Violent crimes include the most serious offences. Some of the most severe penalties in the Criminal Code are reserved for violent crimes.
This is an area in which it is vital to get experienced, knowledgeable lawyers who have handled cases of this type before and know how to defend your rights and help you avoid the worst penalties.
Because the penalties can be so severe, we take the time to explain them fully and clear up misconceptions. We will tell you the truth about the strength of the case against you, possible defences, and potential sentences in the event of a conviction. The stakes are high, and we are committed to performing the best service possible for our clients charged with these very serious offences.
Trusted Experience And Knowledge
We have some of the premier Vancouver violent crime lawyers on staff, the kind that other lawyers refer to when their own clients are in serious trouble.
Pender Litigation handles
- Murder and manslaughter: Many of our cases are assaults or other crimes gone wrong, or arguments that have gotten out of control. Mandatory life sentences are a possibility.
- Aggravated assault: These crimes involve wounding, maiming, disfiguring or endangering the life of the victim.
- Assault causing bodily harm: Any assault in which the injuries caused are severe enough to interfere with the health or comfort of the victim may fall under this category. Charges of assault often accompany domestic assault or sexual assault charges.
- Assault with a weapon: A weapon may not be a gun or a knife, but any object that can be used to threaten, intimidate or cause physical harm to another person.
- Kidnapping and unlawful confinement: These cases often involve organized crime or assaults.
The police will dedicate a great deal of time and resources to their investigation of these types of offences. This will often include DNA, ballistics, fingerprint and blood spatter experts. Comparable resources must be used by our side as well. We also must be able to deal with evidentiary issues such as the admissibility of expert evidence, statements, and information gathered from surveillance such as wiretaps.
Murder and Manslaughter
Murder and manslaughter are two of the most serious charges in the Criminal Code. The resources that the police and Crown put into these cases are enormous, and the sentences handed down upon conviction are among the most severe.
For a charge of this nature, it’s absolutely vital to have skilled and experienced representation on your side.
For these cases, our Vancouver murder defence lawyers work as a team. We will sift through all of the evidence, which may be extensive, and use all of our experience to identify an effective defence.
At Pender Litigation, we have the experience, the know how, and the commitment to working hard for you.
Types Of Murder And Manslaughter
Culpable homicide involves knowingly causing the death of another person. There are varying degrees of seriousness under this term:
- First-degree murder: This is an act that is planned ahead of time and deliberately intended to cause death or serious harm that could result in death. There are two exceptions to the “planned and deliberate” rule: if the victim is a police officer, and if the murder is committed during the course of another serious offence like forcible confinement, sexual assault, terrorism, or any crime committed for a criminal organization. The sentence is automatically a life sentence, with possibility of parole after 25 years.
- Second-degree murder: This is any intentional killing that doesn’t qualify as first-degree murder. The penalty is an automatic life sentence, with possibility of parole after 10 to 25 years.
- Manslaughter: This is the unintentional killing of another person. The Crown must prove that you committed an illegal act (for example, assault) that you knew carried the risk of bodily harm, or that you behaved in a way that may not have been illegal, but was indifferent to the safety or lives of others. The maximum penalty is life in prison.
Our lawyers will work to make sure that the only evidence used against you is evidence obtained in full consideration of your Charter rights. We will also do what we can to reduce charges against you — for example, from first- to second-degree murder — and find any viable defences, such as self-defence or provocation.
Aggravated assault is a serious charge and is levelled when somebody has been seriously hurt. The sentences can be severe and usually involve prison time.
Our Vancouver aggravated assault lawyers will work to find a defence for you if possible. We will examine the circumstances of your charge, including whether the assault was part of another crime, or part of a fight that got out of hand, or an instance of self-defence or defence of another person.
Pender Litigation will also try to make sure that any evidence obtained against you without strict respect for your Charter rights cannot be used against you.
Understanding Aggravated Assault
A charge of aggravated assault involves injuries more serious than bruises or even broken bones and cuts. They must involve wounding, maiming, disfiguring or endangering the life of the victim. They can include amputation of a finger or limb, or serious scarring.
Our lawyers will discuss various aspects of your charge with you, such as:
- The effect of other related charges that can accompany aggravated assault, such as domestic assault, sexual assault, kidnapping, or assault with a weapon
- The likelihood of persuading the Crown that the charges should be assault causing bodily harm and not aggravated assault, because of the difference in sentencing
- The likelihood of success if you wish to claim self-defence
The defence of consent (in other words, saying that the fight was consensual) is possible for some kinds of less serious assaults, but is not generally available for most aggravated assault charges because of the injuries suffered by the complainant.
Assault Causing Bodily Harm
A charge of this kind involves harm which “interferes with the health or comfort of the person”. Typically the injuries include broken bones or cuts, but are not as serious as those in aggravated assault, in which there may be amputation or severe scarring involved. Conviction still may result in a prison sentence, particularly if it is accompanied by other charges such as sexual assault, assault with a weapon or forcible confinement.
Pender Litigation can help.
We will look at the circumstances of your arrest and the evidence gathered against you, to make sure that the only evidence at your trial is evidence that was obtained in a manner that was consistent with your Charter rights. We will also make sure that any circumstances that can help mitigate the severity of your charge are taken into account.
Finding A Way To Protect You
Our lawyers will discuss various ways to protect you, including:
- Self-defence: The assault may not be assault at all, if you believed that you or someone else was in danger. We will look at the progression of the confrontation to see if you have a valid claim to self-defence.
- Consent: A consensual fight is not considered an assault. However,, even if you and the victim both consented to the fight, the defence of consent cannot be used if bodily harm occurred.
- Sentencing: If you are found guilty or decide to plead guilty to an assault causing injury, depending on the circumstances of the case and your own background, we will argue for a sentencing options other than prison time, or alternatively, for a the lowest possible prison term.
- Lesser charges: If possible we will urge the Crown to use its discretion to prosecutea lesser charge, such as assault.
Assault With a Weapon
Any violent crime that is committed with a weapon is treated more seriously by the criminal justice system.
Whether the weapon is used in an assault, sexual assault, domestic violence, or robbery, , more resources will be used in the investigation and prosecution, and the sentence will be higher and may include a mandatory minimum jail term.
Weapons Make It Worse
Assault using a weapon, even if it results in no serious injury, is treated more severely than simple assault. Aggravated Assault, assault causing bodily harm and kidnapping will result in higher sentences upon conviction if you used a weapon.
We will examine your case carefully to identify any Charter issues which might result in the exclusion of damaging evidence. We will also interview you, other witnesses, and investigate the circumstances that gave rise to the charge to identify any possible defences to the charge..
Some of our work involves helping clients understand some of the special characteristics of weapons charges, such as:
- A weapon is not just a gun or a knife or something designed to cause harm or death; it can be anything that can be used to harm or intimidate, such as sporting equipment, furniture, or a rock.
- If you are charged with assault with a weapon, especially a deadly weapon, you may also be charged with other related charges such as possession of a weapon.
- If the weapon is a firearm, the other charges will relate to what kind of firearm it is and whether it has been modified. These charges can get fairly technical, and it may be possible to get them dropped if they are inaccurate.
- The method in which you used the weapon will be very important in your case, especially if you did not intend to use it as a weapon at all.
Kidnapping charges can carry some of the highest sentences aside from murder, depending on the circumstances of the charge. Sentences can range up to 14 years imprisonment, particularly if accompanied by charges of aggravated assault, assault causing bodily harm, or assault with a weapon.
Charges of kidnapping may also involve allegations of organized criminal activity, such as participation in gangs. Where these types of allegations have been made the police will dedicate substantial resources to their investigation, and the Crown will aggressively prosecute the charges and will seek greater penalties in the event of a conviction.. These cases are frequently complex to defend. The stakes for you will be very high.
A kidnapping charge may deal with wiretaps, surveillance and complex evidentiary issues. Having a lawyer who understands the laws of evidence can ensure that any improperly obtained evidence is not used against you.
A charge of unlawful confinement is also often connected to other charges, frequently assault and domestic assault. Sometimes the confinement can be relatively minor, such as standing in a doorway preventing the other person from leaving a room during an argument. If your actions have impeded his or her freedom to leave, they may be considered unlawful confinement.
The maximum penalty for unlawful confinement is 14 years.
For both charges, Pender Litigation will use our resources to make sure the only evidence used against you has been obtained in a manner that respects your Charter rights. If your charge is connected to a domestic assault charge, we will attempt to find resolutions outside the criminal justice system, or alternatives to incarceration if feasible. These include fines, probation orders, conditional sentences and even a discharge with no criminal record if appropriate.
Get Legal Counsel Now!
If you need help with any violent offences then you need answers now and you need help immediately. Do not delay. We are here to help. Fill in the form below to get legal counsel now!
PLEASE NOTE: If this is an emergency or if you are in custody or been contacted by authorities then call our offices 24/7 at 604-669-6699