4 Things You Need to Tell Your Lawyer

Self-identify yourself

The Canadian justice system has begun to recognize traditional disadvantages that exist within it.  This is especially important to individuals who self-identify as Aboriginal but also applies to other groups who have been unfairly disadvantaged by the justice system.  There is no hard and fast rule about who is or isn't a part of any group so if you self-identify then that is sufficient.  This can include groups that you identify based on race, heritage, sexuality or anything else.  Your lawyer can review with you how this may or may not be applicable in your particular offence and your particular circumstances.  However, if you do not bring it up you may never realize how important it is.

Immigration issues

If you are not a citizen of Canada then you need to raise this with your lawyer immediately.  Even rather minor offences can lead to deportation or halting of immigration proceedings for anyone who is not a citizen.  This includes, but is not limited to, refugees, permanent residents, students, visitors and many others.

Mental health or addiction issues

Mental health and addiction issues are often a root cause of otherwise criminal action.  Depending on the nature and severity of your charges and your health issues, there may be more options available to help treat your illness rather than criminalize you for health issues.  Make sure you bring any issues to your lawyer's attention and they can help determine the best use to be made of the information.

Special circumstances

Everyone is unique and sees things differently.  It is important that if there is any sentencing issue that you are more worried about than others to be identified to your lawyer.  I have had clients who would rather go to jail than lose their license while others would happily not drive to avoid jail.  Your preferences are what matters and only if you tell your lawyer will they know.  This includes issues regarding jail, fines, probation, DNA or weapons orders, driving prohibition, criminal record or anything else you are worried about.

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