Why would you hire a paralegal? You’ve been issued a traffic ticket by the police and are unsure of the consequences you’ll face, your legal choices, or what to do next. Your decisions over the following few days might have far-reaching implications for your licensure, insurance expenses, and court penalties. What information would you require in order to make an informed decision about how to best safeguard your rights and personal interests? The most cost-effective option is usually a licensed paralegal.
What is the role of a paralegal?
The Law Society of Ontario licenses paralegals and holds them accountable. To become a paralegal, an applicant must first complete a Law Society-approved paralegal education program and then pass a licensure exam. If you hire a licensed paralegal, you may rest assured that they have been vetted by the Law Society and found to be of good character and knowledgeable about the law. Paralegals are required to participate in continuing legal education and are held accountable to the Law Society for their actions in court.
What is the role of a paralegal?
Your legal counsel in court is a paralegal. They’re there to look out for your best interests. A paralegal is your personal resource for learning about the consequences you’ll face in court as well as the judicial process so you can make informed judgments.
In most cases, a defendant will face three types of sanctions. The first will be fines imposed by the courts. Fines, suspension of a driver’s license, and, in the most egregious situations, imprisonment may be imposed by the court. Licensing difficulties are the second type of penalty. These include a criminal record, demerit points, CVOR points, and a driver’s license suspension. The impact of a conviction on insurance costs is the final area of consequence. If you are convicted, your insurance rates may increase or your policy may be cancelled entirely, requiring you to seek out a high-risk insurer.
The first step is to select a paralegal who is compatible with you and knowledgeable in the field of law in which you seek assistance. For example, OTD Legal Services focuses on costs for regular and commercial motor vehicle drivers under the Highway Traffic Act and the Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act. It’s crucial to read online reviews from prior customers. Have past clients expressed satisfaction with the way they were treated and the way their case was handled? Or does the business have a long history of customer complaints and dissatisfied customers? Independent evaluations, such as those found on Google, will provide you a more objective picture of the company than reviews found on the company’s website, which may be cherry-picked to leave out bad feedback.
So, what happens next?
The majority of paralegal firms offer a no-cost, no-obligation initial consultation. Before meeting with you, they will need a copy of the papers you obtained from the police (ticket, summons, collision report, etc.). The goal of the consultation is for the paralegal firm to learn about your case and provide you with basic information about the court process and the charges you’ve been charged with. They will then be able to give you with a legal service quote. OTD Legal Services will charge you a flat fee for all court filings, court appearances, and legal services related in your case. This enables you to analyze the relative costs and benefits before deciding on a course of action.
The majority of issues can be handled without you having to appear in court. For most defendants, this is a big relief. Having to deal with the police, or having just been in a crash, or worried about the repercussions of being convicted can cause a lot of stress and anxiety for defendants. Allow the paralegal to handle the legal matters for you. As your case moves through the court system, OTD Legal Services will keep you updated to keep you informed and empowered as the defendant.
Most charges can be reduced to a smaller offense, resulting in lower court, licencing, and insurance penalties (assuming that the offence can not be thrown out completely). Paralegals are a low-cost legal option for defending your rights.
What if my case needs to go to trial?
While the majority of cases can be resolved without going to trial, some cases will ultimately need to be discussed in court. The Prosecutor will decide whether or not to request your presence at trial based on the facts of your case and the evidence available to him.
This decision is made based on who will gain the most from your testimony in court: the defense or the prosecution. If there is no net benefit to the defense, you can resume your normal work, childcare, and other responsibilities. You can either attend court or choose not to if there is a net benefit to having you there. Because the goal is to win your case, it’s preferable to go to court if you’re told to. If you choose not to attend your trial, your paralegal will defend you in the courtroom without your personal testimony.
The court process is significantly less daunting when you have a paralegal with you. Avoiding legal blunders and ensuring that your defense is communicated properly requires having a friendly advocate who is familiar with the law, the court process, as well as the local prosecutor, police, and court employees.
Is it possible for a paralegal to promise or foresee a result?
Unfortunately, the answer is no. Even if they believe there is a solid defense, lawyers and paralegals cannot foresee or guarantee the outcome of each case. It would be dishonest and unprofessional to mislead a defendant into believing that their charges will be dismissed or reduced to a lesser offense. The Law Society’s regulation of lawyers and paralegals has essentially eliminated such unethical actors in Ontario. Keep in mind that the issues before the court are ones of fact and law. There is no magical formula or silver bullet that any paralegal can use to ensure that your case will be dismissed. There is only hard effort, training, and a thorough understanding of the law and the legal system.
If you come across a company making such implausible promises, review their written materials or website for the exact contents of their guarantee, as well as how they define the terms they use. If it appears that you are being mislead, you should seek the advice of a more trustworthy lawyer. The most significant decision you will make in defending your personal interests is who you choose as your legal counsel. A professional paralegal will be completely honest with you, even if that means breaking bad news or advising you that defending a certain charge is not cost-effective.
If you’ve been charged with a crime,
If you’ve been charged by the police, you should get information as quickly as possible because your case will have to be submitted with the court by a certain date.