What Happens After a Person Is Charged by the Police?
Normally, the police will provide an accused with a Promise to Appear (which may have a requirement to attend for fingerprints and a photograph on a specific future date). If an accused fails to attend for his photographs and fingerprints, this will result in a further criminal charge. If a person has already been convicted of a related drinking and driving offence, a Notice of Application for Increased Penalty will be served on the accused.
By serving the Notice of Application for Increased Penalty, the Crown is able to rely on a previous conviction in support of a mandatory minimum jail term and lengthier driving prohibitions.
Michael Kruse is a leading Ontario DUI lawyer with over 29 years of trial experience practicing in the areas of impaired driving and criminal law.
Finally, a 90-day administrative licence suspension, the breath certificate, and a computer printout of the intoxilyzer readings are usually served on the accused at the time he or she is charged.
The above paperwork which is provided to or served upon an accused is only the “tip of the iceberg”. In order to properly process an impaired driving or exceed charge, the police must prepare extensive and detailed paperwork, including criminal information, summary of incident, detailed police and civilian witness statements, detailed police notebooks, a Certificate of Analysis, and an Alcohol Influence Report. Most police forces now also videotape the breath test procedure and the cell and hallway video at the police station. This package of paperwork and videotapes is known as “disclosure“.
Once Kruse Law Firm has been retained, one of our Ontario DUI lawyers will immediately order disclosure from the Crown Attorney and receive the extensive paperwork and documentation, which the police should have filled out in and around the time of the arrest. Most Crown Attorneys offices across Ontario strive to provide the initial disclosure package to defence counsel no later than the date of the accused’s first appearance. There is often missing disclosure in the initial package which defence counsel will have to order from the crown.
In most jurisdictions, there is an initial ‘intake’ or court ‘remand’ process of approximately 3 months. During this 3-month period, there will be a first appearance in front of a Justice of the Peace, in the Ontario Court of Justice. This first appearance will usually be followed by multiple court appearances in front of a Justice of the Peace.
Most jurisdictions, with a few exceptions, will not even require the accused to attend any of the ‘remand’ court appearances if the accused has retained counsel and files what is called a ‘designation’ (basically a form signed by the accused stating he or she has retained a particular lawyer). An Ontario DUI lawyer from our office will attend on your first appearance and file the designation on your behalf and you will not have to experience the stress of attending criminal court until your trial or disposition date.
During the 3-month ‘intake’ or remand period, our firm will review the disclosure, do any necessary legal research, meet with you and your witnesses, provide you with an opinion as to your odds of winning and whether you should proceed to trial or negotiate a resolution, meet with the Crown Attorney to discuss the case in detail and receive their position, attend multiple court appearances to report the progress of the case to a Justice of the Peace and possibly meet with a Judge, with a Crown Attorney present, to discuss your case (this meeting is called a judicial pre-trial).
By the end of the typical 3-month remand period, most jurisdictions (some provide more or less time than 3 months) will require us to set a trial date or a date for guilty plea. Typically, trial dates will be set anywhere from 6-12 months from the first appearance or longer, depending on how busy the jurisdiction is and how much of a trial backlog there is. If you decide to plead guilty and you potentially qualify for the Ministry of Transportation’s Stream A Ignition Interlock Program, you are required to enter the guilty plea no later than 90 days after your arrest in order to qualify for the program. The Ministry of Transportation claims the stream A deadline/limitation period to plead guilty is 90 days. However, in practice, the deadline appears to be 89 days.