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.

Drug-Impaired Driving: Understanding Consequences and Defences in Hamilton, Canada

With the legalization of cannabis in Canada, understanding the laws and consequences of drug-impaired driving has become increasingly important. While many people are aware of the risks and legal implications associated with alcohol-impaired driving, the nuances of drug-impaired driving in Hamilton, Canada, require further examination. To mitigate the potential consequences of a charge, seeking the support and expertise of a skilled criminal defence lawyer is essential.

In this informative and educational blog post, we will explore the specifics of drug-impaired driving laws in Hamilton, Canada, the unique challenges associated with these cases, and the importance of partnering with an experienced criminal defence lawyer to build a robust defence. Our goal is to educate and empower those facing drug-impaired driving charges to navigate the complexities of the legal system with confidence and poise.

I. The Legal Framework of Drug-Impaired Driving in Hamilton

In Hamilton and across Canada, drug-impaired driving is treated as a serious criminal offence under the Criminal Code of Canada. While the specifics of each case may vary, drivers caught driving while impaired by drugs—including cannabis, prescription medication, and illicit substances—can face severe legal consequences. Key aspects of drug-impaired driving laws include:

  1. Testing and Detection: Police officers are authorized to use a variety of tools to test for drug impairment, including Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFSTs), drug recognition evaluations, and blood or saliva tests.
  2. Legal Limits: While there is no specific “legal limit” for drug concentrations, the presence of drugs in a driver’s system can result in criminal charges, depending on the substance and the degree of impairment.
  3. Penalties: A conviction for drug-impaired driving can result in a range of penalties, including fines, license suspensions, mandatory education programs, and even imprisonment.

II. Building a Strong Defence in Drug-Impaired Driving Cases

Given the potential consequences of a drug-impaired driving charge, it is crucial to enlist the support of an experienced criminal defence lawyer, like Calvin Barry Professional Corporation. A skilled lawyer will work diligently to develop an effective defence strategy, which may include:

  1. Challenging the Legality of the Stop and Arrest: Your lawyer can scrutinize the sequence of events leading to your arrest to ensure that appropriate legal procedures were followed and that your rights were not infringed upon.
  2. Examining the Reliability of Testing Methods: In drug-impaired driving cases, the accuracy of testing methods can be a key aspect of the defence. Your lawyer can critically evaluate the testing methods used by the police to ensure that all results are reliable and admissible in court.
  3. Assessing the Culpability of Prescription Medication: If your impairment was due to prescribed medication, your lawyer may argue that the impairment was unintentional, and explore alternative resolutions or leniency in sentencing.
  4. Presenting Mitigating Factors: Your lawyer may present relevant mitigating factors to the court, such as your driving history, your cooperation with law enforcement, and the potential impact of a conviction on your personal and professional life.

III. The Role of an Experienced Criminal Defence Lawyer

An experienced criminal defence lawyer brings invaluable knowledge and skills to the table when addressing drug-impaired driving charges. Key benefits of working with a lawyer like Calvin Barry Professional Corporation include:

  1. Comprehensive Case Assessment: Your lawyer will thoroughly assess your case to identify potential weaknesses in the prosecution’s evidence and build a robust defence.
  2. Expert Legal Advice: Your lawyer can provide you with detailed information on the legal implications of a drug-impaired driving charge, allowing you to make informed decisions regarding your case.
  3. Effective Negotiation: In some cases, your lawyer can negotiate with the prosecution to secure a more favourable outcome, such as a reduced charge or alternative resolution.
  4. Comprehensive Court Representation: A skilled criminal defence lawyer will marshal the evidence in your favour, present a compelling defence in court, and advocate for your best interests throughout the legal process.

IV. Navigating the Personal Consequences of a Drug-Impaired Driving Charge

A drug-impaired driving charge can have a profound impact on your personal and professional life. Here are some steps to consider when addressing these challenges:

  1. Inform Your Employer: If your job requires driving or security clearances, be honest with your employer about your situation and discuss any potential workplace implications.
  2. Seek Support: Connect with friends, family, or professional counsellors to help manage the emotional stress associated with your charge.
  3. Commit to Personal Growth: Use this experience to reflect on your decision-making and commit to making safer choices in the future.


Drug-impaired driving is a complex and often misunderstood aspect of impaired driving laws in Hamilton, Canada. With potentially severe consequences for those charged, it is crucial to understand the legal framework, build a strong defence, and work with an experienced criminal defence lawyer like Calvin Barry Professional Corporation.

By following the guidance provided in this blog post and seeking the support of a skilled legal professional, individuals facing drug-impaired driving charges in Hamilton, Canada, can work strategically towards the most favourable resolution possible. A dedicated criminal defence lawyer‘s expertise and commitment to personal growth and development will empower individuals to navigate the challenges of a drug-impaired driving case and emerge with resilience and hope for the future.

Book a Free Consultation