Criminal Lawyers in Toronto
Being charged with a criminal offence can be one of the most difficult periods of a person’s life. A time when you feel helpless, lost and worried. Many of us spend our lives working to achieve certain goals, whether they be employment, family, education or immigration. You can spend decades working towards these personal accomplishments, only to find them beginning to evaporate in front of you, almost instantly.
Being accused of committing an unlawful act is stressful and potentially life altering. You will find it becomes tempting to make emotional decisions, but these are often counterproductive and potentially damaging. Just like in any aspect of life, whether it be financial or personal, combining important decision making with emotion can be dangerous. It’s important to get legal advice quickly and prior to any decisions.
Fortunately, there are legal protections in place designed to ensure that an accused is treated fairly and only judged on reliable evidence. This ensures you have certain rights and protections when facing prosecution.
Donich Law has earned a reputation as a trusted risk management and litigation Law Firm built on hard work, results and individualized client service.
Who We Are
Donich Law is a trusted Criminal, Regulatory and Civil Defence Law Firm in Toronto. We are hardworking, detailed and dedicated people by nature, which is reflected in our work. We provide individualized client service and select the work we enjoy. This philosophy enables us to maintain client expectations for both excellent legal services and results.
When we are hired, we become part of your family. Our clients choose us because they want people with good work ethic, relevant experience, and a proven history of results. They want to keep their problems secret, many times even within their own family or community. It is not uncommon for us to be the only other people with whom a client shares his or her legal issue. Our customers choose us to protect everything they have worked for, including their education, money, employment, reputation, or immigration. When we work for you, we inherit the responsibility of protecting those interests.
Most of the time we deliver results without the time and costs associated with a trial. We deploy resources quickly and effectively which enables our customers to save time, stress and money. Our background in business has made it natural for us to negotiate and position tailored legal solutions.
We have conducted trial litigation throughout Ontario, represented the interests of legal insurance plan members, corporations and been consulted by in-house legal counsel. The Firm is also regularly sought after for legal opinion in local and national media.
What We Do
We have an accomplished background in Criminal, Civil and Regulatory Defence throughout Ontario. We enjoy being successful and are careful about our work, clients and caseload. The Firm has been trusted to defend complex criminal offences including fraud, theft, assault, sexual assault and internet crime. We have discreetly shielded professionals from prosecution, some of whom are nurses, doctors, dentists, bankers, union members, accountants, professional athletes, actors, firefighters or law enforcement personnel. Our Firm has defended civil claims in the millions and discreetly settled matters for clients concerned about public discovery.
Many of the Firm’s complex trials are conducted with both Jordan Donich and Stuart O’Connell, counsel in association with the Firm. The combination of these two lawyers provides the right chemistry between strategy, negotiation and commanding academic knowledge of the law. Jordan Donich is a good tactician, negotiator and salesman, having come to the practice of law from a successful career in business. Stuart O’Connell was a law school professor at the University of Ottawa, writes a successful legal blog, and is presently authoring a legal practitioner’s handbook.
Jordan Donich is a black belt in Karate and has been trained in Krav Maga, he also won a gold medal in Team Kumite at the Canadian National Championships. Stuart O’Connell has also practiced Krav Maga and was a light heavyweight boxer who fought a Dublin’s National Stadium in Ireland. Together the Firm makes your worries its problems.
Some of our practice areas include: Arson, Assault, Bail, Child Pornography, Dangerous Driving, Domestic Assault, Drugs, Extortion, Fraud, Harassment, Human Trafficking, Impaired Driving, Importing Offences, Indecent Acts, Luring, Mischief, Murder, Record Suspension Appeals, Revenge Porn, Sexual Assault, Sexual Exploitation, Sexual Interference, Shoplifting, Theft, Voyeurism, Weapons and Young Offenders.
We also represent the interest of Accountants, Dentist, Doctors, Massage Therapist, Nurses, Opticians, Pharmacists, Physiotherapists, Sexual Assault Defendants, Social Workers, Teachers, University Students, and Veterinarians.
The Essential Elements of a Criminal Offence
In R v Foster, 2018 ONCA 53, the Ontario Court of Appeal offered a valuable overview of the essential elements that comprise a criminal offence in Canada. Every criminal offence has an actus reus (physical) and a mens rea (mental) requirement.
It is a fundamental principle of our criminal justice system that an individual shall not be convicted of a criminal offence unless the Crown can prove beyond a reasonable doubt both the actus reus and the mens rea of the offence. To prove the actus reus of the offence, the Crown must prove that the accused engaged in conduct in circumstances forbidden by the criminal law. In other words, the Crown must prove that the accused committed the act or omission that constitutes the crime as charged. To prove the mens rea of the offence, the Crown must prove that the accused had a defined state of mind in relation to the prohibited conduct. In other words, the accused intended to commit the crime or was reckless or willfully blind in relation to their actions.
In addition to the Crown proving the necessary actus reus and mens rea of the offence, the Crown must also prove that the actus reus and mens rea coincided with one another. As outlined by the Supreme Court in R. v. Cooper,  1 S.C.R. 146, the Crown must be able to identify the beginning and end of the actus reus and must then prove that the mens rea occurred at some point after the actus reus began, but before it ended.
In some situations, the conjunction of the actus reus and mens rea does not terminate the offence. The actus rea and the mens rea continue to exist together. These offences are described as continuing offences. An example of a continuing offence is the offence of possession, as the individual continues to have possession (the actus reus) and continues to intend to have possession (the mens rea). The state of criminality exists as long as the offence continues. Visit our legal resources page for more information on your particular offence.
In all criminal prosecutions in Canada the burden of proof lies solely with the Crown to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defendant committed the offence as accused. This burden of proof means that the Crown must present evidence to convince the Court with almost certainty that the accused committed the offence. There can be no doubt in the Court’s mind that the accused is guilty. The defendant on the other hand, is under no obligation to present any evidence at trial and can simply argue that the Crown has failed to meet her burden by failing to convince the Court.
The criminal standard of proof, beyond a reasonable doubt, can be distinguished from the civil law standard which is proof on a balance of probabilities. In a civil case, the plaintiff need only convince the Court that the respondent more likely than not committed the act or omission that is the subject of the lawsuit.
What Must the Police tell me Upon Arrest?
Section 10(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees all Canadians the right, upon arrest or detention, to be informed promptly of the reason thereof and to retain and instruct counsel without delay and be informed of that right.
According to the Supreme Court of Canada in R. v. Manninen (1987), section 10(b) guarantees a detainee’s right to be informed of his rights and obligations under the law and to obtain advice on how to exercise those rights. The rights created under section 10(b) attach immediately upon detention, subject only to legitimate concerns for public or officer safety.
Police officers generally have a script, written on a small laminated card, that they will read to an individual who is being detained. Though this script may differ slightly between jurisdictions, all scripts must include the following cautions:
1. You are being arrested for the following offence(s).
2. You have the right to retain and instruct counsel without delay.
3. You have the right to make a phone call to a lawyer of your choice.
4. If you are ultimately charged with an offence you have (i) the right to apply for Ontario Legal Aid for assistance and (ii) you have the right to free and immediate legal advice from duty counsel by making a free telephone call during business hours and non-business hours.
5. The Officer will then ask the detainee whether they understand these rights and whether they wish to contact a lawyer.
6. The Officer will caution the detainee that they need not make any statements and that any statements made can and will be used against them as evidence.
7. The Officer will then ask again whether the detainee understands.
8. Finally, the Officer will caution the detainee that anything that was previously said to the detainee should not influence their decision or compel them to say anything to the Officer.
If the detainee felt as though anything had influenced or compelled them to say something earlier, they are not obliged to say anything further to Officers. The detainee will then be asked for a final time whether or not they understand their rights.
It is important that the Officer informs the detainee not only of their right to consult counsel, but also of the reasons for their arrest or detention. An individual is not obliged to submit to an arrest or detention that they do not know the reason for and further, an individual cannot exercise their right to counsel in a meaningful way if they are not fully informed of the legal jeopardy they are in.
In other words, the detainee cannot get meaningful legal advice if they are unaware of the charges against them and what is at stake.
Consequences of a Criminal Record
A criminal record is a record of an individual’s criminal activity. A criminal record will always include criminal convictions registered against an individual and may also include other court records such as non-convictions (acquittals, discharges, withdrawn charges), and police records such as fingerprints, photographs or 911 calls.
Whether or not a non-conviction or police record will appear on a criminal record check will depend largely on the type of record check being conducted. The policies of the police department holding the information may also affect whether or not non-conviction information is disclosed in a record check.
If you’re concerned about whether or not your non-conviction or police record information will appear in a record check, you may attend your local police department and request they run their most comprehensive criminal record check. This will help to determine what will appear. It is possible to have non-conviction and police records destroyed.
Impacts of a Criminal Conviction
Having a Criminal Record can negatively impact various aspects of an individual’s life including employment, education, travel and immigration.
The employment consequences associated with being charged with a criminal offence can vary greatly depending on the seriousness of the allegations, whether or not a conviction results, and the type of employment position the individual holds. An employer can terminate an employee even if the charge did not result in a conviction or is outstanding.
In situations where the individual charged is a professional such as a doctor, account, pharmacists, physiotherapist or nurse, criminal charges may adversely impact the individual’s ability to practice their profession. In many cases regulatory bodies will become involved and impose sanctions of their own when one of their Members is criminally charged, especially where the charges are related to the individual’s profession. Prospective employers may also be reluctant to hire individuals with criminal records or a prior history. It is important to note that the Human Rights Code prohibits employers from discriminating against individuals on the basis of a criminal record where the individual has been granted a pardon.
Having a criminal record can also have serious educational impacts depending on the nature of the charges. For example, a student charged with a sexual assault contrary to a college or universities sexual violence policy may be expelled from their current institution.
A criminal record can also have negative impacts on an individual’s ability to travel outside of Canada. Many countries prohibit those who have been convicted of certain crimes from entering their borders. Specifically, the United States restricts entry to anyone who has been convicted of a crime of moral turpitude, which is very broadly defined.
The possible immigration consequences associated with being convicted of a criminal offence can be of the most serious. A permanent resident who is convicted of a serious crime may have their permanent resident status revoked and be deported. Even being charged with a minor offence can result in serious delays or even denials on a citizenship application.
It is important to get legal advice early to best protect your interests.
Where We Work
Although we are based in downtown Toronto, we regularly travel for work throughout Ontario. We represent Quebec residents in French requiring legal services in Ontario and have assisted lawyers for matters in other Provinces, including British Columbia.
Some of the communities in Ontario we services include: Alexandria, Barrie, Belleville, Blind River, Bracebridge, Bradford, Brampton, Brockville, Burlington, Chatham, Cobourg, Cochrane, Cornwall, Exeter, Fort Francis, Goderich, Guelph, Hamilton, Hearst, Kenora, Kingston, Kirkland Lake, Kitchener, Leamington, Lindsay, London, L’Original, Meagamow Lake, Midland, Milton, Napanee, Newmarket, North Bay, Orangeville, Orillia, Oshawa, Ottawa, Owen Sound, Parry Sound, Pembroke, Perth, Peterborough, Sarnia, Sault Ste. Marie, Simcoe, Sioux Lookout, St. Catharines, St. Thomas, Stratford, Sturgeon Falls, Sudbury, Thunder Bay, Timmins, Walkerton, Welland, Windsor and Woodstock