We assist individuals – adults and youth – facing criminal charges under the Criminal Code of Canada, the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and other laws. We can offer advice and representation at any stage of the proceedings, including pre-charge assistance if you are the subject of an investigation. If you’ve already been charged with an offence, we can assist with:

  • bail hearings
  • trials
  • guilty pleas
  • sentencing
  • constitutional challenges
  • appeals

Understanding your charges

Criminal charges in Canadian law can be more or less serious. More serious charges, known as indictable offences, can lead to longer sentences, while summary conviction offences carry shorter maximum penalties. All criminal charges are first heard in the BC Provincial Court, and summary conviction offences remain in that court, with all trials or guilty pleas presided over by a single judge. Those charged with some indictable offences have the right to a jury trial in the BC Supreme Court and can choose whether they wish to be tried by a judge or jury.

However, most offences in the Criminal Code of Canada are actually hybrid offences, meaning that it is up to the prosecutor (or Crown counsel) to decide how to proceed with the case, that is whether to proceed by indictment or summary conviction.

Criminal convictions can have serious immigration consequences for permanent and temporary residents, including deportation. However, it may be possible to structure a plea and/or sentence in such a way that the negative consequences of a criminal conviction are reduced or eliminated for such individuals. It is strongly recommended that non-citizens who are charged with a criminal offence seek legal advice before going to trial or pleading guilty.