I Have Been Released, Now What?
Designation of Counsel
Now that you have been released, you will attend court for your first appearance. It is advisable that you attend with a lawyer. In Toronto, once you attend court with your criminal defence lawyer, you may sign a document which then permits your lawyer to continue to attend court for you without you having to be there. Speak to your criminal lawyer about doing this so that you don’t have to continue to miss work or school. This document is called a Designation of Counsel.
You and/or your criminal defence lawyer will continue to go to court until you receive your paperwork “disclosure”. In Toronto, once you receive the disclosure, your lawyer will schedule a crown pre-trial. A pre-trial is a meeting with the crown attorney to discuss your case to see how long your matter will likely take in court, how many witnesses may be called for the crown or the defence, whether expert evidence will be called, and what sentence the crown may be seeking should you be found guilty. At this stage, the crown will likely tell the lawyer what he/she will be seeking should the accused wish to plead guilty.
The next step may be a meeting with a judge and a crown attorney. This is called a ‘judicial pre-trial’. It is a more formal meeting than the crown pre-trial because a judge is now involved. The judge will encourage both the criminal lawyer and the crown attorney to come to an agreement on certain issues so that the length of trial can be limited or the number of witnesses shortened.
In Toronto, the judge may also advise the lawyers what he/she thinks is an appropriate sentence for the accused if he/she would to plead guilty and/or, if the accused was found guilty. A judicial pre-trial is a helpful step in the proceeding because a judge has now taken a brief look at your case.
The lawyer you choose should be consulting with you on every step of the proceedings, and you should receive written or verbal communication detailing what has occurred at each of these stages.
Call a seasoned criminal defence lawyer in Toronto at (416) 944-8111.