Criminal Procedure: First Appearance

What is the first appearance at the Ontario Court of Justice? Basically, you’ve had your fingerprints and photograph taken, you have retained a lawyer and you are to appear in Court.

If you have retained a lawyer, your lawyer will appear in court on your behalf by having you sign a Designation. A designation is a document filed with the Court where you designate your counsel to appear on your behalf, so you don’t have to appear unless it is important or unless your lawyer advises you to.

Usually what happens during the first appearance is that your lawyer will receive the initial Disclosure. The Initial Disclosure could be CDs or paper disclosure or both. For example, if you’ve been charged with impaired driving there will be a couple of CDs: Booking Room video; In Car video; the Breathalyzer Room video; In Cell video and statements such as witness statements, police notes as well as any pictures (such as a car accident).

The usual practice is that the matter would be adjourned for three weeks to a month, we find out if there’s an assigned Crown to the matter and if the disclosure is enough then a Preliminary Hearing takes place with the crown.

Many people that have been charged for the first time, hope that their matter will be resolved in the first appearance. Unfortunately, these matters can take a while, it can be six months to a year or even longer depending if the matter will require a Preliminary Hearing or perhaps a Trial.

It’s very important during this period that you remain patient and that you trust your Council because they are trying to do what’s best for you. At Brace Law we tend to resolve matters as quickly as possible. You should understand that this is a process that requires the Crown to agree to certain terms. It’s very important that you are very open with your counsel of record in that you can provide as much evidence to help build up your character, essentially showing the Crown that you are a good person. One thing that you have to keep in mind is that you are innocent until proven guilty, whether that is by Trial or by a Resolution.

Being charged with a criminal offence is quite serious and can be very stressful. At Brace Law we’re always here if you want to talk and with all our cases, we’ll keep you up-to-date and make sure that you understand the disclosure as well as the evidence that the Crown has against you.

If you or anybody that you know is in trouble, we can help! We Offer Consultations & Meetings By Phone & Virtually. Affordable Fees. For more details, visit our website www.bracelaw.ca, call us at 647-973-2587 or email admin@bracelaw.ca

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