2. Think about hiring a lawyer
Question & AnswerWhat is a judicial pre-trial?
You should think about hiring a lawyer if you haven’t already. A lawyer can help you understand your rights and decide whether to set a date.
Lawyers are trained to understand the rules of and criminal procedure. A lawyer will be able to understand:
- the Crown’s case against you, including the strength of the evidence against you
- any defences you may have
- any Charter violations that occurred during the investigation or your
A lawyer will usually ask you to pay money known as a before they start working for you. If you qualify for a Legal Aid certificate, you could hire a lawyer who accepts certificates instead.
If you can’t afford a lawyer, contact Legal Aid Ontario to find out what other services you might be eligible for.
Legal Aid pays lawyers at the courthouse, known as , to give free legal advice to people who can’t afford a lawyer. Duty counsel are not able to represent you at trial, but they can conduct the Crown pre-trial for you and offer you legal advice at the courthouse.
You can hire a paralegal to represent you if you have been charged with a that has a maximum of:
- 6 months in jail,
- a $5,000 fine, or
Unless you’re sure that you want to set a trial date, get your lawyer to review all of your before you make any decisions.
Resolving your case
At the Crown pre-trial, you will discuss ways to resolve your case and whether you can have . These issues can also be discussed at a judicial pre-trial. Even if you weren’t screened for diversion earlier, a lawyer can help convince the Crown you’re eligible. A lawyer can also help negotiate the best position for you.