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D.A.M.
D.A.M., Lawyer
Category: Canada Law
Satisfied Customers: 2755
Experience:  Cross-Border (US/Canada) Lawyer
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I was recently involved in mischief charges

Customer Question

I was recently involved in mischief charges, In totat there are 4 of us involved, if one of the other guys plead guilty but the rest of us maintain our innocence, what will happen to the rest of us?

I can elaborate more once I get a reply
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Canada Law
Expert:  D.A.M. replied 7 years ago.
Hello,

What Province are you in?
What are the nature of the charges?
What is the nature of each of the party's involvement?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
We are in Ontario, in total there are 4 of us involved. There are 18 charges of mischief, 3 of us are going to maintain innocence while we believe the 4th is going to plead guilty.
Expert:  D.A.M. replied 7 years ago.
Hello,

The challenge the three who intend to maintain innocence will face is that, in all likelihood, the fourth will testify against the group as part of his plea bargain.

Depending on the nature of the offenses and the evidence against you that could mean that the three maintaining innocence could face greater sentences than if they also plead guilty.

If you haven't already you - individually - need a lawyer to take your case because this will be a conviction that will remain on your record and could affect you long-term.

If you don't have a lawyer use the Law Society of Upper Canada's (Ontario's Bar Association) Lawyer Referral Service to help find someone that can take the case. In the meantime I would not speak to anyone without your lawyer present including any of the other three people involved in the incident. The link is: http://www.lsuc.on.ca/public/a/faqs---lawyer-referral-service/

Best of luck,
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
We are all first offenders also, Do you think it is likely for the 4th accused to be in a position where he would have to testify against us? I also spoke to another lawyer personally at my first court date, and he said the 4th will probably get diversion seeing as this is his first offence, and the rest of us will get community hours/fines.

The charges were for vandalism also, will that affect anything? What are the chances of it actually getting to the point where he would have to testify and what are the chances of him actually getting to the point where he would have to bargain for a plea.
Expert:  D.A.M. replied 7 years ago.
Hello,

Yes, I suspect that in exchange for the reduced charge the fourth person will have to testify against the remaining three.

With respect to possible convictions, it would depend on the nature of the property affected. The Criminal Code of Canada provides the definition and punishment guidelines for Mischief at section 430.(http://www.canlii.com/en/ca/laws/stat/rsc-1985-c-c-46/latest/rsc-1985-c-c-46.html#430.-1)

The punishment sections provide as follows:

Punishment
(2) Every one who commits mischief that causes actual danger to life is guilty of an indictable offense and liable to imprisonment for life.

Punishment
(3) Every one who commits mischief in relation to property that is a testamentary instrument or the value of which exceeds five thousand dollars

(a) is guilty of an indictable offense and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years; or

(b) is guilty of an offense punishable on summary conviction.

Idem
(4) Every one who commits mischief in relation to property, other than property described in subsection (3),

(a) is guilty of an indictable offense and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years; or

(b) is guilty of an offense punishable on summary conviction." (emphasis added)

So there is a great deal of leeway with respect to how a judge will deal with your charges and, depending on what you've done, the property involved and the severity of the mischief the lawyer you spoke to could be correct. But, as you see, the possible charges are significantly more severe.

Best of luck,
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Its mischief under 5000 btw, so what do you think is the most likely thing to happen to us?
Expert:  D.A.M. replied 7 years ago.
Hello,

Precisely what will happen will be up to the judge but can be greatly affected by what you do. It is possible the lawyer you spoke to is correct (that you will receive a conviction and have community service, a fine and likely probation -- though keep in mind that the conviction will follow you). However, if something about what occured is particularly troubling or offensive the Judge may not be so lenient. You now know what the maximums are and you can always be in the situation of having a judge throw the proverbial "book" at you.

So no easy answer there. If you're intent on fighting it and are, indeed innocent, then get yourself a lawyer and fight it. However, if you are guilty and you're looking for an easy way out of it, it may hurt you more to fight it than to try to work something out... particularly if the mischief is particularly offensive to the community.

Regards,

Customer: replied 7 years ago.

What can I do to get the charges withdrawn? Im not trying to get convicted here

Expert:  D.A.M. replied 7 years ago.
Hello,

That question has already been answered. Please see the previous answers.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
If we fight it, and win. What would happen? No community service or fines? And the charges get withdrawn? Or can we fight it and work something out, like I do community service/pay fines and get the charge withdrawn?
Expert:  D.A.M. replied 7 years ago.
If you fight and win, the charges would be dropped. However if you fight and lose you know the possible consequences.

There is no in-between unless you do a bargain and save the court's time and expense by not going through the entire process.