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.


Vehicle Offence Lawyer in Toronto

We will defend you against any criminal charges arising from a motor vehicle accident or violation of the Criminal Code. I will make sure you understand what is happening in court so that you don’t feel overwhelmed or left out of decisions. If a criminal charge arises out of a motor vehicle accident or violation of the Criminal Code we will provide all necessary legal advice to successfully defend your case at trial or on appeal.

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When Experience Matters

Vehicle and Traffic Offences

If convicted, these charges can drastically affect one’s life and career. These charges are recorded on a driving record that potential employers and insurance agencies can assess.  A simple traffic offence can have lifetime consequences – get the representation that cares.

Moreover, charges can lead to demerit points that can have your license revoked.


Traffic offences

The Most Common Offences Under the HTA

Vehicle offences are usually charges given by police officers for violating the Highway Traffic Act (HTA) or the Criminal Code of Canada.

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When convicted of driving above 15 km per hour in Canada, points will automatically be added to your driving record. These will remain on your record for two years, and your license may be taken away if you accumulate too many points. It is important to remember that your record will always start with zero points, so any points gained will be due to breaking specific traffic laws.

The repercussions can be long-lasting and far-reaching if found guilty of a traffic violation. The conviction will be noted on your driving record, which potential employers or insurance providers could access. A single offence could have a lifetime of consequences, so ensure you get the legal help you need. Furthermore, certain violations can result in the accrual of demerit points, which can lead to the suspension or cancellation of your driver’s license.


Common Offences

Vehicle offences are legal charges for breaking the law while driving on public roads. This includes actions such as


Not obeying traffic signals

Not having valid insurance

Driving while impaired

In some cases, these charges can also include more serious offences such as dangerous driving and street racing.

Breaking the Highway Traffic Act can lead to serious repercussions. If an individual is found guilty, they could face jail time, hefty fines, and even restrictions on their driver’s licence. This can be particularly problematic for those who rely on driving for their job, as their premiums may skyrocket, and they could lose their ability to work.

Each penalty varies on the number of convictions and type of charge.

For instance, the driver is subject to a fine from $490 to $1000 and three demerit points for distracted driving.  For careless driving, a driver may receive six demerit points, fine of up to $2000, six months imprisonment, or two years of license suspension.

Regardless of the penalty, having charges like the ones above can negatively impact your life.



Charges laid under the criminal code for dangerous driving can lead to imprisonment for up to 10 to 14 years maximum if the dangerous driving causing bodily harm or death.

The criminal law can punish dangerous driving that results in bodily harm or death with a possible jail sentence of up to 10 to 14 years.

A fine amounting between $400 and $2000.

Incarceration for up to 6 months if they commit a crime.

Demerit points, which, when accumulated, can result in penalties such as fines, license suspensions, or other consequences.

License suspension can occur for various reasons, including failing to pay fines or traffic tickets or due to a medical condition affecting your ability to drive safely.

Contact us

Call on Calvin Barry Immediately

If you’ve been charged with violating the Highway Traffic Act, it’s wise to consult with a criminal defence lawyer. At Calvin Barry’s office, we are dedicated to helping you fight for the best possible outcome for your case. Our team has an outstanding record of successfully defending clients charged with Highway Traffic Act offences. 

I will provide legal assistance if you are charged with a crime related to a motor vehicle accident or criminal charge. I will ensure you understand the legal process to feel safe and clear. I will provide all necessary advice and support to help you defend your case in court or on appeal.

Please call me at 416-924-5969 to schedule a consultation.


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10 FAQs about Vehicle Offence

In Canada, you can be charged with various vehicle offences, including distracted driving, careless driving, failure to signal, hit and run, and driving without a license or insurance. If you’re facing any of these charges, it’s important to get legal advice tailored to your situation. Request a free consultation to discuss your case.

Convictions for vehicle offences can lead to demerit points, fines, and even license suspension. These can have a significant impact on your driving privileges and insurance rates. To understand the potential consequences and explore your legal options, fill out our form for a case review.

A lawyer can help you understand the charges against you, represent you in court, and work to minimize the impact on your life. If you’ve been charged, contact us to learn how we can support your case and fight for the best possible outcome.

Yes, it’s possible to contest a traffic ticket and win. The success of your case will depend on the circumstances and evidence. For a thorough evaluation and to increase your chances of a favorable outcome, reach out for legal advice.

If you’re accused of a hit and run, it’s critical to seek legal representation immediately. Our experienced lawyers can guide you through the process and defend your rights. Get in touch with us right away.

Driving without insurance is a serious offence that can result in hefty fines and impoundment of your vehicle. To avoid these severe penalties, schedule a free consultation with our legal team.

Defences for careless driving may include proving that your driving was not careless or that there was a justifiable reason for your actions. Each case is unique, so personalized legal advice is essential. Contact us for a free case review to explore your defence options.

License suspension is not automatic but can be a consequence of certain vehicle offences, especially if demerit points are involved. To protect your driving privileges, seek legal representation immediately.

Vehicle offences can significantly increase your insurance premiums. To mitigate these effects, it’s important to have a strong legal defence. Let’s discuss how we can support you.

Our firm has a proven track record of successfully defending clients against vehicle offences. We’re dedicated to providing personalized legal strategies to achieve the best possible results. Contact us today to see how we can help you.


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