A Comprehensive Guide to Criminal Court Proceedings in Toronto

Facing criminal charges in Toronto or the surrounding areas can be a daunting experience. The complexities of the legal system and the potential life-altering consequences make it essential to understand the criminal court proceedings in the Greater Toronto Area. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through each stage of the process, shedding light on the various steps involved and providing valuable insights to help you navigate the system with confidence.

Whether you’re facing charges for the first time or simply seeking to educate yourself on the legal process, this guide offers the essential information required to better comprehend the intricacies of criminal court proceedings in Toronto.

Armed with a deeper understanding of the steps and players involved, you’ll be better prepared to make informed decisions and work closely with your legal team for the best possible outcome in your case.

A Comprehensive Guide to Criminal Court Proceedings in Toronto
1. Laying of Charges and Initial Arrest

The criminal court process begins when the police arrest a suspect and lay formal charges based on the Criminal Code of Canada. After the arrest, the accused is taken into custody and may be held for a bail hearing or released on bail with certain conditions. In some cases, the police may release the accused on a Promise to Appear or Undertaking before they even get to the bail hearing stage.

2. Bail Hearing

A bail hearing, also known as a judicial interim release hearing, is held within 24 hours of an arrest or as soon as possible following that timeframe. This hearing’s purpose is to determine whether the accused should remain in custody while awaiting their trial or be released on bail.

The Crown prosecutor may argue to keep the accused in custody based on flight risk, likelihood of reoffending, or the severity of the crime. If released, the accused will need to follow conditions laid out by the court and release documents. These conditions may include no-contact orders, curfews, or geographical restrictions.

3. Disclosure and Case Conferences

Following the bail hearing, the next step in the criminal court process is disclosure. The Crown prosecutor is required to provide the accused and their lawyer with a copy of all the evidence against them in their case. This disclosure may include witness statements, police reports, and expert opinions. Your defence lawyer will review this material to determine the most appropriate strategy for your case.

Case conferences, or pre-trial meetings, are held between the Crown and defence counsel to discuss and possibly resolve the case without going to trial. These informal meetings can result in an agreed resolution or identify outstanding issues to be decided at trial.

4. Preliminary Hearings

In cases involving an indictable offence, a preliminary hearing may take place to determine whether there is enough evidence for the case to proceed to trial. This hearing is held before a judge, with the Crown prosecutor presenting evidence and calling witnesses to testify. The accused’s defence lawyer can cross-examine these witnesses and challenge the evidence presented. If the judge determines that there is sufficient evidence, a trial date will be set.

5. Choosing Trial by Judge or Jury

For those facing more serious indictable offences, the accused will have the option to choose whether their case will be tried by a judge alone or judge and jury. This decision should be made in consultation with your defence lawyer, considering the factors surrounding your case and the type of trial that may provide the most favourable outcome.

6. Pre-Trial Motions

Installed directly into a vehicle’s ignition system, an IID requires the driver to blow into a mouthpiece before starting the car. The device measures the individual’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and only allows the vehicle to start if their BAC meets the predetermined limit, usually well below the legal level of impairment. Some devices may also require random retests while the vehicle is in motion, ensuring continuous sober driving.

7. Trial Process

During the trial, the Crown prosecutor and defence lawyer present their cases before the judge or jury. The Crown has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. This is accomplished by presenting evidence and calling witnesses to testify. The defence, on the other hand, will challenge the evidence and witness testimony to create reasonable doubt.

The trial process typically follows a set order, beginning with opening statements from the Crown prosecutor, followed by presentation of the Crown’s case, including witness testimony and evidence. The defence may then present their case, which may or may not include calling witnesses or providing additional evidence. Both the Crown and defence have the opportunity to cross-examine witnesses.

After each side presents their case, closing statements are made, summarizing the principal arguments and addressing any issues raised during the trial. In a jury trial, the judge will then instruct the jury on the relevant legal principles to be applied before they begin their deliberations.

8. Verdict and Sentencing

At the end of the trial, the judge or jury will announce a verdict of guilty or not guilty. If the accused is found not guilty, they will be acquitted, and the criminal proceedings will end. If found guilty, a sentencing hearing will be scheduled.

During the sentencing hearing, both the Crown and the defence will present their positions on the appropriate sentence for the accused. The judge will consider various factors, such as the nature and gravity of the offence, the offender’s criminal history, and personal circumstances before delivering the sentence. Sentences can range from fines and community service to probation, incarceration, or a combination of penalties.

Knowing each stage of the criminal court proceedings in Toronto can help you better understand and prepare for the legal challenges you may face. Ensure that you discuss every aspect of your case with an experienced criminal defence lawyer to make informed decisions throughout the process.

Empower Yourself with Knowledge and Legal Expertise

Understanding the criminal court proceedings in Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area is essential for navigating the legal system effectively and making informed decisions at every step of the process. It’s vital to have a skilled and experienced criminal defence lawyer by your side to guide you, protect your rights, and present your case in the best possible light.

If you’re facing criminal charges in Toronto, don’t leave your future to chance. The legal professionals at Calvin Barry Professional Corporation are experienced in handling all aspects of criminal court proceedings and are dedicated to providing personalized, effective representation for your unique case. 

Schedule a consultation with our team today to discuss your case and begin planning your legal strategy for the best possible outcome.

Be open and honest with your lawyer to give them the best chance of successfully defending you. Contact Calvin Barry today if you need a DUI lawyer in Toronto or the surrounding area.

Get In Touch

Contact Calvin Barry Today.

Contact an experienced criminal defence lawyer in Toronto to fight for your case.

Be open and honest with your lawyer to give them the best chance of successfully defending you. Contact Calvin Barry today if you need a DUI lawyer in Toronto or the surrounding area.

Concerning Drinking And Driving Statistics In Canada For 2022 (Part 2 Of 3)

Drinking and driving issues are Canada’s most significant contributors to public health and safety problems. This shows that drunk driving and impaired driving do not pick a place and time and that they are ongoing social problems that need to be addressed by the government and with the help of informed citizens. 

With this in mind, here is part 2 of our article on Drinking and Driving Statistics Canada for 2022 That You Should Be Concerned About:

A Low Blood Alcohol Concentration Level Can Still Increase the Risk of Having a Road Crash

According to the World Health Organization, even a low BAC of just 0.03 (less than half the legal limit) can still be a significant precipitating factor in a road crash. The same finding is factual for intoxication with any substance with psychoactive properties. The risks can exponentially rise with higher concentrations of substances. For instance, a BAC of 0.09 increases accident risk by 5X.

A BAC of Higher Than 0.08 While Driving Is a Criminal Offence in Canada

With the sharp increase in the possibility of road crashes for people with a BAC higher than the legal limit, it is no wonder that driving with a BAC of more than 0.08 is punished as a criminal offence. Lower BACs while driving come with fines, too, as well as license suspension.

Driving with a BAC of 0.08 Comes with a Minimum Fine of $1000

This $1000 fine is to deter people from driving when they know they have drunk alcohol. The higher the level of alcohol in the blood, the higher the fine.  

  • Those registering a BAC of 0.12-0.159 are fined a minimum of $1,500. 
  • Those with a BAC of more than 0.16 are fined a minimum of $2,000
  • People who do not give a breath sample are automatically fined $2,000. 
  • More penalties and punishments are given for repeat offenders or circumstances that are perceived as severe offences.
Causing Bodily Harm While Driving Can Get up to 14 Years Prison Term in Canada

Aside from penalties in the form of fines and license suspension, those who cause bodily harm while drunk driving in Canada faces imprisonment of up to 14 years. This is to deter repeat offenders and an attempt to make Canadian roads safer overall.

A BAC of 0.05 Plus Having 2.5 Nanograms of THC per 1 Milliliter of Blood Is Illegal in Canada

To further prevent accidents related to alcohol, Canada has a separate set of consequences for those driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs. Suppose someone has been found to have alcohol in the blood and other psychoactive substances such as ketamine, PCP, cocaine, methamphetamine, LSD, and psilocybin. In that case, they can face a criminal charge.

55% of Road Crash Deaths in Canada Are Related to Drugs and Alcohol

About 13% of all road crash deaths in recent statistics are related to alcohol alone, while drugs account for 25%, making it more dangerous. A combination of alcohol and drugs is a causative factor in 15% of road fatalities, resulting in 55% of road deaths being related to alcohol and drugs.

This is part 2 of the series on the Drinking and Driving Statistics in Canada for 2022 That You Should Be Concerned About. If you find yourself needing legal help due to alcohol or drug-related DUI charge, then contact us so we can get you in touch with Toronto DUI Lawyer Calvin Barry.

Contact Calvin Barry for a free consultation!

Get In Touch

Contact Calvin Barry Today.

Contact an experienced criminal defence lawyer in Toronto to fight for your case.

Book a Free Consultation