1. It begins with a complaint being made to the police that a crime has been committed, or that a crime has been observed by the police such as a driving offence. The police will interview witnesses and begin an investigation which may involve DNA analysis, or other types of scientific analysis.
2. When the investigation is complete, they will lay a charge, or refer a case to the Crown Attorney’s office for them to decide if there is sufficient evidence to proceed.
3. Sometimes the Accused is released on an Appearance Notice and sometimes detained to appear in court for bail to be requested.
4. Upon arrest, the police must inform you of your right to call a lawyer. YOU SHOULD ALWAYS CALL A LAWYER. If you don’t know one, they will refer you to Legal Aid Counsel in the meantime. FOLLOW THEIR ADVICE.
5. Once the Crown Attorney receives the file, they may change the charges, add to the charges, or even decide not to proceed. In some cases, depending on the charges, they have to decide whether to proceed by summary proceedings or indictable proceedings, Summary proceedings have lesser maximum penalties and are better for the accused in several other ways as well.
6. If you are not released by the police, you will appear in bail court within 24 hours but your lawyer will try and get you out sooner. In bail court you absolutely are better off to have a lawyer appear for you and argue for your release.
7. Cases then get adjourned often until your counsel is able to get complete disclosure of the entire Crown’s case against you. This is required for a fair trial and is guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights.
8. Your lawyer decides, with your assistance, whether you should be fighting the case at a trial, what type of trial you should have, or whether you should consider a plea bargain, which may be in your best interests.
9. You will need an experienced trial lawyer to protect your rights and argue on your behalf. If you are found not guilty, it’s over. If you are found guilty, there will be a sentencing hearing which usually takes place several months later. Your lawyer will prepare you for your sentencing hearing by gathering together letters and precedents that will assist you.
10. You need an experienced lawyer to handle your sentencing hearing to assure you the most lenient sentence possible in the circumstances of your case.
To ensure you receive the best possible outcome, it is in your best interest to obtain legal representation from a criminal defence lawyer in Winnipeg, like Jeffrey J. Gindin, Q.C. Call (204) 294-9317 now to request a consultation!
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