Can a Paralegal Represent Me in a Criminal Matter?
A Paralegal can represent accused persons who are charged with a summary conviction offence where the maximum penalty does not exceed six months’ imprisonment.
Summary conviction offences are the least serious offences in the Criminal Code. Causing a disturbance (s. 175), possession of a weapon in public (s. 89), disorderly conduct (s. 173), and public exposure (s. 173(2)) are all examples of the many summary conviction offences that Paralegals can work on. When you receive your summons, please tell us exactly what you have been charged with, including the section number of the Criminal Code to help us determine if this is something we can help you with.
A Criminal Defence Paralegal cannot represent clients on any indictable offence or what are known as a “super summary offences”. Super summary offences can carry a jail term for up to eighteen months. An example of such an offence is a DUI. Some offences are called hybrid offences, such as sexual assault, where the Crown can elect to proceed summarily or by indictment. In this case, we will consult the Crown attorney on or prior to your first appearance to find out how they are electing to proceed.
If you are coming to us with a summary conviction charge, please try to write down and remember as much as possible the names of possible witnesses, as well as other information that you believe might assist you in your Defence.