A criminal case in Canada can involve several phases. If you have been charged with an offence and have entered a not guilty plea, your case will proceed to trial. A trial can take several months or even years. Having high quality representation from a criminal defence lawyer throughout the process can ensure that your rights are protected at every stage.
Because of the length trials can take, they are often highly stressful. Many people worry about what is going to happen at each stage of their trial. Having a skilled and experienced lawyer with a track record of successful defence of cases like yours can give you peace of mind.
What happens at trial?
The course of your trial will depend on whether you've been charged with a summary conviction or an indictable offence. A summary conviction offence will involve appearing before a Provincial Court judge for your trial. The maximum penalty for a summary conviction offence is typically six months in jail, a $5,000 fine, or both.
Someone who is charged with an indictable offence will be able to choose between trial by either a Provincial Court or a Supreme Court judge, either with or without a jury. We counsel all clients on the best option for their specific case.
During your trial, the Crown Prosecutor will present their case first. This will usually involve presenting evidence and calling witnesses. They will attempt to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty of the offence you have been charged with. Your defence lawyer will have an opportunity to cross examine witnesses to see if there are flaws with their testimony.
Criminal defence lawyers will state the defendant's case after the prosecution has stated theirs. At this time, the Crown prosecutor will have the opportunity to cross examine witnesses for the defence.
After each side has presented their case, they will sum up their arguments. Then, the judge or jury will consider the evidence and make their decision.
If, at trial, you are found not guilty, your interaction with the criminal justice system is over and you are free to go. If you are convicted, the next stage will involve sentencing. We will work with you to ensure that any sentence is fair and that your rights are preserved at every stage.
One of the most important things to remember is that, under the Canadian justice system, you are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. We zealously defend our clients to ensure that we get you the best possible outcome in every stage of your case.
If you are going to trial for a criminal offence, you need the help of experienced and skilled criminal lawyers. Get in touch today to discuss your case and your best options at every stage.