THE PROCESS

I have a client-focused approach. I offer a no charge initial consultation, flexible appointment times (as early as the day you call), fees quoted in advance so that there are no surprises. I can arrange payment plans for you. I explain the steps involved in your criminal case so that you know your options. Legal Aid may be accepted. I can appear in court on your behalf, so you do not miss work.
 

How a Typical Criminal Charge Proceeds Through the ‘System’

These comments are based largely on the Newmarket Ontario Court of Justice but are generally accurate for all courts in Ontario.

1.     Arrest / Charge:  When you are arrested or charged with an offence, the police may release you from the station or they may hold you for a bail hearing at court. Generally, if you are charged with an offence involving allegations of domestic violence or if you have outstanding charges you will be held for a bail hearing.

 

2.     First Appearance:  After release either by police or at a bail hearing, you will be ordered to make a court appearance. At your first appearance you will usually be given ‘disclosure’ and the court will adjourn (postpone) your case for a further 3 weeks or so to allow you to hire a lawyer and review disclosure.

 

Some people plead guilty at their first appearance. They don’t hire a lawyer and they usually don’t care about the consequences. (See 'Should I plead guilty?')

 

3.     Intake/Pre-Trial Process:  Before setting a trial date or pleading guilty, there will have to be meetings between the Crown (prosecutor) and your lawyer. These discussions can either take place in-person, over the phone, or in writing. Further disclosure may be requested from the Crown/police.

 

There may be a ‘plea bargain’ where the Crown agrees to a certain resolution and sometimes will agree to withdraw the charges.

If the case is going to trial, time estimates and scheduling will be discussed and a date will be set. It is not unusual for this stage to take three months or so, and sometimes longer in a case where you are doing counseling or volunteer work.

 

4.     Trial:  Trials are currently being set 4 to 8 months or so in the future. Early dates are available in certain situations. At your trial the Crown has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the offence(s) you are charged with.

You do not have to prove anything and are not required to testify if you don’t want to. You do need to prepare for your trial by meeting with me well in advance of the trial date so that motions can be prepared, witnesses subpoenaed & interviewed, and your testimony reviewed in the event you do testify. You need to provide me with names and contact information of any potential witnesses in writing at least 30 days prior to your trial.

 

Sometimes trials ‘settle’ on the trial date. A trial may finish on the scheduled date or it may continue on a later date. Trials may be adjourned at the request of the Crown or defence, but adjournments on the trial date will only be granted for good cause.

5.     Superior Court Trials:  More serious charges are sometimes tried in the Superior Court by Judge alone or Judge and Jury. I have extensive experience at this level of Court. As a results of amendments to the Criminal Code almost all criminal charges proceed in the Ontario Court of Justice.


Don't be Fooled - Hire the right lawyer!