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.

Bail Hearing FAQs: Key Questions and Answers for Toronto Clients

The bail hearing process can be intimidating and confusing for clients facing criminal charges in the Greater Toronto Area. Undergoing this crucial stage of the legal journey, it is essential to feel informed and empowered. Our comprehensive resource, exploring frequently asked questions about bail hearings, is designed to address common concerns and provide you with the valuable information you need.

The skilled criminal defence lawyers at Calvin Barry Professional Corporation are committed to helping you protect your rights and interests during bail hearings. By understanding the bail process, you can better navigate the complexities of the legal system and make informed decisions about your case. Our goal is to provide you with both the support and resources necessary to achieve the best possible outcome when working through these challenging times.

1. What is a bail hearing?

A bail hearing is a legal proceeding that occurs shortly after an individual has been arrested and charged with a criminal offence. The primary purpose of a bail hearing is to determine whether the accused should be released from custody pending trial or whether they should be detained until their court date. The presiding judge or justice of the peace will assess factors such as flight risk, public safety, and the likelihood of the accused committing another offence if released on bail.

2. How soon does a bail hearing occur after an arrest?

In Canada, the Criminal Code mandates that an accused must be brought before a justice for a bail hearing within 24 hours of their arrest, or “as soon as possible” if a justice is not available within that time frame. This is to protect the individual’s right to a prompt judicial review of their detention status, as outlined in Section 503 of the Criminal Code.

3. What factors do judges consider when deciding on bail?

When making a decision about bail, judges weigh several factors to determine whether the accused should be released or detained until trial. Some key factors include:

– The seriousness of the alleged offence

– The strength of the evidence against the accused

– The accused’s criminal history, if any

– The likelihood of the accused attending court appearances

– The risk to public safety or potential victims if the accused is released

– The potential for the accused to tamper with witnesses or evidence if released

Judges may also consider the accused’s personal circumstances, such as employment, family support, and ties to the community.

4. What are the common types of bail conditions?

If an accused is granted bail, the judge or justice will often impose specific conditions that the accused must follow while they await trial. These conditions may vary based on the circumstances of the case, but some common examples include:

– Residing at a specific address

– Obeying a curfew

– Avoiding contact with alleged victims or witnesses

– Abstaining from drugs, alcohol, or firearms possession

– Reporting regularly to a bail supervisor or police officer

– Remaining within a designated geographic area

It is crucial that the accused understands and complies with their bail conditions, as breaches can result in arrest, revocation of bail, and additional criminal charges.

5. Can bail be denied?

In certain cases, bail can be denied by the presiding judge or justice. The onus is typically on the Crown prosecutor to show why an accused should not be released. Bail is more likely to be denied if:

– The accused is charged with a serious or violent offence

– The accused has a substantial criminal record or history of breaching bail conditions

– There is a significant flight risk or potential for re-offending

If the judge denies bail, the accused will remain in custody until their trial or the resolution of their case.

6. Can a bail decision be appealed?

A bail decision can be appealed by either the accused or the Crown prosecutor. In the case of an accused who has been denied bail, they can seek a bail review in the Superior Court of Justice. The bail review process requires the filing of a Notice of Application for Bail Review, which outlines the grounds for the appeal. The accused should consult with their defence lawyer to determine whether they have a strong case for a bail review.

7. What is a surety and how do they relate to bail?

A surety is a person who agrees to be responsible for the accused if they are released on bail. The surety essentially guarantees that the accused will comply with their bail conditions and attend court as required. The surety may be required to pledge a specific amount of money or property, which could be forfeited if the accused breaches their bail conditions. Typically, a surety must be someone of good character with no criminal record who could effectively supervise and ensure the accused respects the bail conditions.

8. How to prepare for a bail hearing?

Preparing for a successful bail hearing involves close collaboration between the accused and their criminal defence lawyer. Some key steps to adequately prepare for your bail hearing include:

– Collecting relevant documents, such as letters of reference, employment information, and proof of property ownership (if pledging assets as security)

– Identifying prospective sureties and ensuring that they understand their responsibilities

– Reviewing the alleged facts of the case and determining possible defences

– Providing the defence lawyer with any pertinent information regarding your personal circumstances, such as family support, community ties, or medical needs

– Developing a plan to address any concerns the Crown may raise

Securing Your Freedom: Trust the Experts at Calvin Barry Professional Corporation

Navigating the bail hearing process can be challenging, particularly when dealing with the anxiety and uncertainty that often accompany criminal charges. By staying informed and understanding the crucial components of the process, you can proactively work with your criminal defence lawyer to secure your freedom. At Calvin Barry Professional Corporation, our experienced team of professionals is here to provide you with the guidance and support you need throughout your legal journey, including the intricacies of the bail hearing process.

Don’t face the legal system alone. Contact us at Calvin Barry Professional Corporation to schedule a free initial consultation with a knowledgeable criminal defence lawyer. Allow us to put our expertise to work for you, ensuring the best possible outcome for your bail hearing and helping you regain control of your future.

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.

Book a Free Consultation