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.

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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.


DUI Defence Lawyer Sudbury

A DUI is an abbreviation for the term Driving Under the Influence. DUI occurs when your Blood Alcohol Level is over the legal limit or you are deemed as an Impaired Driver.

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DUI Defence

A DUI is an abbreviation for the term Driving Under the Influence. DUI occurs when your Blood Alcohol Level is over the legal limit or you are deemed as an Impaired Driver.

A DUI is a criminal offence that can haunt you for the rest of your life if not dealt with appropriately. This Criminal charge can range from alcohol to drug use of all sorts. Never plead guilty to a DUI charge without consulting a Criminal Lawyer first.

Driving Under the Influence

There are Three Common DUI Charges in Sudbury:

Calvin Barry offers free DUI consultations at the click of a button; even if you’re not sure if your case will qualify for Calvin’s services, be sure to call. Calvin and his team will have a free screening with you regarding your case.

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DUI Charges Can Affect You for Life

Drinking and driving or DUI charges in Sudbury are Criminal Code offences that come with mandatory sentences even for individuals with no Highway Traffic Act record or Criminal record.

1st Offence

$1,000 fine
Enrollment in alcohol education course
One-year suspension of driver’s licence
One-year enrollment in the ignition interlock program after the reinstatement of the licence

2nd Offence

Fine at the judge’s discretion
30 days of jail time
Three-year enrollment in the ignition interlock program after the reinstatement of the licence

3rd Offence

Fine at the judge’s discretion
120 days of jail time
Lifetime enrolment in the ignition interlock program after the reinstatement of the licence if it was ever reinstated

We recommend consulting with us at Calvin Barry Law to determine the best steps for your defence. Know that you are entitled to legal consultation upon detention or arrest and it is best to consult with an impaired driving lawyer before further actions from law enforcement. We aim to defend your case to get the lowest possible penalty if the dismissal of charges is not viable.


DUI Charges

Care & Control

This is a charge of impaired driving to someone who is not actually driving the motor vehicle. This is charged to someone who had care and control of the vehicle while impaired, with the police officer having reason to believe that the person has the same control while actually operating the motor vehicle.

Impaired Driving

This charge is made without a blood alcohol test reading or a breathalyzer test when the police officer believes and can prove that the person driving the vehicle cannot do so safely due to impairment by drugs or alcohol. An officer can lay this charge if the driver, exhibits erratic driving, unsteady gait, lack of motor coordination, and slurred speech. Note that in this charge, the prosecutor and the charging officer have to prove that the driver’s ability to operate a vehicle is impaired due to drug use or alcohol ingestion.

Over 80 mg

This charge is made when the driver has a BAC (blood alcohol content) level of more than 80 milligrams of alcohol for every 100 millilitres of blood via an approved screening device such as a breathalyzer. The officer must have probable and reasonable grounds that the person’s ability to operate a motor vehicle is impaired by drugs or alcohol before submitting a person for a BAC screening.

Refuse Breath or Blood Sample

This charge is made when a person suspected of impaired driving refuses to provide a blood sample or a breath sample to a police officer. This charge also applies when the sample provided is deemed insufficient for the investigation.

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DUI Defence

At Calvin Barry Law, we strive to fight for you to get the best outcome in your case, whether it be a reduced penalty or the dismissal of charges. We customize our legal strategies best to suit your circumstances concerning your impaired driving charge. Our team of experienced lawyers will strive to create a defence tailored to your specific case so you can get the best possible result. These 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.

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DUI Lawyer FAQs - Sudbury

Absolutely. The consequences of a DUI conviction can be severe and long-lasting, affecting not just your driving privileges but also your criminal record, employment opportunities, and insurance rates. By fighting a DUI charge, you may be able to reduce the charges, lessen the penalties, or even have the case dismissed entirely. Each case is unique, and a successful defense depends on the specifics of your situation. To understand the potential benefits of fighting your DUI charge, contact us for a personalized assessment.

Winning a DUI case involves a strategic defense tailored to the specific details of your arrest. This could include challenging the accuracy of the breathalyzer test, the legality of the traffic stop, or the conduct of the arresting officers. An experienced DUI lawyer can identify any procedural errors or violations of your rights that could lead to a successful defense. To explore strategies for your case, fill out our form to get started on your defense.

The best-case scenario would be a complete dismissal of the charges, meaning you would face no penalties or criminal record. Other positive outcomes could include reduced charges or a plea bargain that minimizes the impact on your life. The best outcome depends on the evidence against you and the defense strategy employed. To aim for the best possible outcome, seek expert legal advice as early as possible.

Pleading guilty to a DUIshould never be done without first consulting with a lawyer. There may be aspects of your case that could significantly affect the outcome and pleading guilty forfeits the opportunity to challenge the charges. It’s important to fully understand the consequences and explore all your options. For an informed decision, reach out for legal counsel.

The cost of a DUI lawyer in Ontario can vary widely based on the complexity of the case, the experience of the lawyer, and the length of the legal process. Some lawyers charge flat fees, while others charge by the hour. It’s important to weigh the cost against the potential savings in fines, increased insurance rates, and other long-term costs of a DUI conviction. For a quote and to understand the value a lawyer can provide in your case, please fill out our form for a consultation.

For more detailed information and a personalized approach to your situation, please visit GetDefended.ca’s DUI Defence page and consider reaching out for a confidential consultation.

Sections 320.11 to 320.4 of the Canadian Criminal Code cover the impaired driving laws in Sudbury. Charges for DUI vary based on the circumstances leading to the arrest. The charges include:

  • Care and Control
  • Driving Under the Influence
  • Failure to Provide a Breath Sample
  • Impaired Driving
  • Over 80 Mgs BAC Reading

The prosecutor’s strategies for establishing guilt for the above charges vary, but the penalties for a guilty finding are the same.

A person is arrested for DUI in Sudbury after the police officer has established reasonable suspicion that the person may be impaired while driving based on observations and roadside testing. The person will be brought to the police station for further testing and evaluation. Note that refusing to provide fluid samples or perform a test carries the same penalties as a DUI conviction.

The minimum penalties for those convicted of a DUI charge in Sudbury or anywhere in Canada are as follows:

First Offence

  • $1,000 fine for a BAC of 80 to 119, $1,500 fine for a BAC of 120-159, and $2,000 fine for a BAC of 160 or more
  • 12-month driving prohibition
  • $2,000 mandatory fine for anyone with first refusal to provide a breath sample

Second offence

  • 24-month driving prohibition
  • 30 days of jail time

Third and Subsequent Offences

  • 36-month driving prohibition
  • 120 days of jail time

All transportation offences carry a maximum penalty of 10 years on indictment and 24 months less a day on summary conviction.

A drinking and driving charge is treated as a serious criminal offence in the Canadian Criminal Code and is met with the following consequences:

  • Criminal record
  • Expensive administrative fees
  • Impounding of vehicle
  • Increased insurance premiums
  • Mandatory attendance in education and/or treatment program
  • Possible ignition interlock requirements if and when driving privileges are restored

A DUI charge of Over 80 means that the accused registered a blood alcohol concentration of more than 80 milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood as measured by a screening device. The Criminal Code of Canada lays down specific requirements for the collection of blood and breath screening samples under Section 320.14(1).

 According to the Canadian Criminal Code, qualified technicians must handle screening devices for the reading to be admissible in court as evidence. The testing must be completed within a window of 2 hours starting from when the accused was initially detained by the arresting officer. 

Individual samples should only be taken at intervals of 15 minutes. Because of the technical aspects and strict legal requirements of testing an accused’s BAC, an accused will need a highly skilled DUI lawyer’s services to challenge the results and identify possible errors.

A criminal defence lawyer with expertise in defending DUI charges is the first step in effectively beating a DUI charge. Each DUI charge that goes to trial carries key differences that require a skilled DUI lawyer to defend effectively. An experienced DUI lawyer has a repertoire of defences to form the best strategy to defend a DUI charge based on specific circumstances and charges. An Over 80 charge will not have the same defence as a Care and Control charge and will require a different strategy.

The defence strategies that are most often used for a DUI charge are the following:

  • Challenging if the accused’s Charter-protected rights were respected
  • Challenging the arresting officer’s interpretation of care and control
  • Challenging the validity of the drug screening or the validity of the BAC screening device
  • Raising legal reasons if the accused failed to provide a sample, refused a roadside screening, or rejected a breathalyzer test
  • Questioning the lawfulness of the police procedure and the original police detainment

The professional and legal fees charged by a DUI lawyer vary based on the amount of time spent defending the accused and the case’s complexity. Although the court time spent for hearings of DUI charges is usually short, the DUI lawyer will spend a lot of time sorting through details to create an effective defence strategy. Defending some cases can take a lot of time due to assorted motions which will require additional time for case preparation, research, interviewing witnesses, and more.

A skilled DUI lawyer may be able to resolve the charges in favour of the accused by negotiating a settlement with the prosecution and/or without having to go through a trial. If the DUI lawyer can recognize a significant flaw in the Crown’s case before the trial, that information can be used by the DUI lawyer to convince the Crown to drop charges.

Generally speaking, the Crown prosecutor will reject dismissals except when the recognized flaw is obvious and cannot be ignored. An experienced DUI lawyer will know how to work with the case details to achieve the most favourable outcome for the accused while making the other party think they are not at a disadvantage. In most cases, the Crown will opt to drop the DUI charges for the acceptance of a guilty plea for a lesser offence such as careless driving.

As mentioned in response to other DUI FAQs, Crown prosecutors will usually not dismiss charges unless with a compelling reason to do so. The possible reasons for a DUI charge to be dismissed with the help of a DUI lawyer are if the accused’s charter rights were not protected, the screening methods used were impaired, the arrest was questionable, there were mistakes during the stop and detention, and other similar circumstances wherein the right processes were not followed.

A DUI conviction means having to pay higher auto insurance in most cases. Insurance companies may choose not to renew insurance or reject an insurance application for someone guilty of a DUI. If you can find an insurance firm willing to take you as a client, be prepared to be charged a minimum of twice the standard rate.

Since impaired driving offences are classified under serious criminality in Sudbury, Canadian immigration law Bill C-46, Part 1 says that it is grounds for revocation of permanent resident status and could lead to deportation.

Canadian law does allow for the expungement or suspension of a DUI criminal record. This action seals the record from public view while law enforcement can still access the data. Application for a record suspension is possible five years after a guilty plea or a conviction and may need the services of a DUI lawyer.

In Sudbury, you can face serious charges under the Canadian Criminal Code if caught driving while intoxicated. This can include refusing a breathalyzer test, impaired driving, or having a breath sample with more than 80 mg of alcohol. The consequences of driving under the influence (DUI) conviction are severe, with increased insurance premiums and the potential loss of your driver’s license. There may also be other long-term repercussions, such as difficulties in finding employment, travelling, or maintaining your current job.

Driving when influenced by alcohol or drugs in Sudbury is a criminal offence punishable by law. Even if the accused has a clean record of violating the Highway Traffic Act or is new to a criminal record, the cost of a first DUI conviction could result in a 12-month driving ban and a fine of up to $1000.

Subsequent convictions may include jail time for a minimum of 30 days for a second offence and 120 days for a third offence. If aggravating circumstances such as reckless driving, an accident, or a high blood alcohol concentration (BAC) following a breath test is present, the punishment may be more severe.


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