If you have been arrested and released from police custody, after being arrested you will be required to re-attend at court. The prospect of attending court can be frightening, an experienced criminal lawyer can assist you with your court appearances and lessen the stress of the situation.
In cases where an accused is to be held for a Show Cause (Bail) hearing, that will be their first interaction with the court system. Following release from custody, accused persons will be required to attend at court for a “First Appearance”.
At your first appearance you or your lawyer will be required to attend court, at a specific date, time and location which will be listed in your release documents written by the police or the bail court judge. Failure to attend can result in additional charges being laid so it is very important to make sure you are present on time.
Once your matter is called, the Crown will usually “elect” to proceed summarily or by way of indictment, for hybrid offences. The Crown election will have an affect on the manner of the trial being conducted and ultimately affects the types of penalties/sentences that can be laid (summary offences are generally less serious that indictable offences).
A number of formalities are often dealt with at a first appearance, including the language of the proceedings (English or French), whether an interpreter should be requested for subsequent court dates, if you have counsel they can file a designation permitting them to appear at all next scheduled appearances, etc.
Usually an initial disclosure (evidence) package will be available for the defence to pick up at the first appearance. This is required, but there may be additional disclosure available at subsequent court appearances.
If you attend your first court date without a lawyer you will likely be informed of Duty Counsel, who are lawyers in court that can assist you if you are financially eligible. If you are eligible you will also be given information and/or assistance on how to apply for Legal Aid.
Attending court on your own can be a frightening experience and may lead to mistakes inadvertently being made. The best way to protect yourself is to contact a criminal lawyer as soon as possible. Mehdi Au LLP has lawyers on staff who would be happy to assist you. We accept Legal Aid and private retainers.
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