Ontario Criminal and DUI Lawyers
Toll-Free: 1‑800‑699‑0806

  
Ontario Criminal and DUI Lawyers
Toll-Free: 1‑800‑699‑0806

  
Free Consultation
Don’t take chances, fill out the form below to describe your criminal or impaired driving offence and one of our experts will review your case. We reply to all inquiries within one business day. You can also call us toll-free at 1‑800‑699‑0806 or e-mail us at .

Trials

  1.   How does the trial schedule work?
  2.   What takes place in the Initial Court Appearance?
  3.   What is a Disclosure?
  4.   What if I fail to appear in court during the scheduled time?
  5.   What is an arraignment hearing?
  6.   What happens during a Crown Resolution Meeting?
  7.   What is a Pre-Trial Conference?
  8.   How long does a trial need to be scheduled?
  9.   What does the accused person do at the actual trial?
  10.   Is there a dress code when going to court?
  11.   Will an accused person have to testify in his own trial?

Answers

  1.   How does the trial schedule work?
  A.   A person is either arrested or served a document ordering his appearance in court. If he is served the document, it must delineate the alleged charge, as well as the date, time and location of the Initial Court Appearance. Sometimes you will be required to be photographed and have fingerprints taken before the first appearance.
     After the first appearance, the next court appearance is scheduled. This is called the Arraignment Hearing, when the accused person pleads guilty or not guilty. If he pleads not guilty, then the actual Trial is finally scheduled. This is usually many months after.
     A month before the trial, a pre-trial conference is scheduled to make sure that the trial is going to proceed as initially planned.
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  2.   What takes place in the Initial Court Appearance?
  A.   Contrary to what many people may think, the first appearance is not the actual trial. Rather, it is just a presentation of disclosures pertaining to an accused person's criminal offense, such as police reports. An accused person is required to make their initial court appearance. It is usually held inside a small court room and before a justice of peace.
     There could be many more court appearances before a trial can be scheduled in order for you to get the appropriate legal counsel relevant to the disclosure as well as for the Crown to obtain enough evidence for the case.
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  3.   What is a Disclosure?
  A.   The disclosure is a packet of documents that contains things and documents pertinent to an accused person's case. It may contain the following things:
    
  1. Police notes
  2. Statements from witnesses
  3. Video statements given by the accused person or the witnesses while inside the police station
  4. Transcripts or summaries of calls made to 911
Usually a copy of these documents is given to the accused person's lawyer for review of the case in order to determine the strengths of the accused person's case.
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  4.   What if I fail to appear in court during the scheduled time?
  A.   It is important that you appear on court when there is a scheduled appearance, as required by the document given to you at the very beginning. Failure to cooperate and appear in court will result in a warrant for your arrest for failure to comply.
     Don't make this mistake. Write down in your planner when your scheduled court appearance is and always make sure to never be late, because failure to be present during the whole proceeding may also be grounds for your arrest.
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  5.   What is an arraignment hearing?
  A.   After the initial court appearances, the next meeting will be an arraignment meeting. During the arraignment meeting, the accused person states his intent to plead guilty or not guilty. This is crucial in determining whether or not there will be a trial. If the accused pleads guilty, then there won't have to be a trial. However, if he pleads not guilty, he will need to defend himself in a trial at a later date that will be arranged towards the end of the arraignment hearing.
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  6.   What happens during a Crown Resolution Meeting?
  A.   Both parties must have copies of the disclosure and all other materials pertaining to the case. For example, if the Crown has a document that can help the accused person's defense, it is obliged by law to hand it over to the defense counsel. If all materials for the case are sufficient, a Crown meeting is held wherein the counsels for both parties discuss each other's strengths and weaknesses in their arguments, as well as the pertinent details of the trail, such as its possible length, its schedule and the pre-trial meeting.
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  7.   What is a Pre-Trial Conference?
  A.   Usually, a month before the actual trial, the accused person's counsel, as well as the Crown counsel will meet together to discuss the case. Sometimes, depending on the gravity of the case, the judge will also attend the pre-trial conference. This is also the time when plea bargains are made between the parties.
     This is the time to discuss how each side is doing and what the ground rules for the trial will be, such as the duration of the trial and the number of witnesses to be presented.
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  8.   How long does a trial need to be scheduled?
  A.   A trial schedule may take a couple of months or sometimes even a few years after an arraignment meeting. This is because of a lot of factors. There may be a delay in getting evidence from the police or there may be conflicts in schedules between the officers and different court commitments. Lastly, courts are always busy and there may be no judges available. For cases that are less serious, for example, the schedule of a trial may not be available for 12 months.
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  9.   What does the accused person do at the actual trial?
  A.   The trial is the last step of the judicial process and will determine the guilt or innocence of the accused. That is why a lot of preparations are made in order to prepare for the trial, including preliminary inquiries that the defense counsel can do, by asking questions to the witnesses who will be appearing on the trial date itself.
     For more serious criminal offences, a trial by jury is selected.
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  10.   Is there a dress code when going to court?
  A.   Clean and neat attire that does not bring attention to itself is all you will need to wear when going to court. Hats are not allowed in the courtroom, except for religious headdress. It is not advisable to wear clothes that may offend people, especially the Justice of Peace. Usually, a suit will do. Denim is not advisable.
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  11.   Will an accused person have to testify in his own trial?
  A.   It is not required for the person who is accused of the crime to personally testify for himself and no one has the right to force that accused person to testify. However, there may be some circumstances when the best chance of the case's success may be for the accused to actually testify. It is best to discuss these matters with a criminal lawyer.
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