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.


Refuse to Provide a Sample Lawyer Toronto

If a breathalyzer is requested or an officer asks for a blood sample from a driver suspected of impaired driving, contact a criminal lawyer before saying anything. The consequences can be serious.

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When Experience Matters

Refuse Breath or Blood Sample

If the driver refuses to take the breathalyzer on the roadside or at the police station they can be criminally charged. There is also an option for an officer to demand a blood sample. This may arise when the officer believes the suspect is not capable of providing a sample, perhaps due to injury.  The criminal penalties for refusing a breath or blood sample will be essentially the same as an Impaired Driving or over 80 mg charge. If you are charged, always contact a Criminal Lawyer before making any statements.

Refuse sample

Refusing Breathalyzer Tests

If you’re operating a vehicle and the police have requested a sample of your breath, it is in your best interest to comply because:

Note that  a driver can refuse a breathalyzer test and that nobody can physically force you submit to one. With this said, the police can charge the driver with the “Refusing a Breathalyzer Test” which is a criminal offence. More so, refusing a breathalyzer test and failing a breathalyzer test carry the same penalty.

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How to Fight Charges of Refusing Breathalyzer Test

The police can sometimes make mistakes when demanding a breath sample or administering the breathalyzer test. The defence can use these mistakes to dismiss the charge or reduce the penalties for the accused. 

Remember that facing a criminal charge doesn’t make one guilty of the charge against them.

Certain issues have to be proven before someone can be convicted for impaired driving.

Examples of which are:

Proving that the police have a legal right to make a demand for a breathalyzer test

Proving that the police clearly explained the test to the driver

Proving that the driver completely understood the police

Proving that the accused had a way to seek or contact a lawyer

Checking if the police abused the rights of the accused at any stage of the process

If you have been charged with impaired driving in Canada, note that you have the right to be heard by a judge who will make an impartial decision based on the facts of the case. The judge will determine if the procedure for obtaining a breath sample was correctly done.

This responsibility is not for the police or the crown attorney to fulfill. Only the judge can say when someone is guilty of impaired driving.


Penalty for Refusing a Breathalyzer Test

Failing a Breathalyzer Test

As mentioned earlier, refusing a breathalyzer test carry the same penalty as failing a breathalyzer test. Penalties for refusing a breathalyzer test include:

• Paying a fine between $1,000 and $2,000
• Facing one-year license suspension
• Having to install an ignition interlock device
• Joining a Back on Track Program
• Undergoing mandatory drinking and driving counselling
• Having a criminal record for life

Definition of “Refuse a Breathalyzer Test”

First, the police must have reasonable grounds to believe that the following scenarios happened in the last 3 hours:

• That a person committed an impaired driving offence as defined in section 253 of the Criminal Code
• That the police officer may make a demand that the person should provide breath samples as soon as practicable
• That the breath samples from the person will enable an analysis to determine the driver’s blood-alcohol level as stated by a qualified technician’s opinion

If the person fails or refuses the breathalyzer test without a reasonable excuse considering all of the above under section 254.1 of the Criminal Code of Canada, then the person can face a charge of Refusing a Breathalyzer Test.

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At Calvin Barry, You Will Be Defended

Are you in need of a lawyer or are you seeking legal advice about “Refusing breath or blood sample”  in Canada? Be sure to contact Calvin Barry Law. Our offices are open and ready to serve you. Everything discussed will be held with complete confidence and privacy. Do not hesitate to contact Calvin Barry Law if you’re looking for a Criminal lawyer in Toronto. We will be happy to answer your questions, review the documents related to your charge, inform you of what can be done for your defense, and respond to your other concerns.

Right to refuse

You Have the Right to Refuse a Sample

If a law enforcement officer asks you to provide a breath or blood sample because they believe you are driving. Simultaneously, under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you must talk to a lawyer experienced in criminal defence before making any statement or giving any evidence. Failing to do so could have serious legal repercussions.

But when a police officer requests a breath or blood sample, the driver has the right to refuse. However, this is a serious offence and could lead to a criminal charge. This may be the case if the officer believes the person cannot provide the sample for any reason, including an injury. Refusing the sample is treated the same way as a charge of Impaired Driving or being over the legal limit of alcohol. When faced with criminal charges, it is important to contact an experienced Criminal Lawyer for advice.

Potential Outcomes

If you are behind the wheel, it is wise to cooperate with the police and provide a breath sample when requested. This is best to ensure you are not violating laws and acting responsibly.

Breath tests are a way for police officers to measure the amount of alcohol inside a person’s body.

If the test results suggest that a person has been drinking, they may be charged with a crime.

However, if the breath test was not administered correctly, the person may have grounds for an argument against the results, which could help them avoid a conviction.

Law enforcement officers may sometimes incorrectly ask for a breath sample or administer a breathalyzer test. If this happens, the defence can take advantage of this mistake and either get the charge dismissed or reduce the punishment for the accused.

Remember that just because someone has been charged with a crime does not mean they are automatically guilty of the charge. All Canadians have a right to a fair trial and the assumption of innocence until proven guilty.

For someone to be found guilty of DUI due to drugs or alcohol, the court must be able to prove that the person was indeed impaired while driving.

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If you have been accused of impaired driving in Canada, you have the right to appear before a judge and present your case. The judge will evaluate the evidence and make an impartial decision on whether or not you are guilty. The onus of determining guilt does not fall on the police or the prosecutor—it is solely the judge’s responsibility.

If you are in Canada and need help with a legal issue involving refusing a breath or blood samples, Calvin Barry and his legal team are here for you. Our team of experienced lawyers will provide you with confidential and private advice. If you have any questions, need to review documents related to your charge, or need advice on what to do for your defence, don’t hesitate to contact us. We are happy to respond to any of your concerns.

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10 FAQs about Refuse to Provide a Sample

Refusing to provide a breath or blood sample when requested by law enforcement is a serious offence that carries penalties similar to those for impaired driving. The consequences can include fines, license suspension, and a criminal record. If you’re facing such charges, it’s crucial to get legal advice. Request a free consultation to discuss your case.

While you have the right to refuse a breathalyzer test, doing so is a criminal offence and the penalties are equivalent to those for failing the test. It’s important to understand your rights and the implications of refusal. For expert guidance, fill out our form and we’ll help you navigate your options.

Defending a refusal charge can be complex, but there are strategies, such as challenging the legality of the demand or the conduct of the officer. Each case is unique, so personalized legal advice is key. Contact us for a free case review to explore your defense.

If you’ve been charged, it’s imperative to speak with a lawyer before making any statements that could affect your case. Our experienced DUI lawyers can provide the advice you need. Get in touch with us right away.

Yes, charges can be dropped if there are grounds to challenge the evidence or procedures used by the police. To assess the strength of your case, schedule a free consultation with our legal team.

Even first-time offenders face significant penalties, including fines and driving prohibitions. The specifics of your case will determine the best approach to take. For a detailed assessment, reach out for legal advice.

Yes, if the officer’s demand was not lawful or you were not properly informed of your rights, it may be possible to challenge it. To understand more about this process, contact us for a personalized legal strategy.

You have the right to be informed of the reason for the demand and to consult with a lawyer. It’s crucial to know your rights to ensure they are not violated. For a full explanation of your rights, fill out our form for expert legal advice.

A refusal can lead to a criminal record, which may impact your driving record and insurance rates. To mitigate these effects, seek legal representation immediately.

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.

Our firm provides comprehensive support, from reviewing the details of your charge to representing you in court. We’re committed to defending your rights. Let’s discuss how

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 Brampton, 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.


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