Changes for Traffic Court… Bill 21 PASSED!

EFFECTIVE TODAY: Changes to Traffic Court!
 
Changes to how traffic infractions like speeding will be handled in Alberta following the passing of Bill 21, or the Provincial Administrative Penalties Act, in 2020 take effect today.
 
The 2020-2021 annual report from the Ministry of Justice and Solicitor General said the initiative was a joint venture between the ministries of Justice and Transportation, and “is designed to make Alberta roads safer while also restoring justice system capacity.”
 
The first phase of the initiative strengthened administrative penalties for impaired driving.
 
Any applications to contest the administrative penalties would require a fine and going in front of an adjudicator, not a justice. Limitations on evidence can be set, but the method of review excludes in-person hearings.
 
Wondering how this may effect any traffic violations you have been issued prior to today?
 
Contact our office and speak with our Traffic Court Agent about what you can expect now that this bill has been passed.
 
Connolly Schurtz Criminal Defense Law Firm in Lethbridge, AB at 403-329-8188

WOMEN IN CANADIAN CRIMINAL DEFENCE

It is with great pleasure that we introduce the WOMEN IN CANADIAN CRIMINAL DEFENCE association and are proud to announce our very own Miranda Hlady as the Vice President.
WICCD is Canada’s only national organization solely for women, those who identify as female and non-binary colleagues, working in criminal defense.
It is an association whose time has come. WICCD for the first time brings together women in criminal defense across Canada to form an advocacy group that is comprised entirely of women, and only for women.
WICCD is a national umbrella organization that brings together women in criminal defense across Canada who may already belong to women’s committees, caucuses or sub-groups of defense associations or who have yet to join any other group. WICCD aims to build bridges and consolidate gains, working collaboratively with our women, trans and non-binary colleagues.
WICCD does not intend to compete with any existing organization. Rather, it seeks to complement existing supports and services, by providing a unique forum of robust supports, informed by national and regional perspectives including those of our newest, young, racialized women members, members of the LGBTQ2S+ community and everyone who identifies as female or non-binary.
WICCD provides a safe and inclusive space for us all to share our experiences, support and celebrate one another. It aims to advance the interests of women in the defense bar and to address the current crisis of women leaving the bar in unprecedented numbers. WICCD is mindful of gender-based discrimination our members routinely face, including implicit biases, and will advocate for solutions to ensure genuine equality for women in criminal defense on a systemic level. It will employ an intersectional lens in its advocacy on all issues of importance to its members.
Membership in WICCD is free.
Criminal defense lawyers and law students interested in criminal law are encouraged to apply for membership. Some membership criteria apply, including verification of the applicant’s identity, solely to ensure membership is restricted to eligible members.
WICCD’s initiatives, including specific services, programs or events, will be determined by its membership. Members will have access to WICCD’s inclusive and collegial listserv.
WICCD formally launches on January 1st, 2022.
The founding members of the inaugural Executive are:
President: Sid Freeman
Vice-President: Amanda Ross
Vice-President: Miranda HladyConnolly and Shurtz Criminal Defense Law Firm
Treasurer: Cassandra DeMelo
Secretary: Anita Szigeti
Assistant Secretary: Maya Shukairy
Recorder: Shaunna Kelly
Litigation Director: Maija Martin
Membership Committee Co-chairs:
Hamna Anwar
Maya Kotob
To express an interest in joining us, or to apply for membership, contact WICCD at:
Wiccd.womendefencelawyerscanada@gmail.com
We are excited about the future and look forward to working with you all!

Restricted Access to Courthouse remains in effect!

Restricted Access to Courthouses

The Alberta Courts are attempting to balance the open court principle with public health priorities. The Courts are taking proactive preventative measures to protect justice system participants and reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Effective March 30, 2020, access to all courthouses in the province of Alberta will be restricted until further notice.

Members of the general public will not be permitted to enter a courthouse unless they are:

  • parties to the litigation/appeal,
  • counsel to the parties to the litigation/appeal,
  • witnesses,
  • interpreters whose presence is required for a proceeding,
  • support persons as set out in s. 486.1(1) and (2) of the Criminal Code,
  • support workers authorized by the Courts to assist parties to the litigation/appeal,
  • members of the accredited media,
  • persons paying a criminal fine or restitution order or paying bail or surety applications on behalf of an accused because they are unable to access electronic payment.
  • persons filing documents at a Court registry.
  • persons whose attendance has been approved by a judge or justice of the Court in which a proceeding is being held.

Lawyers are urged to make use of expanded access to email and fax filing in order to better manage traffic at courthouse counters. Lawyers, Court Runners and Litigants attending at courthouses to file documents in person are directed to make use of the dropboxes or the other alternative forms of filing that have been made available.

Attendance at all courthouses will also be refused to persons:

  • who have been advised to self-isolate by public health officials or their doctor,
  • who are self-isolating as a result of travel or contact with individuals with COVID-19, or
  • who are experiencing any COVID-19 related symptoms.

Contact our Lawyers at Connolly and Associates to learn more about the closure and how you are to proceed with your specific case.

COVID-19 UPDATE: Circuit locations will start to open for trials

As per the Provincial Courts of Alberta:

COVID-19 Resumption Final Stage – September 8, 2020

The Provincial Court of Alberta is very mindful of the need to expand in-person access to the Court, while at the same time protecting the health and safety of courts users and the public, and to contain the spread of COVID-19. Effective July 6, 2020, we increased the number of criminal, family and youth, and civil matters that could be heard in-person at base point locations. Starting September 8, circuit locations will start to open for in-person and remote hearings (trials only)

While we will do our best to keep our clients and community up-to-date on Covid-19 as we become aware, we do ask that you remain patient with us during this time and ask that you reach out to us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling our office at 403-329-8188

For more information regarding Covid-19 and the Alberta Provincial Courts please visit:

https://albertacourts.ca/pc/resources/covid

 

COVID-19 UPDATE: Resumption Plan Stage 1

COVID-19 UPDATE: Resumption Plan Stage 1
 
Current update as per Alberta Courts:
 
Docket Courts will only be held remotely by teleconference or videoconference. If you are not in custody and have an adult criminal court appearance in the Court between May 25th and July 3rd, 2020 you do not need to attend in court. Your matter will be adjourned six weeks from the date of your scheduled court appearance or the next court date thereafter.
 
In-custody matters will continue to be heard as presently scheduled.
 
If you have any concerns or need to speak with one of our Criminal Defense Lawyers, please do so by calling our office at 403-329-8188. We are taking calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
 
For more information about Connolly and Associates visit our website at www.connollyandassociates.ca

COVID-19 UPDATE: Legal Aid

UPDATE: Covid-19 – Legal Aid

Clients can now call Legal Aid and get coverage for criminal charges. Call 1-866-845-3425 and let Legal Aid know your charges and choice of counsel.

“Beginning Wednesday, April 15, 2020, we are implementing a new virtual out of custody process to support processing client applications for all out-of-custody criminal matters. If a client is eligible for coverage, we will issue certificates based on our normal process honoring our choice of counsel rules.”

If you previously contacted Legal Aid and were not assisted, please call again. Legal Aid has changed the Covid-19 policy and will begin taking applications again Wednesday, April 15, 2020.

Even though our office is closed, we are still willing to assist by phone 24 hours a day. If you have been charged and require assistance please call Connolly & Associates at 403-329-8188.

COVID-19 UPDATE: Traffic Court

TRAFFIC COURT

Until further notice, all Traffic Courts in Alberta will be closed effective Tuesday, March 17, 2020.

If you have an appearance, trial or application scheduled during the closure, do not attend court in person. Contact the court handling your matter by telephone, e-mail or fax.

 

Do not dispute your ticket but need time to pay, wish to adjourn your matter, or wish to plead not guilty and set a trial date. Not guilty pleas will also continue to be accepted by mail. Follow the instructions on your ticket for submitting a not guilty plea by mail.

If you fail to contact the court handling your matter on or before your scheduled appearance, trial or application date, you may be convicted in absence or a warrant may be issued for your arrest. If you are convicted in absence, you may be subject to a late payment charge.

 

DO NOT ATTEND THE COURTHOUSE TO PAY FINES IN PERSON

 

Fine payments can be made:

online at Fine Payments

by mail to the Provincial Traffic Production Centre, 601 5th Street SW, Calgary, Alberta T2P 5P7

through a Registry Office

COVID-19 UPDATE

UPDATE: Covid-19

We wanted to keep you in the loop during this pandemic so we will be sharing the following information from The Provincial Court of Alberta:

COVID-19 PANDEMIC PLANNING FOR THE SCHEDULING OF MATTERS
UPDATED APRIL 6, 2020

As of Tuesday March 17, 2020, if you have a criminal court or a Provincial Offences/traffic court appearance in the Alberta Provincial Court, you do not need to attend unless the matter is an in-custody or urgent criminal matter, or an urgent family or child protection matter.

No members of the public will be permitted in courthouses unless they are required for a court matter (parties, witnesses, media). Legal counsel is permitted access to the Court house for urgent court-related business ONLY.

Do not come into a courthouse in person if you have been advised to self-isolate by public health officials, your doctor or the Alberta Health Services website; or you are self-isolating as a result of travel or contact with individuals with COVID-19.

THE COURT IS REDUCING THE NUMBER OF COURTHOUSES AND COURTROOMS THAT ARE OPERATIONAL. Court locations that remain open are CONDUCTING URGENT BUSINESS ONLY.

CRIMINAL AND YOUTH CRIMINAL MATTERS
If you are not in custody and you have a criminal court appearance in the Alberta Provincial Court between Tuesday March 17 and Friday, May 22, 2020 you do not need to attend court. The Court website will be updated regularly to provide information regarding rescheduling, which will be 10 weeks from the date of your scheduled court appearance or the next court date thereafter.
All out of custody matters will be adjourned for 10 weeks from the date currently set. Counsel shall not attend for these presumptive 10 week adjournments.

All regional matters will return to their respective regional Case Management Office (CMO) location. If there is no CMO location in the region, it will return to the docket court of that location.

All in-custody matters will proceed including:

Bail hearings
Sentencings with a priority given to those facing a time served situation
Preliminary inquiries and trials
Youth criminal sentence reviews
The Court will hear urgent out of custody criminal matters with leave of a judge.

The Court will be available to process urgent warrants and judicial authorizations.

The court will continue to post further information as it becomes available, so please continue to check the Provincial Court website for updates.

We will continue to keep you informed as new information becomes available. Please keep in mind that our office is closed but we are still taking all your calls and emails so be sure to reach out to us via telephone at 403-329-8188 or email at info@connollyandassociates.ca you can also find up-to-date information on our website under “Community” www.connollyandassociates.ca

Congratulations! Queen’s Counsel

We are so excited to congratulate our own Claudia Connolly for her well deserved appointment as Queen’s Counsel.

Claudia Connolly
Appointment of Queen’s Counsel Claudia Connolly

As an honorary of the Queen’s Counsel a Lawyer is appointed by letters patent to be one of “Her Majesty’s Counsel learned in the law”. Lawyers appointed the Queen’s Counsel are long serving lawyers, because their status is given by the Crown and recognized by the courts.

An Induction Ceremony for Claudia will be held at a later date at which time we will share and celebrate this accomplishment along side Claudia.

Lawyer Spotlight! Darcy Shurtz

Darcy Shurtz was admitted to the Alberta Bar in 2016. He was born and raised in the Lethbridge area and attended Athabasca University before obtaining a law degree in Western Michigan. Darcy was awarded a Juris Doctor (magna cum laude) from Western Michigan University in 2014. Darcy completed his articles with Connolly & Associates where he has subsequently been practicing as an associate lawyer.

Darcy Shurtz
Darcy Shurtz
Criminal Defense Lawyer in Lethbridge, AB

Darcy practices in all aspects of criminal defence and works vigorously to defend the rights of his clients. Darcy appears regularly in criminal court in Lethbridge, Taber, Fort Macleod, and Cardston. Impaired driving, assault, property offenses, and drug-related offenses are some of the areas Darcy has significant experience and expertise.

Darcy Shurtz
Criminal Defense Lawyer in Lethbridge, AB

Contact Darcy direct at: darcy@connollyandassociates.ca