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Toronto Break and Enter Lawyer Anthony De Marco

Strong Defence Against Ontario Break and Enter Charge

Break and enter is a crime that carries significant penalties if you are convicted. If you have been accused of this offence, your choice of defence lawyer will have a major impact on your future.

I have more than 35 years of experience defending clients against allegations of property offences like break and enter. I provide my clients with the kind of strong, intelligent defence needed to protect their rights and freedom.

If you have been arrested or charged with break and enter in the Toronto area, call me for a consultation. You can reach me at 416-651-2299 or toll free at 1-888-399-3164. You can also contact my Toronto defence law firm online.

Understanding the Crime of Break and Enter

Break and enter is the crime of breaking into a place with the intent to commit a criminal offence therein. Notice the word "intent." That means a person can be guilty of break and enter even if he or she does not actually commit another crime once inside the place.

There are two types of break and enter: into a dwelling or into a place other than a dwelling. A dwelling can be a house, apartment or even a garage. A non-dwelling can be a warehouse, a convenience store or any number of similar places.

The word "break" does not mean that this crime requires the accused to actually break down a door or shatter a window. In fact, "breaking" can be as simple as opening a door and walking inside, or even reaching into an open window.

Possible Penalties for Break and Enter in Ontario

A conviction for break and enter into a dwelling could result in imprisonment for life. Break and enter into a non-dwelling carries a maximum possible sentence of 10 years in prison. These are very serious consequences. As a criminal defence lawyer, I work hard to win acquittals for my clients. If that is not realistic, I will seek your permission to negotiate for a lesser punishment.

Home Invasion

A home invasion occurs if there are people inside the dwelling at the time of the break and enter. These offences attract much longer prison terms than a simple break and enter. Home invasion is treated by the Crown as a much more serious offence. You need a very skilled defence lawyer if you are facing a home invasion charge.

Pre-Trial Charter Applications

Often, the best defence to a criminal charge involves a challenge to the investigation that resulted in the arrest of the accused or the collection of evidence against the accused. The police are not allowed to breach the rights that are guaranteed to the accused by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

I will investigate any possible Charter breaches by carefully reviewing the Crown disclosure documents, including the documents used by the police to obtain search warrants for the home, car or other property of the accused, and the documents used by the police to obtain production orders, such as for cell phone records and wiretap authorizations.

If I detect any violation of the Charter rights of the accused or violation of acceptable investigative procedures established by the courts, I will proceed with an application asking for the exclusion of evidence from the trial of the accused obtained illegally by the police, including the statements of the accused and other evidence seized during the investigation.

I have an established reputation for success in pre-trial applications. Winning a Charter application will result in the exclusion of evidence if the court determines that not excluding the evidence will bring the administration of justice into disrepute. The exclusion of evidence often results in a finding of not guilty if the Crown's remaining evidence is insufficient to prove that the accused committed the offence beyond a reasonable doubt.

I have the necessary experience, research skills, writing skills, and advocacy skills to prepare and effectively argue pre-trial Charter applications. The value of legal writing skills cannot be overstated since proceeding with pre-trial Charter applications will require the preparation of several documents including a Notice of Application, an Affidavit, and a Factum setting out the relevant facts and summarizing the relevant case law.

Electing to Have a Preliminary Inquiry

In all cases, in which a Defendant is facing a possible mandatory penalty of imprisonment for life, the Defendant will have the right to proceed with a preliminary inquiry in the Ontario Court of Justice and then a trial in the Superior Court of Justice before a court composed of a Judge sitting with a jury or without a jury. In the past, this level of court was referred to as "High Court".

The completion of a preliminary inquiry is not mandatory. The Defendant has the right to waive the preliminary inquiry and to proceed directly to trial in either the Ontario Court of Justice or the Superior Court of Justice. If the trial is to be completed in the Superior Court of Justice, the waiver of the preliminary inquiry will require the consent of the Crown.

At a preliminary inquiry, the Crown is required to call some evidence upon which a properly instructed jury, acting reasonably, may return a verdict of guilt. This is an easy test for the Crown to meet in the vast majority of cases. Accordingly, it is relatively rare for someone who proceeds with a preliminary inquiry to be discharged with respect to all of the charges which he or she is facing. The real value in having a preliminary inquiry is not in the hope of being entirely discharged, thereby bringing the entire criminal proceedings to an end, but in being able to better prepare the case for trial. The defence lawyer will have an opportunity to cross-examine and test the evidence of the primary Crown witnesses. An experienced and skilled defence lawyer can discover the strengths and weaknesses of the Crown witnesses and commence building an effective defence strategy. A preliminary inquiry is especially valuable for the defence in cases involving young, infirm, unreliable or unsavory Crown witnesses.

Contact My Toronto Home Invasion Law Firm

If you have been arrested or charged with break and enter or home invasion in the Toronto area, I am ready to listen to your side of the story and help you understand what happens now. For a free 30-minute consultation, please call 416-651-2299 or toll free 1-888-399-3164. You can also contact my law firm online.

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