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.


Criminal Defence

Choose an experienced criminal defence lawyer. A criminal defence lawyer who helps clients avoid jail time. We represent people facing criminal charges from drug offences to major fraud charges. We work closely with each client – finding out what is important to them and devising a personal plan to represent them effectively. We are committed to seeking justice for every client – no matter what their charge is!

Get your free consultation today - we're here to help.


Schedule a free criminal cefence case review

When Experience Matters

Criminal Defence

Calvin Barry is a Criminal Defence Lawyer based out of downtown Toronto and serving across Ontario. Calvin has become one of the most sought-after and recognized Criminal Defence Lawyers in the Greater Toronto Area, handling and winning high-profile DUI cases.

Calvin Barry

Your Toronto Criminal Defence Lawyer

Calvin is a well-known criminal defence lawyer in Toronto for a reason. He knows all of the possible defences you can use in your particular case and will likely be successful in winning your impaired driving, domestic assault case and more. From your initial free meeting, Calvin will look at your case, review what happened on the day you were charged and explain all possible defences that may be used to win your case.

Calvin Barry DUI Lawyer

Criminal Law Practice Areas

Being accused of a crime is a frightening and overwhelming experience. Depending on the severity, the consequences of a criminal charge can have a huge impact on your life, both personally and professionally. It is important to thoroughly understand the legal process and the possible outcomes of the situation to make the right decisions for your future.

contact us

Get Defended by Calvin Barry

Our clients come from different jobs and social backgrounds, but most are educated people facing legal issues they need to learn how to handle.

Calvin Barry is a lawyer who specializes in criminal defence and is located in Toronto, Ontario. He has gained notoriety in the Greater Toronto Area for taking on and winning difficult DUI cases by looking at your specific case, reviewing the details of the incident, and explaining the possible defences that may be used to get a favourable outcome. He will also provide information on what to expect during the legal process.

Our team is committed to providing clients with the highest quality legal services and doing everything in our power to ensure their rights are respected and their interests are protected. We work hard to ensure that our clients get the best possible outcome as quickly as possible.

Need help?

10 FAQs about Criminal Defence

Being charged can be daunting, but acting swiftly is key. Your first move should be to consult with a criminal defense lawyer who can protect your rights and start crafting a defense strategy tailored to your case.

A defense lawyer brings expertise in the law and court procedures, providing representation, negotiating plea deals, and potentially getting charges dropped or reduced. To understand the full scope of defense services, explore how we can assist you.

You have the right to know the reason for your arrest, the right to remain silent, and the right to an attorney. These rights are your shield; use them wisely. For a detailed explanation, get in touch with our legal team.

Every case has unique factors that can lead to charges being reduced or dismissed. Your defense strategy is crucial here. Discuss your specific circumstances with us to see what can be done.

Summary convictions usually involve less serious offenses with quicker legal processes and lighter penalties, while indictable offenses are more severe with longer trials and harsher outcomes. For a more in-depth understanding, review the legal distinctions here.

Consider their experience, client testimonials, and your comfort level with them. A good defense lawyer should be someone you trust to navigate your case’s complexities. Evaluate our credentials and approach to see if we’re the right fit for you.

The criminal court process can be intricate, with multiple hearings and potential for trial. Knowing what to expect can alleviate some stress. Learn about each stage and how we can support you through the journey.

Preparation involves understanding the charges, gathering evidence, and formulating a defense. It’s a process best navigated with professional help. Start preparing for your court appearances with our guidance.

The impact of a conviction can be significant, affecting not just your freedom but also future employment and personal relationships. Knowing the stakes, find out how to defend against these potential outcomes.

A free consultation is your opportunity to ask questions and receive initial legal advice without commitment. It’s a valuable step towards understanding your legal position. Book your free consultation with us today.


Client Reviews

Our clients praise us for our outstanding results, personable service and expert knowledge. Here are a couple of things some of them had to say:


Read Our News & Blog Content

Latest News – Toronto’s source for criminal law updates, alerts, news and analysis from leading lawyers in the field.

bail hearing
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

Read More »
Get In Touch

Contact Calvin Barry Today.

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

Book a Free Consultation