Our law firm often helps people facing assault charges who want to go to trial and plead not guilty. One of the first things they ask is how long the whole process will take. The timeline below assumes the trial will take place in the Ontario Court of Justice and not the Superior Court of Justice. Let’s break it down.


  • First Court Date: 3 to 6 Weeks

    • After your arrest, your initial court date is typically scheduled within three to six weeks.
  • Remand Process: 2 to 4 Months

    • The case enters the remand process, appearing in front of a Justice of the Peace for about two to four months.
    • During this time, your lawyer gathers evidence, reviews disclosure with you, and negotiates with the Crown.
  • Judicial Pretrial: Up to 5 Months

    • Around five months or less  after your arrest, a judicial pretrial is held. This meeting involves discussions with the Crown and a judge before setting a trial date.
  • Setting a Trial Date: Varies

    • Depending on instructions and court availability, setting a trial date can vary. On average, it might take anywhere from 3 to 6 months after the first court appearance before a trial date is actually set many months down the road.
  • Trial: 6 to 12 Months After Judicial Pretrial

    • Depending on the county and court availability, the trial may occur six, eight, ten, or even twelve months after the judicial pretrial.
  • Overall Timeline: Up to 18 Months

    • Considering all the steps, from arrest to trial completion, the process may take up to 18 months in the Ontario Court of Justice.
  • Typical Duration: 12 to 15 Months

    • More commonly, the process takes around twelve to fifteen months from the arrest date.


While everyone wishes for quicker trials, these timelines reflect the current realities of court proceedings in our province. Understanding these stages can help manage expectations throughout the legal process.

Video Transcription:

Our firm represents a lot of clients who are charged with a simple assault or with a domestic assault and a lot of them want to go to trial they want to plead not guilty and try and win their case and one of the first questions they are going to ask is how long is this whole process going to take and I’d like to answer that with you today.So on your typical assault or domestic assault matter the Crown’s going to elect summarily so what’s going to happen is your first court date’s going to be three to say six weeks after your arrest. The matter is then going to go into the remand process and remand court in front of the Justice of the Peace for say two to three to four months. During that period your lawyer is collecting all the evidence, collecting disclosure, reviewing it with you, negotiating with the Crown and eventually having what is called a judicial pretrial which is a necessary meeting with the Crown and Judge before a trial date is set. So even as far as five months down the road you are in a position to set a trial date. Now you might be able to do that quicker depending on the instructions you give your lawyer but that’s probably the longer period of time.

So now we’re setting a trial date and depending on the county, boy the courts are booked in the province and you are not looking at a court date for months down the road. Depending on the county it could be six, eight, ten, twelve months after the judicial pretrial that you are actually having your trial, your case is going to be completed. You may win your case there or lose your case depending on whether you are found guilty or not but those are the timelines. So when you add that all together boy you’re looking at really up to 18 months. More typically it’s probably going to take in the range of twelve to fifteen months from the date of your arrest before you have your trial. We wish of course your trial was quicker in the province but those are the realities of court timelines in this province.

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