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.

Demystifying Firearm Classification in Canada: An In-Depth Guide


The realm of firearms in Canada is vast and multifaceted. With a myriad of classifications and ever-evolving regulations, it’s essential for firearm enthusiasts, both seasoned and newcomers, to stay informed. This guide, curated by Calvin Barry’s Law Firm, is designed to illuminate the intricacies of firearm classifications in Canada, ensuring you’re always a step ahead.

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:

Category 1: Non-Restricted Firearms

Non-restricted firearms, or Category 1, are the most accessible firearms for Canadians. This category primarily encompasses rifles, shotguns, airguns, and certain antique firearms. While they are more accessible, it’s essential to understand that owning one requires a Possession and Acquisition License (PAL) from the RCMP. Their popularity stems from their use in recreational activities like hunting and sport shooting.

Category 2: Restricted Firearms

Restricted firearms are a testament to the intricate firearm landscape in Canada. These firearms, which include specific handguns and semi-automatic rifles, are characterized by their unique design and functionality. Every restricted firearm must be registered with the RCMP’s Canadian Firearms Program (CFP), a testament to the importance of accountability in firearm ownership.

Category 3: Prohibited Firearms

Prohibited firearms are at the zenith of firearm regulations in Canada. This category, which includes firearms like fully automatic weapons and certain AR-15 rifle variants, is stringently regulated due to the potential risks associated with them. Knowledge and adherence to the laws surrounding these firearms are non-negotiable for owners.

Possession and Acquisition License (PAL)

The journey to obtaining a PAL in Canada is rigorous but essential. It’s not just about completing courses and passing exams; it’s about demonstrating responsibility, understanding, and respect for the power of firearms. The PAL is segmented into classes, each tailored to specific firearm types, ensuring that owners are well-equipped and knowledgeable.

Safe Storage Requirements

Safety transcends all when it comes to firearms. Canadian law is unequivocal about the need for secure storage, ensuring firearms are inaccessible to unauthorized individuals. This involves using approved storage devices and ensuring ammunition is stored separately, underscoring the importance of safety in firearm ownership.

Transportation Regulations

Transporting firearms is a responsibility. It’s not just about locking them in a container; it’s about understanding the importance of safety during transit. Necessary documentation, like a valid PAL or registration certificate, is a testament to an owner’s commitment to compliance.

Other Firearms

Beyond the primary classifications, Canada’s firearm landscape is dotted with other categories. These include antique firearms, curio and relic firearms, and even paintball and airsoft guns. A holistic understanding of these classifications ensures comprehensive knowledge and unwavering compliance.


Firearm ownership in Canada is a privilege, and with it comes the responsibility of knowledge and compliance. Staying updated with firearm classifications is not just about adhering to the law; it’s about championing responsible ownership. With resources like the RCMP Firearms Program, CSSA, NFA, and CCFR, Canadian gun owners are never in the dark. 

We advocate for continued education and a deep understanding of firearm laws. For more insights and to ensure you’re always on the right side of the law, visit getcertain.ca and take a proactive step towards responsible firearm ownership.

Get In Touch

Contact Calvin Barry Today.

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

Book a Free Consultation