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Blog - Consequences of a Criminal conviction

The Consequences of a Criminal Conviction on Your Future

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Long after an individual has finished serving their sentence, the stamp of a criminal record often has an ongoing detrimental impact on an individual’s life. Often referred to as “collateral consequences” of a criminal record, a record can impact immigration status, employment, travel, and housing. Ultimately, a criminal record has the ability to affect one’s personal, professional, and social well-being.

While criminal records have a negative impact across the country, the level of protection against this discrimination varies across provinces. Alberta is one of four provinces with a Human Rights Act that provides no protection from discrimination based on criminal record status. As such, there is generally no recourse for such discrimination despite the immense impact it can have on your life.

If you are considering entering a guilty plea, it is important that you consult experienced counsel so that you can fully understand the impact the record will have on your life specifically. For many offences, particularly if you are a first-time offender, there are non-criminal resolutions that may be available to you. Ultimately, a strong defence is vital to minimizing the lasting impact on one’s future.

Two of the most common collateral consequences—employment & housing—are expanded upon below. For further information, please contact us!

Finding Employment with a Criminal Conviction

Many employers conduct background checks as a routine part of the hiring process, thereby making it challenging for individuals with a criminal history to secure employment. Certain professions require licenses, and a criminal record may disqualify individuals from obtaining or renewing these licenses.

Even if you find employment, individuals with criminal records may find it challenging to advance in their careers due to their past. Jobs that require a vulnerable sector check—one of the most detailed forms of criminal record checks—often will not employ anyone with a criminal record as these jobs require working in a position of trust with children or elderly persons.

Finding Housing with a Criminal Record

Securing a house can be significantly more difficult with a criminal record. Rental applications often include criminal background checks, and landlords may be hesitant to rent to individuals whose record shows convictions. Moreover, public housing authorities may have policies restricting individuals with certain criminal convictions from residing at their properties.

Having Davidson Gregory in Your Corner

A robust defence is the first line of defence against the far-reaching consequences of a criminal conviction. At Davidson Gregory, we will strategically build a defence to mitigate charges and maximize the potential for alternative resolutions and diversion programs to lessen the impact on one’s future.

The consequences of a criminal conviction can extend far beyond the confines of a courtroom. The impact on employment, housing, financial and personal relationships is substantial. However, with a strong defence, individuals can navigate these challenges and work towards a brighter future. Contact our team today.

Mna in court room

What to do When You Receive a SafeRoads Driving Suspension

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At Davidson Gregory, we have successfully defended many people from across Alberta who have received SafeRoads License suspensions.

Acting Swiftly: Your 7-Day Window After a SafeRoads License Suspension

Receiving a SafeRoads Alberta (IRS) impaired driving or refusal to provide a sample license suspension can have serious long- and short-term consequences. It is also extremely stressful since you need to act quickly to fight your license suspension. After you receive a license suspension, you have 7 days to file an appeal.

As soon as you receive a SafeRoads license suspension for drunk driving (DUI), driving while under the influence (DWI), or refusing to blow, you should contact a lawyer who has experience fighting SafeRoads license suspensions to assist with your appeal.

Defending Against SafeRoads DUI License Suspensions: Steps to Take

When you first contact a lawyer about your SafeRoads DUI license suspension appeal, you need to provide them with the following information: 

  1. The contravention number on the Notice of Administrative Penalty you received,
  2. Your date of birth,
  3. The occurrence time on your Notice of Administrative Penalty, and
  4. Your last name. 

At Davidson Gregory, our lawyers will use this information to access the police reports and other evidence uploaded to the SafeRoads website and file an appeal for your license suspension.

Unlocking Your Defense: Key Information for SafeRoads Alberta License Suspension Appeals

After this initial contact, your lawyer will require more information to ensure you have the best chance at fighting your SafeRoads Alberta License Suspension. 

Davidson Gregory, SafeRoads clients are then asked to provide the following information: 

  1. A copy or the original Notice of Administrative Penalty received;
  2. A copy or the original vehicle seizure notice received;
  3. The names and contact information of anyone who was with you when you got your license suspension;
  4. The names and contact information of anyone who was with you 2 hours before or after you received your SafeRoads driving suspension, and
  5. Notes of what happened leading up to and during the SafeRoads license suspension incident. 

Once we receive this information at Davidson Gregory, our SafeRoads lawyers will schedule an in-person or virtual meeting to discuss next steps.

Davidson Gregory’s Winning Approach to SafeRoads Alberta License Suspension Cases

Andrew Bieman of Davidson Gregory has successfully defended many clients with SafeRoads Alberta license suspensions for impaired driving and refusing to provide a breath sample. 

You can contact Andrew on his cellphone at 780-566-1168 or by email at [email protected] to represent you on your SafeRoads Alberta license suspension. Andrew Bieman along with the other criminal and administrative law lawyers at Davidson Gregory are also available to work with clients on other matters related to criminal law and administrative tribunals.


Criminal Defence Resources - Criminal Lawyers Edmonton Alberta

Resources for People Accused of a Crime

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This guide contains some helpful resources that can help you better understand the justice system in Alberta, including information about court rules and criminal procedures. You can also find important links and organizations that offer free resources and offer support to those accused of a crime and their families.

Canadian Criminal Law Institution and Organizations

Alberta Courts

The Alberta Courts are composed of the Court of Appeal of Alberta, Court of King’s Bench of Alberta and the Alberta Court of Justice. The Provincial Court is responsible for the majority of criminal matters in Alberta; 95% of the cases are resolved there.


Alberta Government – Law and Justice

Learn more about crime, law enforcement and the province’s justice system in Alberta. On their website, you can find legal assistance, free resources, your rights as an Albertan, and information about court procedures and trial courtroom procedures.


Canadian Judicial Council

The Canadian Judicial Council is the national council of the judiciary of Canada, overseeing the federal judges. Their website has important information to help you understand how the justice system works.


Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta (CPLEA)

CPLEA is a public legal education organization dedicated to making information about the law available in readable and understandable language for Albertans. On their website, you can browse legal topics by area. They also have materials and information about criminal law and abuse & protection.


Justice Canada

The Department of Justice assists the Minister of Justice and the Attorney General of Canada. The Department also ensures that high-quality legal services are available to the federal government. You can learn about criminal justice, victim support, and the local services they offer.


The Bail Process – Government of Canada

You can find a Fact sheet about the bail process here. If you want to learn more about the bail hearing, you can also visit our Bail Hearing section.

Non-Profit Organizations

CLG Alberta – (Formerly Dial-A-Law)

CLG is a non-profit legal organization dedicated to providing free legal guidance to vulnerable Albertans and those who do not have access to paid services. On their site, you can find a number of programs, legal services and support.


Innocence Canada

A Canadian non-profit organization that advocates for individuals convicted of a crime that they did not commit. Innocence Canada Foundation works to provide legal services to low-income families.


Legal Aid Alberta

A non-profit organization that provides legal services across Alberta. Their mission is to help individuals and the legal community support the justice system’s fairness.


Native Counselling Services of Alberta

Native Counselling is a non-profit organization that works to ensure that Native people in Alberta receive fair and equitable treatment in the justice system. The organization educates Aboriginal people about court procedures, and their legal rights and obligations, among others.


Elizabeth Fry Society

The Elizabeth Fry Society offers services for women who have come in conflict with the law or are incarcerated. There are 24 self-governing, community-based offices, including local offices in Calgary and Northern Alberta.

Website – Calgary:

Website – Edmonton:


Criminal Laws

Canadian Criminal Code

The Criminal Code is the federal law that defines the majority of criminal offences adopted by the Parliament of Canada. The code covers a wide range of crimes, such as murder, assault, theft and fraud. You can learn more about the criminal code in this infographic.


Controlled Drugs and Substances Act

All legislative documents related to controlled substances are contained in the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. If you have been charged with a drug offence, visit our drug possession section here.



Other Helpful Resources For People Accused of a Crime

  • Glossary of Legal Terms – Law Society Alberta – visit this glossary website to understand legal terms and explanations..
  • You’ve been charged with a crime: What you need to Know – a resourceful guide by the Alberta Government with general information about what to expect if you’re convicted.
  • Victims of Crime – The Canadian Government offers information and assistance for victims of crimes, including rights, roles, services, bail, trials, sentencing, parole and several publications.
  • Canadian Legal FAQs: Alberta – FAQ questions about the federal or Alberta law system.
  • Ask JES – free multilingual legal assistance, including chat, phone and text messages. ​​They offer help in English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Punjabi, Hindi, and French. Note: Ask JES is intended for British Columbia residents, but it can also be accessed for general information.
Questions to Ask a Criminal Lawyer - Edmonton Criminal Defence Lawyer

11 Questions to Ask a Criminal Defence Lawyer

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If you have been accused of a criminal offence or are under investigation for participating in a crime, one of the first steps you should take is to talk to a lawyer. However, selecting the right criminal lawyer is no easy task. 

Before you book your initial consultation, we recommend doing some research and preparing to ask your potential criminal defence lawyer some key questions.  The purpose of the first meeting is to determine whether the lawyer has the necessary experience to handle your case and whether you believe they’ll be a good fit for you.

Here is a list of 11 questions to ask a criminal defence lawyer, along with tips and recommendations.

Key Questions to Ask A Criminal Lawyer


Is it necessary to hire a criminal defence lawyer for my case?

Some people might think hiring a lawyer is unnecessary for some criminal charges. However, criminal law in Canada is complex, and having an experienced lawyer specializing in criminal law to guide you through the legal system can make all the difference in your outcome. 

Tip: The decision to hire a lawyer can be made after having your initial consultation with a criminal lawyer. This gives you the opportunity to understand more about your specific circumstances and how a lawyer may be able to help.

What is your experience in criminal law?

If you are facing criminal charges, you don’t want to put your matter in the hands of a general practice lawyer. Criminal lawyers specialize in criminal law and are prepared to represent and defend you. You need a lawyer who understands the criminal justice system and is familiar with bail, criminal trial procedure, and trial strategy. A criminal lawyer has experience with criminal cases, knows what approach to take, how to speak to prosecutors and address the Courts. They are familiary with criminal procedure and criminal defences and they know what strategies to use to win your case. 

Tip:  Do some online research. If you don’t see any information related to criminal law on their website, it’s likely that they’re not the right lawyer for you. 

Do you specialize in any area of criminal law?

Many criminal offence lawyers specialize in particular types of offences. For example, a criminal lawyer may specialize in impaired driving, another in drug possession charges, or sexual assault defence

It is appropriate for a client to inquire about the lawyer’s experience during the initial consultation. We advise you to find a lawyer who has represented defendants charged with the same or very similar offences. Visit our areas of practice to learn more about our experience with different offences.

How many similar cases have you represented, and what was the outcome?

If you are facing severe criminal charges, you do not want to entrust your freedom to a lawyer unfamiliar with your criminal charges. When interviewing a criminal lawyer, look for someone with a lot of experience with the specific crimes you’ve been charged with.

Remember that you should not hire a lawyer who refuses to discuss trial strategy or responds to your questions with vague answers.

How would you defend me?

Each lawyer has their own style. However, a good criminal lawyer will be able to explain what their strategies are to defend you. After their assessment of your matter, a good criminal defence lawyer will discuss the defense strategies that they believe will be most effective. This may include challenging the evidence, questioning witnesses, or negotiating a plea bargain. A good lawyer will also answer any questions you may have about your case, including the potential costs of legal representation, the timeline of the case, and the likelihood of success.

How often do your cases go to trial? 

A criminal trial may be held depending on the nature and seriousness of the charge. If you expect your case to go to trial, you should hire a criminal lawyer who has trial experience in criminal litigation in court. You might be surprised by the fact that a significant number of lawyers never go to court. Not all criminal lawyers have experience in trials, but our experienced lawyers at Davidson Gregory can handle these types of cases.

What kind of network and access to resources can you provide?

Experienced criminal lawyers will be able to demonstrate their network of professional relationships with prosecutors, judges, and court staff.  A lawyer’s network is beneficial in determining what types of plea bargains or other legal arrangements are available to you. Furthermore, successful lawyers will be able to connect you with other specialists and share critical criminal defence resources that will help you understand your case. This includes the use of experts who may testify in your trial.

Will you be handling my case? If not, who will I work with directly?

When you hire a criminal lawyer who is a solo practitioner, you can be certain about who will be working on your case. However, when hiring a law firm with multiple lawyers, it’s good to ask questions about who will be handling your case and what their skills may be. 

A team approach at a criminal defense law firm involves multiple lawyers and support staff working together to provide comprehensive legal representation for their clients. This approach allows the firm to leverage the diverse skills and experience of their team members to provide the best possible defense for their clients.

The team at Davidson Gregory uses a team approach, which allows our firm to provide comprehensive and effective legal representation for their clients. By leveraging the diverse skills and experience of their team members, they can handle even the most complex criminal cases with confidence.  

How much will I be charged for my case?

Never be afraid to inquire about the fees for legal representation. To avoid surprises, it is critical to understand how and when you will be charged. A professional criminal lawyer will explain their billing and fee structure and help you estimate how much you should expect to pay for his services.

Tip:  Some criminal lawyers charge by the hour, others by retainer, or some may have a fixed fee structure. It is important to understand how they charge. A good criminal lawyer understands the financial strain of a criminal case and will often allow you to make installment payments after you pay the initial retainer.

How and how often do you communicate with your clients?

Criminal legal matters can take weeks, months, or even years, so it is important to maintain open lines of communication with your criminal defence lawyer.  The best criminal defence lawyers will stay in touch throughout the process and update you about your case when necessary.

Tip:  Exchange contact information and ensure you understand their preferred mode of communication. A competent criminal lawyer should be able to schedule in person meetings or meeting by Zoom and should be able to communicate by email, text and phone.

Key Takeaways for Finding An Experienced Criminal Lawyer

Do your research on who will be representing you. When finding the right criminal defence lawyer, you want to ensure that they have the knowledge and understanding of the legal system to ensure you get reliable representation.

Are you looking for an experienced criminal lawyer in Edmonton? At Davidson Gregory, we have decades of experience helping clients navigate their legal matters with a practical and thorough defence. Contact Davidson Gregory for criminal defence representation now.