Violent Offences are very prevalent and heavily prosecuted crimes in Edmonton and in the rest of Alberta. In 2016 Statistics Canada reported a total of 52,866 violent Criminal Code violations. Of those incidents 38,020 resulted in convictions and 13,586 resulted in time spent in jail. The use of firearms in the commission of offences is also on the rise. According to the Edmonton Police Service’s 2017 Annual Policing Plan, between 2012 and 2015 there was an 80% increase in the use of guns in the commission of crimes in Edmonton and surrounding areas.
The term ‘Violent Offences’ refers to a number of very serious crimes including homicide, attempted murder, robbery, uttering threats, criminal harassment, and criminal confinement. Given the extremely serious nature of these offences, it is unsurprising that if you are convicted of a Violent Offence you will face an extremely high likelihood of time spent in jail. In fact, there are mandatory minimum sentences attached to many of these offences that will require you spend at least some time in jail.
The Investigation of Violent Offences in Edmonton
The investigation of a Violent Offence will vary depending on the specific offence and the nature of the evidence available to the police. Evidence of a Violent Offence can be either circumstantial or direct. Circumstantial evidence includes things like fingerprints or DNA found at the scene of a crime, while direct evidence includes things like photos or video that captured you committing the crime. Contrary to common belief, you can be convicted of a Violent Offence on circumstantial evidence alone. However, if the Crown is attempting to prosecute you only using circumstantial evidence, they will have to show that your guilt is the only reasonable inference that can be drawn from the evidence.
The Edmonton Police Service has a number of specialized units that are designed specifically to facilitate the investigation of violent offences. For example, the Forensic Identification Services Section (FISS) and the Crime Scenes Investigations Unit (CSIU) provide technical and forensic examination of physical evidence found at crime scenes for the Edmonton Police Service. They will help to uncover highly technical evidence by conducting bloodstain pattern analysis, firearms identification, and footwear pattern analysis. In addition to locating information integral to the investigation, officers from these specialized units will often be called as expert witnesses in trials for violent offences, and they will present information in court that can lead to your conviction.
If the police have sufficient evidence to reasonably believe that you have committed a Violent Offence, they will bring you into custody or put out a warrant for your arrest. Because Violent Offences are amongst the most serious in Canadian law, there is a high chance that you will spend time in jail prior to your trial. As such, if you know someone who is being accused of a Violent Offence, or you think that you may be charged for a Violent Offence, contact one of the criminal defence lawyers in our Edmonton office as soon as possible. After we have been retained, we will immediately begin working to facilitate your release so that you spend as little time in custody as possible.
Bail Conditions for Violent Offences in Edmonton
If you are released on bail for a Violent Offence, you can expect that the terms of your release will be very strict. You can anticipate that you will not be allowed to go anywhere near the complainants of the alleged offence, that you will be prohibited from possessing weapons, that you will be prohibited from consuming alcohol or drugs, and that you will be required to attend court as directed. If you fail to comply with any of these conditions, you will be charged with a new criminal offence and will almost certainly be brought back into custody with little prospect for release.
If you fail to get bail, you can anticipate that you will spend the majority of time waiting for your trial in custody at the Edmonton Remand Centre. Given that bail will be highly opposed by the Crown following a charge for a Violent Offence, your best chance of securing interim release is by hiring a criminal defence lawyer to assist you with this process. If the police and the Crown are seeking to keep you in pretrial custody, your first opportunity for release will be at your initial bail hearing within 24 hours of your arrest. After you are arrested, you can be held in the Arrest Processing Unit in the Edmonton Police Headquarters at 962-103A Avenue, Edmonton AB, T5H 0H7, until you are granted a bail hearing at the Edmonton Bail Hearing Office. The Edmonton Bail Hearing Office is located on the Main Floor, SW Exterior entry of the Brownlee Building at 10365 97 St NW. Here, bail hearings are held 24 hours a day, and you will appear before a justice of the peace over CCTV or over the telephone. Typically, you will not be given an opportunity to appear in person, and no judges or members of the public will be present at this hearing. If you are denied bail at this stage, your next opportunity for release will be during normal business hours when you can go before a judge at the courthouse for a second hearing. If you succeed at securing bail at either stage, before you can be released you or someone you know will have to post bail at the courthouse or the Edmonton Remand Centre. Without adequate representation at each stage post-arrest, you are at high risk for being held in custody for a prolonged period of time. If you anticipate that you or someone you know will require assistance with bail for a Violent Offence charge, contact one of the criminal defence lawyers at Oykhman Criminal Defence immediately. We will quickly take steps both inside and outside of court to secure your release, and will work to minimize undue restrictions on your liberty that are imposed on you by the conditions of your bail.
Defending Violent Offences in Edmonton
The best way to defend a charge for a Violent Offence depends heavily on the specific offence that you have been charged with. However, one of the most effective way for us to defend a Violent Offence charge is by arguing that the evidence that was collected against you was gathered in violation of your Charter rights. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms ensures that those charged with an offence have certain legal rights, like the right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure, the right to be informed of the reasons for your arrest, the right to counsel, and the right to be free from arbitrary detention. When the police gather evidence in violation of one or more of those rights, (say, by obtaining a confession prior to providing you with your right to counsel), we can argue that this evidence was unlawfully obtained and should be excluded from your trial. If successful, we can exclude a significant amount of evidence from your trial and greatly reduce your likelihood of being found guilty of a violent offence. In addition to Charter defences, there is also the potential of raising a very wide range of statutory and common law defences at trial. Some examples of potential defences include arguing that the Crown has failed to prove identity beyond a reasonable doubt, arguing that you had a lawful excuse for your actions, and arguing that you did not have the mental intent required to be found guilty for the offence. Given that the penalty for many of these offences is a lengthy period of time spent in jail, if you or someone you know might be charged with a Violent Offence, contact one of the Criminal Defence Lawyers in our office immediately. We will be able to begin working immediately to secure bail if needed, and to ensure that you are provided with the fullest and most effective defence possible.
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