If you have just been charged with a criminal offense in Ontario, it is important that you take the time to understand your legal options before entering a plea in court. The first step is to determine what plea to enter in court is to read and understand your disclosure, a criminal lawyer can provide further guidance at this stage.
Your lawyer will review the disclosure, the document that includes any evidence compiled against you by the Crown, to determine if there are any options for defense. This is an important step that you should not overlook, as a criminal record will follow you for life.
How to know if you should plead guilty?
In conducting a review of the disclosure, your lawyer can identify areas of defense and identify areas in which the Crown attorney may have difficulty amounting evidence against you. Your lawyer may pay particular attention to the synopsis of the disclosure to determine if your are in agreeance with the elements written. This will further help them to determine whether a guilty plea is the right way to proceed.
It is important that you understand the consequences of pleading guilty. Your lawyer can tell you the type of sentence that the Crown is seeking and consequently the sentence and sanction that you are likely to receive if you do plead guilty. A sanction could be a one of or a of combination of a fine, probation or jail time.
The only way to determine the best route for your particular situation is to hire a criminal lawyer to conduct the above due diligence on your behalf.
How entering a plea in court works
At the beginning of a criminal trial you may enter a plea or schedule a new separate date. You must tell the court whether you have decided to plea guilty or not guilty to the criminal offence that you have been charged with. If the plea you enter is not guilty, the Crown attorney is required to prove in court that you are guilty beyond reasonable doubt. If the plea you enter is guilty, you are admitting to the offences charged against you.
Whether you decide to plead guilty or not guilty, protect your interests with the tough legal representation of a Niagara criminal defense lawyer.