There are Two Sides to Every Story – You Need an Experienced Defence Counsel Telling Yours
Vancouver Criminal Defence Lawyer Emmet J. Duncan provides criminal and regulatory defence for clients charged with any Criminal Code offence and many offences under different Federal and Provincial statutes including the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Income Tax Act, securities legislation, environmental and safety legislation and motor vehicle statutes including the provincial Motor Vehicle Act. Some of the main Criminal Code offences which Mr. Duncan defends against are as follows:
Driving offences include both Criminal Code impaired driving and over .08 offences, dangerous driving, and failing to remain at the scene of an accident. These allegations will often be aggravated by an accusation that there was bodily harm or death associated to the driving as well. Mr. Duncan also defends Clients charged with all manner of Motor Vehicle Act and other regulatory driving offences including prohibited, suspended and disqualified driving as well as traffic and speed violations, which may be critical to whether a Client is able to retain his or her licence to drive.
Mr. Duncan also maintains a busy practice assisting Clients who receive roadside prohibitions under the Province of British Columbia’s relatively new administrative drinking and driving regime. Known as either Administrative Roadside Prohibitions (“ARPs”) or, more commonly as Immediate Roadside Prohibitions (“IRPs”), these are on-the-spot suspensions that police officers impose in certain drinking-and-driving scenarios. The consequences, however, are far-ranging and include not only 3, 7, 30 or 90 day prohibitions, but also vehicle impoundment at the driver’s expense, and the imposition of “driver improvement action”, in the form of mandatory counselling (again, at the driver’s expense) as well as the mandatory installation, maintenance and monitoring of ignition inhibitors (once again, at the driver’s expense). This regime has recently come under sustained criticism from the Supreme Court of British Columbia, and drivers who receive IRPs or ARPs are very well advised to obtain sound legal assistance as quickly as possible.
Drug offences are becoming more common and along with them, drug prosecutions. Criminal offences arising from possession, trafficking and production of drugs such as marihuana, cocaine, heroin, ketamine, methamphetamine, oxycodone and oxycontin are handed by the federal prosecution service, and are prosecuted very aggressively. It is important to obtain good legal advice as quickly as possible, as there are numerous defences, particularly given the changes in the medical marijuana regime, which may be used for a Client’s benefit. In addition, there are many technical issues that arise in drug prosecutions, especially relating to the way that evidence may have been collected, and whether that was fair to the accused. In many cases, a skilful attack on the way the police investigation was conducted can lead a Court to exclude critical evidence, including the drugs themselves, and a not guilty finding (acquittal) follows. A small sampling of these issues include:
- Search warrant issues
- Issues arising under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms; and
- Wire tap issues
Violent offences are what people first think of when they hear the term “criminal law.” For most of his career, Emmet J. Duncan has either prosecuted or defended charges alleging violence, including:
- Spousal assault / domestic violence
- Assault causing bodily harm
- 810 peace bonds
- Assault with a weapon
- Aggravated assault
- Uttering threats
- Murder (First Degree Murder, Second Degree Murder and Manslaughter)
The stakes are always high when violence is alleged. Being branded a criminal is bad enough, but being branded a “violent criminal” can affect a person for the rest of his or her life, whether just in dealing with police, or in obtaining employment or traveling. It is vital to obtain the best defence possible.
The spectre of “sexual assault” haunts any person accused of committing it. The offence is inherently serious and besides the label of “sexual offender”, people convicted of sexual offences are usually placed on a national sex offender’s registry, creating long-term consequences, and that is to say nothing about the penalties that a Court may impose. Emmet J. Duncan defends Clients accused of all manner of sexual offences, including sexual assault, voyeurism (“peeping”), possessing, creating and trafficking in child pornography, incest, luring of minors and sexual offences in relation to minors.
If you have been charged with any such offence, you will know that it instantly and dramatically affects your life. To guard against it changing your life, you need to obtain the best possible legal defence.
Whether it is manufactured through news media or empirically true, there is a strong impression amongst the Canadian public and policy makers that Canada is “awash” in illegal weapons, particularly guns. In recent years, the Criminal Code has been substantially overhauled to create harsh penalties for gun and other weapons offences. These include mandatory minimum penalties which have created a new “floor” of long prison sentences, as well as “reverse onus” provisions for people applying for bail, making release much more difficult to obtain. The new legislation complements a view from the Courts that guns will not be tolerated. This is particularly clear at the provincial court level, where 90% of criminal cases in Canada are decided.
Despite that, there is much room for creativity and skilful work by criminal defence counsel. Whether it is in negotiations with Crown counsel, conduct of trials, or legal arguments before all levels of Court, the gun legislation has not had as sweeping an impact as the Parliament originally hoped. With that said, however, gun offences attract the most aggressive investigation and prosecution. Anyone accused of gun or serious weapons offences requires experienced, skilled legal work on his or her behalf.
Property crime is always a hot button topic in society. Whether it is the nuisance created by petty theft and damage, or devastating loss caused by major fraud, or serious violence accompanying robbery, home invasion and break and enter, the police and Crown are committed to prosecuting property offences. Emmet J. Duncan has extensive experience as a prosecutor and defence counsel in all of these areas and defends clients of all backgrounds in relation to crimes including:
- Break and enter
- Possession of Stolen Property