Criminal Defence

Our team of criminal defence lawyers has extensive experience defending individuals and corporations charged with criminal offences in Nova Scotia and other Canadian provinces. We have appeared at all levels of court, including the Provincial and Supreme Courts of Nova Scotia, the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal, and the Supreme Court of Canada.

Our lawyers approach every case with an aggressive focus on the best interests of the client. We are adept at negotiating resolutions with the Crown, but are always ready and willing to go to trial. We understand how serious the potential consequences of a criminal charge are, and are uncompromising in our pursuit of the best result possible for our clients.

Our defence team represents those charged under the Criminal Code, the Youth Criminal Justice Act, and the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. We handle motor vehicle charges under the Motor Vehicle Act, Peace Bond Applications and defences, and offences under the Liquor Control Act. We also assist complainants who are navigating the criminal justice system.

Our lawyers are experienced in niche practice areas, such as representing respondent students in investigations and appeals in post-secondary institution complaints proceedings. We also have expertise in defending those accused of fisheries offences under the Fisheries Act.

Our criminal defence team is exceptional in that it has the benefit of a large, all-service law firm’s resources available to them. Many of our defence lawyers have experience in other, related areas of law, and bring their varied perspectives and skillsets to each and every case.

Our team can help you with a full range of criminal or quasi-criminal issues, many of which are listed and described below. Whatever issue you’re dealing with, we’re in your corner.

Patterson’s defence lawyers are equipped to represent those accused of any offence under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (“CDSA”), including possession, delivery, trafficking (selling), manufacturing, and illegal growing. They have significant experience in assessing evidence for Charter breaches and search warrant issues.

Impaired driving offences (also known as “drunk driving” or “DUIs”) relate to operation or control of motor vehicles while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. They include impaired driving, impaired care and control, “over 80” (failing the breathalyzer), refusal (refusing to take the breathalyzer test), and impaired driving offences causing harm or death. These charges can involve very technical defences that our lawyers are prepared to advance.

Our lawyers have particular experience and expertise in various white-collar crimes, such as fraud (wire, mail, insurance, healthcare, and mortgage). We also represent parties involved in internal corporate investigations.

These include sexual assault (sometimes referred to as rape), sexual touching, sexual exploitation, sexual interference, indecent exposure, prostitution, and child pornography offences. Our defence lawyers understand the unique issues these offences present, and employ the most effective strategies to defend sexual allegations. They are very cognizant of the sensitive nature of these charges, and conduct themselves with utmost discretion and delicacy.

We represent those charged criminally with motor vehicle offences, such as impaired driving, dangerous driving, and hit and run offences. We also represent people accused of a wide range of traffic offences under the Motor Vehicle Act, such as speeding and stunting, dangerous driving, and driving without insurance. We provide thoughtful advice that considers the amount payable of the ticket, the cost of proceeding to trial, and our client’s individual goals (often, this is to avoid losing their driver’s licence).

Assault involves the intentional application of force without consent. “Violent crimes” cover a broad range of offences, including simple assault, assault causing bodily harm, aggravated assault, assault with a weapon, manslaughter, and murder. Threats are also included in this category of offences.

Patterson’s defence team represents both complainants and accused people in domestic violence cases. Our lawyers understand the complex relationships involved in these charges, and work hard to balance competing interests and goals that our clients have.

Weapon offences include use or possession of, carrying, handling, and improper storage of firearms (both legal and illegal). However, the definition of “weapon” is quite broad, and can include any item used or intended to be used to cause harm, threaten, or intimidate another person. Our defence lawyers have extensive experience in defending those accused of such offences.

Many Criminal Code offences relate to property. These include, but are not limited to, theft, burglary, robbery, break and enter, and mischief.

A number of criminal and quasi-criminal offences fall into this category. We defend charges laid under the Protection of Property Act, such as disorderly conduct; as well as under the Liquor Control Act, such as underage drinking and public intoxication. We also have ample experience with defending criminal allegations, such as resisting arrest and obstruction of justice charges.

Patterson Law offers its expertise to help clients successfully navigate the Fisheries Industry, both provincially and federally. This includes providing compliance advice, and representing those charged with offences under the Fisheries Act and its regulations.

Decisions made by trial courts can be appealed to appellate courts by the defence or Crown. Our lawyers are prepared to advise you on your chances of success in appealing your decision, to represent you in launching that appeal, or to defend you in an appeal brought by the Crown.

Upon being criminally charged, the police can impose conditions on your release. They can also hold you in custody and bring you before court to determine whether you should be released pending trial. Patterson’s defence team can review your conditions and make an Application to vary them. We are also equipped to represent you in a bail hearing to advocate for your release pending trial.

In Canada, these are called “Peace Bonds”. Our criminal defence team can assist you in defending a Peace Bond Application that someone has made against you. We can also help you obtain a Peace Bond against someone who has given you cause to fear for the safety of you or your family, or your property.

The Patterson defence team has experience in defending professionals in relation to allegations of wrongdoing that could result in disciplinary sanctions imposed by their governing body. We also have lawyers with expertise in defending students of post-secondary institutions from allegations of academic offences and violations of the institution’s code of conduct, including allegations of sexual impropriety.

The criminal justice system has special rules under the Youth Criminal Justice Act that govern young people charged with offences. Patterson’s team will dedicate themselves to ensuring that these rules work to your advantage, and that you receive all benefits of the youth justice system.