Do I need to call a criminal defence lawyer?
Are you being investigated for a criminal offence? Have you been charged with a crime? Being investigated or charged with a criminal offence will be a time in your life when you feel fear, stress, and anxiety about what is going to happen.
This time of stress and anxiety is also a time for action. The police and Crown prosecutors do not look out for your best interests. In an adversarial justice system, they represent the other team.
You need someone on your team. You need to seek legal advice immediately and call a lawyer with extensive criminal law experience.
You need to call Dale Melville Law.
Our Practice Areas
In the following criminal categories
A simple assault charge can stem from an allegation you punched, pushed, slapped or kicked someone without their consent. If you attempt or threaten to hit someone, you can also be charged with assault. There are wide-ranging circumstances that can result in being charged with assault. The circumstances of what happened and how it happened are critical to understanding the charge and will affect the ultimate outcome of your case.
Assault charged by itself, or simple assault, is the least serious of the categories of assault. This does not mean the criminal charge itself is not serious. Assault is taken very seriously by the criminal justice system.
Pleading guilty to assault or being convicted after trial for assault can lead to having a criminal conviction on your record and negatively affect your employment future and travel plans It is also possible to go to jail for assault.
Domestic violence or domestic assault are also common charges in the lower mainland. Domestic violence or assault are charged when one of the four types of assault happen in a domestic partnership, relationship, or other similar personal circumstances.
Domestic violence or assault charges are usually dealt with by specialized police investigators, court services workers, and Crown counsel experienced in the area. In Surrey, there is a courtroom and team of Crown counsel dedicated for domestic violence and assault cases. Learn about our domestic violence and assault defence services.
An allegation of any kind of sexual assault is extremely serious with lifelong consequences. This type of charge affects all aspects of your personal, professional, and social life. If you are convicted or plead guilty to sexual assault, jail is very likely. You can also be placed on the sexual offender registry for 10 years, 20 years, or life, depending on the offences if you plead guilty or are convicted of after a trial.
This area of law is extremely sensitive, difficult, and emotional for everyone involved. If you think you might be, or you are charged with sexual assault contact Dale Melville Law immediately for further information.
Fraud covers a wide variety of offences. This can range from internet fraud, insurance fraud, credit card fraud etc. Any fraud over $5000 is prosecuted more severely.
A charge of robbery alleges you took something that was not yours to take (theft) while threatening or using violence to do so. Although robbery is similar theft, the threat or use of violence make this a much more serious offence. Both a criminal record and jail are possible.
Being charged with trafficking illegal drugs is an extremely serious offence. The allegations rise and fall in seriousness depending on the type of drugs, total weight of drugs, and how many times the drugs were trafficked.
Other considerations that inform the seriousness of the allegations are whether you have any prior convictions for drug trafficking, whether you trafficked drugs to support your own drug addiction, and any positive changes you have made in your life since the date of the charges.
Observing or recording someone for a sexual purpose, when the complainant had a reasonable expectation of privacy, is voyeurism. These are serious allegations, and the specific facts of the case must be examined before fulsome legal advice can be given.
A charge of theft is an allegation you took something that was not yours to take. Theft is treated differently depending on whether the items in question are worth less than or more than $5000. Depending on what was allegedly taken, and how much, there are many options available to deal with a charge of theft, especially if it is your first offence.
For young offenders or first-time offenders charged with shop-lifting or similar offences diversion, or alternative measures can be an option. Diversion, or alternative measures is when the offender is ‘diverted’ from the traditional criminal justice system and engages with a bail or probation officer to complete several tasks, counselling sessions or volunteer hours (What is required for diversion varies widely). At the conclusion of the assigned tasks, the charges can be dropped (a stay of proceedings entered).
Consideration for diversion or alternative measures can only happen with the agreement of Crown counsel, so you need a lawyer to put your best foot forward and give Crown counsel sufficient information to make the right decision.
Gun possession is a complex area of law with very specific licensing and regulatory requirements. Your specific charges, allegations, and the factual basis for those allegations will inform our defence strategy.
If it is alleged you were in possession of a gun and never had a licence, the specific facts of your case will be closely examined to see if there is a way to exclude the evidence before trial, a path to successfully arguing against the doctrine of possession, or whatever other defences may become apparent after a review of the facts.
The factual circumstances need to be known in full before so the best legal advice can be given, and the appropriate course of action be taken.
Murder is arguably the most serious charge you can face under the Criminal Code. A conviction for first-degree or second-degree murder means a life sentence. A common misconception is that you get out of jail automatically after a certain period has passed after you are sentenced for murder – 10 to 25 years. This is not accurate – an offender convicted of first-degree or second-degree murder can spend their entire life in custody. Even if released from custody, if they violate the terms and conditions of their parole, they can be returned to custody at any time.
Manslaughter is also one of the most serious charges commonly faced in BC but differs from murder in that if you plead guilty to or are convicted of manslaughter you do not get a life sentence. There are so many different factual circumstances that can lead to an allegation of manslaughter the specific factual make up of your case must be known for legal advice to be meaningful.
The seriousness of either the charge of first-degree murder, second-degree murder, or manslaughter means your best chance of fighting these charges are by retaining an experienced criminal lawyer. Learn about our murder defence lawyer services.
Break-and-enter is getting into a place with the intent to commit a criminal offence. Breaking
into a convenience store has different sentencing compared to breaking into a residential home.
I went from looking at 3-5 years and got out within 3 months of the day I was incarcerated. He was always respectful to my family and me.
– N.L., Google Review
Dale helped me receive quick closure on my case, which helped me move on with my life, and the outcome was more than wonderful, and completely in my favor.
– Lawyer Ratingz Review
Read more reviews from past clients
What happens if I am charged with a crime?
Being convicted of a criminal offence can negatively affect the rest of your life. If you plead guilty or are convicted of a criminal offence you could go to jail. You could lose your job and prospects for employment. You could be barred from entering certain countries like the United States.
Just because you have been charged with a criminal offence it does not mean you are going to get convicted or get a criminal record.
You may have been falsely accused of something you did not do and need to prove your innocence in court. That means you need an experienced criminal lawyer who is going to strongly defend your interests in trial. This is done by challenging the admissibility of Crown counsel’s evidence when necessary, cross-examining your accuser to the fullest extent of the law, and preparing you to take the witness stand to tell the court what really happened.
Maybe you had a momentary lapse in judgment and did something you regret in the heat of the moment. Maybe you want to take responsibility for what you have done. Taking responsibility for your actions and pleading guilty is just the beginning of the sentencing process.
Sentencing in BC is strongly driven both what you did, but also who you are. It is necessary to put evidence before the court about your unique specific circumstances to get you the best result possible during sentencing.
When possible, evidence about your unique personal circumstances can convince Crown counsel to agree on a sentencing position, which strongly increases your chances of getting the sentence we want, but it is always up to the sentencing judge to decide what your sentence will be, no matter what agreements are in place between your Surrey lawyer and Crown counsel.
Even if you plead guilty to a criminal offence, it does not mean you automatically get a criminal record. Whether or not this is an option depends on the offence charged. You can plead guilty, accept responsibility, and in some circumstances, you do not get a record.
Even if you plead guilty to a criminal offence,
it does not mean you automatically get a criminal record.
You can be ‘discharged’ of the offence completely at the time of sentencing (absolute discharge) or ‘discharged’ of the offence after a period of time passes and you follow the conditions of your probation order (conditional discharge).
In very rare cases, it is possible to have the charges stayed or withdrawn
(dropped) because of new information brought to Crown counsel so they can take another look and see if there is no longer a substantial likelihood of conviction, or if the information shows there is no longer a public interest in pursuing the case.
Your Surrey Criminal Lawyer – Dale Melville
Dale Melville Law is dedicated to excellence in legal representation for Surrey, New Westminster, and the Tri-Cities. Mr. Melville handling your case could be the difference between you going to jail and going home.
Give us a call today to set up a free initial consultation with your criminal defence lawyer. We serve Surrey, New West, and the Tri-Cities – Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, and Port Moody, out of our offices in Surrey and New Westminster.
- R. v. S., April 2022 – BCSCFacts – S. was charged with sexual assault of the complainant, “X”. At trial, “X” testified they were sexually assaulted on three separate occasions by S. S. was in a …
- R. v. T., January 2022 – BCSCFacts – T. was charged with second-degree murder and robbery with a firearm of P. At trial, T. admitted the robbery, and admitted causing the death of T. (manslaughter), but …
- R. v. B., December 2021 – BCPCFacts – B. was charged with possession of a handgun and possession for the purpose of trafficking – methamphetamine. Police attended a residence in Maple Ridge, and while trying to …
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Important: Nothing contained in this website should be construed as legal advice. Descriptions of law, areas of law, or past cases are not legal advice, and should not be relied upon as such. Each case turns on its specific facts so contact Dale Melville Law at 604-265-7020 today for advice.