If I am innocent, should I still get a lawyer?

By Last Updated: March 16, 2022

If you have been charged with a criminal offence, or suspect that you are being investigated for a criminal offence, you should still get a lawyer even if you are innocent. While it might seem safe to assume that any investigation of your supposed involvement in a crime will end once you tell the police that you are innocent, this is simply not the case. With many offences, the mere allegation that you committed the offence is enough for the police to lay a charge against you, or at least to begin seriously investigating you.

In the heat of the moment, for example, an angry partner might call the police and allege that you pushed him or her down a flight of stairs. In reality it may be the case that they fell down the stairs in a state of drunkenness but decided to call the police and make a false allegation of domestic assault because they were mad at you. The police will attend the scene and, upon seeing your partner’s injuries and discovering that you had in fact been involved in an argument with them, will almost certainly arrest you for domestic assault. Simply asserting your innocence in such a situation will not be enough for you to avoid being arrested. Indeed, even if the complainant ultimately decides that he or she does not wish to press charges, the Crown Prosecutor will most likely seek your conviction nonetheless. Without a lawyer helping you to address the charges, you can be brought to trial where the outcome will rest on a contest of credibility between you and the complainant. Without a lawyer, this is a very precarious situation to be in, particularly since a skilled and experienced Crown Prosecutor will be using highly developed legal skills to pursue your prosecution.

As such, even if you are innocent it is in your utmost best interest to retain a criminal defence lawyer immediately. A criminal defence lawyer will be able to readily spot evidentiary weaknesses in your disclosure, and use these weaknesses to dismantle the case against you. If you were brought to trial, your lawyer can used refined trial advocacy skills to damage the credibility of witnesses that testify against you, and raise legal arguments that will demonstrate your innocence and secure your acquittal.

While Canada’s justice system is arguably one of the best in the world, it is an unfortunate fact that innocent people are sometimes wrongfully convicted here even when they have strong evidence of their innocence like alibis, or even when there is no concrete evidence of their guilt. Because your innocence is at stake the moment criminal charges have been laid against you, it is in your best interest to immediately obtain professional legal assistance to ensure you are not falsely convicted of a crime.

About The Author

Michael Oykhman

Managing Partner

Michael Oykhman is a senior lawyer and founder of Strategic Criminal Defence, a full-service criminal law firm with central law offices across Western Canada and Ontario.

My professional experience consists of countless court appearances and thousands of successful defences and satisfied clients. Over the last 10 years, I have worked to build a law office where all the lawyers share our collective experience, resources, and passion to help people. Our team approach to legal representation is client–rather than only law–centred. We look for opportunities to add value to our clients through strategic thinking and creative solutions.

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