The Lawdawg offers a range of services for criminal matters but before you call him …
The Legal Aid Commission of the Northwest Territories provides free legal services for accused persons who are “presumed eligible”. Persons who are presumed eligible do not have to pass a means test to qualify for legal assistance.
If your need for legal assistance does not involve a matter that is taking you to criminal court, Legal Aid’s Outreach Program may be able to answer some of your questions.
For criminal matters, you presumed eligible if you need help with a bail hearing or any court appearance in Territorial Court up to the point that you enter a not guilty plea. Up to the point of a not guilty plea, Legal Aid will have a lawyer available in Court (where ever the Territorial Court sits in the NWT) to give you free legal advice, help you decide what to do and appear with you or on your behalf in Court.
Once you plead not guilty you must apply to the Legal Aid Commission for an Approval; in order to qualify for an Approval you will have to pass a financial means test. In making its decision about your means, Legal Aid will take all of your financial circumstances into account. If you are in jail, although you must complete an application, you will likely qualify for an Approval.
Once you are Approved to a particular lawyer, s/he will take care of you to the end of your trial process. The Legal Aid Commission has a staff of talented and committed criminal lawyers who will do an excellent job of taking care of you in Court.
Members of the private bar, who are not employees of the Legal Aid Commission, are also able to take good care of the accused they represent. As with other members of the private bar, the Lawdawg acts for accused persons with Approvals from Legal Aid in which case he will not bill you a penny for the work he does on your behalf.
When you do need help from the Lawdawg…
When faced with the criminal justice system, everyone panics. The Lawdawg is pleased to try and allay some of that panic.
He is always prepared (although perhaps not at 3AM) to speak to anyone who needs general information about the criminal justice system. The following questions get asked all the time:
- I just got charged – now what?
- what happens at my first appearance?
- What is Disclosure and how do I get some?
- What is Diversion, Domestic Violence Court and Wellness Court?
- What do I need to know about Bail?
- Should I plead guilty?
- What is a sentence?
- What happens next?
An easy starting point for answers to some of these questions is on the FAQs Page. Also many of these questions have been answered in the Lawdawg’s CBC Radio columns, transcripts for which can be found here, here and here.
Do not be freaked out by the Criminal Justice System, give the Lawdawg a call.
Most offenders in the North have ties to First Nations or Inuit communities.
The Criminal Code of Canada identifies the over-representation of Aboriginal people in the Canadian criminal justice system as an issue that requires a specific judicial response. The sentencing provisions of the Code require that judges consider “all available sanctions other than imprisonment that are reasonable in the circumstances for all offenders, with particular attention to the circumstances of aboriginal offenders.”
The Supreme Court of Canada in two critical decisions Gladue (1999) and Ipeelee (2012) has, in articulating the meaning of this provision in the Criminal Code, laid out the framework within which Judges must operate when sentencing Aboriginal Offenders.
Acting for Aboriginal offenders requires significant experience and familiarity with the special legal principles that come into play in these kinds of situations. The Lawdawg has been working in the North since 2005 and works within the Gladue/Ipeelee framework almost every day of the week.
If you want to know how Galdue and Ipeelee affect your case, give the Lawdawg a call.
Going to Court:
As you will see from his Lawdawg in Court page, the Lawdawg has been to Court a few times. If you would like to see first hand what kind of matters he has been going to Court for, check the links.
It is extremely unlikely that you have a legal issue that he has not had to work with in the past. If you want to discuss the specifics of your problem, give the Dawg a call, it is not going to cost you anything to get some quick advice about your case.