Nobody ever grows up imagining they want to become a criminal, and nobody ever plans on getting arrested. Unfortunately, life is complicated and sometimes things don’t go to plan.

Misunderstandings, mistakes that get blown out of proportion and good intentions that backfire can sometimes result and legal trouble. Rather than ruining your life, you could see this as an opportunity to take responsibility, grab the reigns and turn things around.

You may be wondering what these mystery crimes are that you haven’t committed yet. Well, think about the one time you had one more glass of wine than you should have before driving, the time you got in a yelling match with a loved one or the time you bought drugs from a “friend of a friend”. There are rare folks out there who’ve never step outside the bounds of the law, but for most of us, slip-ups and mistakes happen from time to time. One of the above scenarios could spin out of control and lead to criminal charges.

When you’re arrested for a criminal offence, it’s easy to imagine that you’re somehow invincible – that you’ll get off with a light slap. The truth, however, is that judges are in the habit of doling out severe sentences to one-time offenders to set an example, which is why you need an experienced criminal lawyer if you’re ever in legal trouble. A good lawyer can help you better understand the chain of events that led to your scrape with the law and present an airtight narrative to the court conveying your repentance and the willingness to address the root cause.

A good lawyer is both a lamb and a lion – in turns gentle and fierce when it serves the case. The bottom line is that you need to avoid criminal charges at all costs to keep your life intact, and then take measures not to make the same mistake over again.

Beyond the defensive measure of seeking legal counsel, here are three preventative measures you can take to avoid landing yourself in legal trouble:

  1. Know Your Limit – Different states and provinces have different laws around alcohol consumption and driving. Your blood alcohol level also depends on your weight, so the same standards don’t hold true for everyone. In provinces like Ontario, a G2 license means you can drive a car like anyone else, but one of the restrictions is that your blood alcohol level must be zero. Understanding these regional laws and your own limits is important.

  1. Self-Control – When you think of a “domestic dispute” you might think of some violent monster, but when tempers flare out of control, people are prone to yelling, breaking things and saying things they regret. A neighbour may end up calling the police and escalating the situation. For some, seeking therapy for anger management, couples counselling or simply leaving a toxic relationship can undercut volatile behaviour.
  2. Legal Cannabis/ Evaluating the Risk – While cannabis is becoming legal in certain states and provinces, it is still prudent to research laws about public consumption and driving under the influence. You may think it’s alright to drive to the store after munching an edible, but the cops might not agree. As far as illegal drugs go, just ask yourself the question: is it worth risking legal trouble?

If you find yourself in legal trouble, reach out to an experienced lawyer. If you think you’re above legal trouble, think again. We’re all human, and mistakes happen, so keep your eyes open and use your best judgment.

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