, videos or statements from the complainant.
  3. Write down what happened. If this is a crime involving violence, assault or a sexual allegation, document all past incidents.
  4. Do not respond to any messages from the complainant. Note you should not block the complainant. Your lawyer will explain this step further during your initial consultation.
  5. Do not share information with your family and friends or other inmates related to your arrest.
  6. Send all proof of communication and pictures to your lawyer. You can also save it in on a virtual storage service such as the cloud or google drive to ensure it isn’t lost.

What types of criminal charges do the lawyers at Roulston Urquhart defend?

We have assisted clients that have been charged under all areas of criminal law. Over the years, the lawyers at Roulston Urquhart Criminal Defence have developed a strong reputation for assisting clients accused of sexual assault. We are also well known for our work representing clients with complex offences such as domestic assault, harassment, illegal possession of a firearm and drug offences.