I Was Charged with Mischief. Do I Need a Lawyer?
The answer is you should hire a lawyer. A criminal conviction, even for something as minor as mischief under $5,000, could impact you in the future. A conviction for mischief, like any other offence, means that you could:
- Lose your job.
- Have trouble finding further work.
- Face fines, probation and, in some cases, jail time.
- Have issues getting citizenship or permanent residence in Canada, if you are from another country.
- Have problems travelling to other countries.
As you can see, there are a few implications that can impact your life with a mischief conviction. By hiring a criminal defence lawyer, you’re going to be in a better position to have your case wrapped up faster and with a positive outcome for you.
Your defence lawyer can also speak to the Crown and negotiate on your behalf for a resolution where the charge is dropped – instead of getting a criminal record and probationary sentence. If you don’t have a lawyer, you could be convicted when you may have actually had a legitimate legal defence that your lawyer is familiar with. For instance, the lawyer could demonstrate that although you owned an item that you destroyed (which could trigger a mischief charge), you weren’t out to defraud someone.
Remember, too, that if you have aggravating circumstances, or a previous criminal conviction, you are at greater risk of being sentenced to jail time– yes, even on a mischief charge. The risk is minor, particularly for first-time offenders in mischief under $5,000 cases, but it remains. It’s all up to the judge.
Okay, But Are There Some Things That I Can Do On My Own?
You will have to get photographs and fingerprints taken, and a lawyer is not required for this. You will get the date and location of where to do this on a Form 9, Notice to Appear, that you’ll receive after you’ve been charged.
Be sure that you attend this date. If you don’t, you could face more charges and negatively impact the original charge of mischief in court. It doesn’t matter how minor the offense is or how innocent you are. If you’ve been charged, make absolutely sure that you don’t miss your fingerprint and photograph date. The good news is that if you are acquitted or the charge is dropped, you can apply to have your fingerprints and photographs destroyed.
If you’ve been charged with mischief under $5,000 and still are unsure if you need a lawyer, the great news is that Armoured Suits offers a complimentary 30-minute private consultation. Contact Armoured Suits by phone at 613-233-0008 or e-mail at [email protected] to book your meeting today, and find out if hiring a lawyer is the right choice for you.