What happens at a provincial offences trial, and how do I prepare?
Question & AnswerWhat happens at a provincial offences trial, and how do I prepare?
If you have requested a trial in Provincial Offences Court, you will receive a Notice of Trial in the mail. This notice tells you the date and time of your trial, the court location, and basic information about what you’ve been charged with.
The purpose of your trial is to determine whether you’re guilty or not guilty of the provincial offence you have been charged with. To prepare for your trial you should:
- understand the law that applies to your case
- ask for disclosure, which is the evidence the prosecutor has about your case
- make notes and gather evidence
- arrange witnesses if necessary
- think about your trial strategy, prepare questions, and write a closing statement
There is a government guide that can help you prepare for your trial.
You may also want to visit the court before your court date to watch what happens. You will see where everyone sits, what they do, and how the court works.
You can represent yourself at trial or you get legal help from a lawyer or paralegal. The more serious the offence, the more important it is for you to get legal help.
If you choose to have someone represent you in court, you must tell the court in writing to mail any communications to your legal representative instead of you.
If you speak French, you’re entitled to a bilingual proceeding. To do this, you can file this form with the court, write to the court, or ask the court in person. You should not wait until the day of your trial to do this.
If you don’t speak English or French, it’s very important to ask for an interpreter. The court office provides free interpreter services for court hearings. Call the court before your trial and ask to speak to the Translation Coordinator or someone in the office. They will work with you to make sure a translator is available.
Contact the court office if you need information about a courthouse’s accessibility features, or if you or one of your witnesses needs accessible court services.