If you are facing a driving offence in Ontario, Canada it is reasonable to expect that someone in the industry can provide you with a quote and some indication as to the likely outcome of your case. There are however a few important considerations to bear in mind… First, a full legal opinion cannot be provided until the Lawyer or Paralegal has reviewed the Crown file, a copy of which is available to the defence, referred to as disclosure. Second, it must be understood that in court there can be no absolute guarantee, and you should be suspicious of anyone who offers you one – in fact, to do so is prohibited by Law Society rules. Third, not all services are the same, any more than all Athletes, Carpenters, or Architects are the same. It takes training, time and experience to develop the skills needed to properly manage court files. In addition, time spent on the case is a significant component of success; so be wary of fees that are well below industry norms, you usually get what you pay for.
Having said that most experienced Firms know what sort of time frame is involved in properly managing cases, the field is competitive, and most will offer block/fixed fees to take the guess work out of what the service will cost. Generally, paralegal services are relatively inexpensive and the outcomes achieved can be very beneficial to the client. My belief is that it is frankly foolish for people to try to represent themselves in Court. Even if the person thinks they did a great job, how would they ever know if they are right? If a person represents him or herself and agrees to a Prosecutor’s offer to plead guilty to a lesser offence, even if they are happy with the result it does not mean that they did a good job. Maybe the charge should have been eliminated instead? How would they know?
On occasion we get inquiries from people looking for free advice on complicated questions unrelated to a current charge, or potential appeal. Please do not send us these inquiries… Anytime we give legal advice there is liability created for that advice. It is an expected part of the process of what we do, that the initial advice is free, how else are people going to be able to make an informed decision? But, the expectation is that we are giving that advice in anticipation that the client will hire us if they choose to defend the case. Asking a professional for advice without any chance for remuneration is asking a person to assume liability without any potential to be paid for their time and advice. Time and advice are our stock in trade. If you are facing a charge, or wish to discuss an appeal on a recent matter, call or email us. You will get honest, candid advice and if you wish to proceed we hope you will hire us to look after your case. If you hire us, we will do everything possible to achieve the very best outcome possible for you. We have an incredible Team of full-time dedicated professionals and this is what we do.
Kevin Burrows, President, Ticket Defenders Professional Corporation