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.


DWI Toronto Defense Lawyer

A charge occurs when a police officer has a reason to believe that a person’s ability to operate a motor vehicle may be impaired by drugs or alcohol-based on physical observations such as slurred speech, diminished motor skills, and poor driving.

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When Experience Matters

Driving While Impaired

Most people do not think of impaired driving as a criminal offence. Most people perceive it as a minor offence. The fact is, impaired driving, driving under the influence, DWI, DUI, drunk driving, and driving while high is classified among the most serious criminal offences despite the high number of cases because they can create huge damage to property and result in the loss of life. Because of this, people arrested for impaired driving are charged under the Criminal Code and are often given harsh penalties.


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Impaired Driving

Common ways a police officer may be able to tell that a driver is impaired are:

With over 30 years of legal experience at Calvin Barry Law, we have not yet come in contact with a case that cannot be defended. If you have specific questions about your impaired driving charge, do not hesitate to give us a call and avail of our obligation-free initial consultation.

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Understanding Your Legal Rights

When Dealing with an Impaired Driving Charge

Being arrested or having a charge of impaired driving does not automatically mean that you are guilty. Note that you do not have to plead guilty to a DWI charge. Pleading guilty when you are not at fault can result in severe and life-long DWI consequences.

When you are charged with a criminal offence, just know that you have the right to defend yourself and:

You Do Not Have to Plead Guilty

You do not have to plead guilty to a DWI charge

Talk to a Lawyer

Talk to a lawyer of your choice

Dismiss Charge

Find ways to have the charge dismissed

Resolve Charge

Seek a way to resolve the charge or plead not guilty to proceed to a trial

Impaired Driving is a Criminal Offence in Toronto

Toronto Impaired Driving/ DUI Penalties

Just a quick look at the above, and it is clear that anyone charged with impaired driving must make it a priority to consult with an experienced impaired driving lawyer as soon as possible, especially if a DWI involves bodily harm. Note that aside from the above, other consequences include negative effects on one’s reputation, ability to travel, gain employment, and more.

A highly skilled Toronto impaired driving lawyer has the knowledge and expertise to navigate the complex and technical aspects of the Criminal Code’s impaired driving laws to create a strong defence tailored to each individual case.  At Calvin Barry Law, our team cares about each case’s outcome because we know how devastating the life-altering consequences of an impaired driving conviction can be. We will do all that we can to ensure that one small mistake will not have a prolonged detrimental effect on your reputation and life.


Impaired Driving Charges

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Impaired Driving Defence

We make use of a variety of defences and tailor them according to what will work best according to the specific details of your impaired driving charge. These defences include:

Challenging the reasons cited by the police officer for obtaining a breath sample

Challenging the technical aspects of the procedure for blood testing or using a breathalyzer

Challenging the subjective judgment of the police officer about what constitutes impairment

Challenging other details that are exclusive to the circumstances of your arrest

Appealing for the exclusion of evidence that the police officer obtained with violation of your Charter protected rights

We strongly encourage consulting with our team at Calvin Barry Law to determine the best defence strategy for your impaired driving charge. Know that it is your legal right to hire an impaired driving lawyer upon arrest or detainment related to impaired driving.

Drinking and driving offences require evidence that someone could not operate a vehicle safely during driving or control a vehicle due to the influence of alcohol or drugs. Although the degree of impairment may be slight, it must still be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Courts look at various details when determining whether a person is guilty of a drinking and driving offence, including balance, comprehension, coordination, fine motor skills, judgment, physical movement, and reaction time. 

It can support an impaired driving charge if someone has difficulty understanding or is uncoordinated. In Canada, any driving behaviour that puts people in danger on the roads due to the impairment of the driver’s ability by drugs, alcohol, or any other substance is considered an impaired driving offence. These offences can result in serious penalties such as hefty fines, jail time, and a criminal record.

Motorized vehicles include:


Consequences for Driving While Impaired

If you are caught driving while under the influence of alcohol, you face serious penalties. This could include hefty fines, jail time, the suspension of your driver’s license, and other punishments.

1st Offence

For someone who commits a first offence, the law requires the minimum punishment to be a 12-month ban on driving and a fine of $1000 plus an additional fee of 30% to be paid to the victim.

2nd Offence

For a second violation, the required least punishment is a 30-day jail sentence and a two-year restriction from driving.

3rd Offence

An individual must serve a minimum of 120 days in prison for repeated violations and cannot drive for three years.

Suppose you are convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol. In that case, you will have a criminal record, your auto insurance premiums will increase considerably, and you will have to abide by the rules set forth by the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) to reinstate your driver’s license.

Being convicted of a drinking and driving offence while causing harm to someone else will have significantly harsher repercussions than a usual DUI charge. The legal penalties are much more severe if a person is hurt or dies due to their actions.

The Next Step

Working with Calvin Barry

DUI offences are serious criminal charges with varying levels of severity. It is important to contact a lawyer specializing in defending DUI cases, as they will be able to advise you on the best course of action and will be well-versed in the various factors that can affect the severity of the charge.

Acting swiftly after an arrest or charge of a DUI is essential to ensure that all possible avenues to build a defence case are explored. Contacting a criminal defence lawyer experienced in DUI cases, like Calvin Barry, is imperative to guarantee that all evidence is collected quickly and that the client’s rights are protected.

Taking prompt action is the key to a successful defence. We review evidence from the scene, witness testimony, and surveillance footage to ensure the client’s rights are respected.

Need help?

10 FAQs about Driving While Impaired

Impaired driving is not just about alcohol—it can also involve drugs or a combination of both. The law considers your physical and mental state while operating a vehicle. If you’ve been accused, it’s crucial to get legal advice as the implications can be complex. Our team can help clarify these complexities and defend your case. Don’t hesitate to reach out for a detailed consultation.

Refusing these tests is a serious decision that comes with its own set of legal challenges. Before you make any decisions that could impact your future, it’s important to understand your rights. Our legal experts can provide you with the necessary information to make an informed choice. Submit your query and let us guide you.

The penalties can vary, but they may include a criminal record, fines, and loss of driving privileges. The repercussions can ripple through your personal and professional life. To minimize these penalties, it’s essential to have a strong defense. Contact us to explore how we can help mitigate the penalties.

A lawyer can scrutinize the evidence, question the procedures followed during your arrest, and work towards a favorable outcome. With our expertise, we can navigate the legal system to your best advantage. Let’s discuss your case in detail.

Immediate action can significantly affect the outcome of your case. Gathering evidence and seeking legal advice early on is crucial. Our team is prepared to act swiftly to defend your rights. Reach out to us immediately for urgent legal support.

An impaired driving charge can lead to a tarnished driving record and skyrocketing insurance premiums. In some cases, insurance coverage may be denied. To prevent these outcomes, you need a legal strategy. We can help, so please get in touch as soon as possible.

You may face an immediate license suspension, and the ability to drive can be crucial for your livelihood. There are potential steps to regain your driving privileges. Discuss your options with us to find out how you can get back on the road legally.

There are numerous defenses, but they depend on the specifics of your arrest. From challenging the testing equipment to procedural errors, each defense requires a nuanced approach. Our experienced lawyers can identify the best defense for your situation.

A conviction can have lasting effects, from employment difficulties to international travel restrictions. It’s important to address these charges with a robust defense to protect your future. We’re here to offer comprehensive legal advice.

The best way to avoid a conviction is with a solid defense strategy. Our legal team has the experience and knowledge to challenge the charges against you. Begin your defense by contacting us for a personalized consultation.


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