1. Understand your case and your rights

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Criminal Law - Going to criminal court
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What is a judicial pre-trial?
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1. Understand your case and your rights

Before you have your judicial pre-trial, think about:

  • 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 arrest

Burden of proof

The Crown must prove every part of the offence you're charged with beyond a reasonable doubt. You don't have to prove you're innocent.

Even if you're guilty of the offence, you have the right to a trial, and the Crown must prove each part of your offence beyond a reasonable doubt.

Your Charter rights

You have rights whenever you're accused in a criminal case. For example, you have the right:

  • to be presumed innocent until you're proven guilty in a fair and public hearing by an impartial court
  • to be given a trial within a reasonable amount of time
  • to be free from unreasonable searches
  • to be tried by a jury if the maximum sentence for your offence is 5 years or more

These rights are protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. If your rights have been breached through your contact with the criminal justice system (including the police and courts), it may impact your case.

It is important to understand your Charter rights. If they have been breached, this might mean:

  • you will have a longer trial
  • you have some power in negotiating a better plea position

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Reviewed: November 20, 2017

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