Do you have a criminal legal issue? SLA may be able to help you with the following matters:
Criminal Charges, where the charge is a summary offence and the Crown is not seeking jail time.
Impaired Charges, where you have not been convicted of impaired driving within the last five years; where there is no blood sample provided for the purpose of blood alcohol testing; and where the incident in question did not involve an accident that included other parties or which caused injury.
We may be able to help you with the following offences:
What happens now?
Each proceeding is unique based on its circumstances, but here are some common steps involved in a criminal proceeding:
- You are charged with an offence.
- Book an appointment with SLA to seek agent representation.
- Request “Disclosure”: Disclosure is evidence compiled by the Crown and Police used to prosecute your case.
- First Appearance. At this stage you (or and SLA Student Caseworker retained to act as an agent on your behalf) can either enter a plea or ask for an adjournment if necessary.
- Enter a Plea:
- Plead Not Guilty – A trial date will be set.
- Plead Guilty – A disposition date will be set.
- Trial (if you have pleaded not guilty).
For more information, please refer to the following helpful resource provided by Alberta Justice: “You’ve been Charged with a crime: what you need to know”
Criminal Terminology to Get Familiar With:
Below are some common terms you may hear when you are facing a criminal charge. Familiarizing yourself with them may be helpful as you navigate your legal issue.
- Alternative Measures Program (AMP): The Alternative Measures Program is a program offered by Alberta Correctional Services. It may be used as an alternative to judicial proceedings if you are alleged to have committed minor offences. The goals of the program include:
- Preventing you from obtaining a criminal record
- Preventing the continuation of criminal behaviour
- Promoting community involvement
- Fostering community awareness through participation
You may be eligible for AMP if you are a first or second time adult offender, and The Crown must decide if you are eligible to enter the program. If approved, you must acknowledge that you are guilty and sign an agreement that sets out what you must do to satisfy the program requirements. The main benefit of AMP is that you will not have a criminal record once you have successfully completed the program.
- The Crown: Crown prosecutors employed by Alberta Justice are the lawyers whose job it is to argue against you in your legal matter. They are responsible for presenting arguments and reasons for your conviction to a judge. A Crown prosecutor’s arguments are governed by the law, including the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, legal tradition, Alberta Justice policy and the Law Society of Alberta’s Code of Conduct.
- Days in Default: A term of imprisonment imposed by a court if you have defaulted on payment of a fine.
- Disclosure: Disclosure means copies of all the evidence available in your case, such as witness statements and the police officer’s notes.
- Disposition: When your matter is resolved without a trial. “Disposition” also refers to the final appearance before the court to determine the criminal charge.