3. Consider whether you might want to plead guilty

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What is a judicial pre-trial?
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3. Consider whether you might want to plead guilty

When you are charged with an offence, you can either:

A lawyer can help you make that decision.

Do not plead guilty to an offence you did not commit.

If you plead guilty, you will receive a sentence.

If you plead not guilty, you will have a trial and will only be sentenced if you are found guilty of the offence. 

Before you decide

Don't plead guilty until you've thought carefully about your options, and the Crown's case against you. Make sure you review all of your disclosure.

Ask a lawyer or duty counsel to help you understand what might happen if you plead guilty.

If you think you might want to plead guilty, talk about an appropriate sentence or other ways, such as diversion, that might resolve your case at your judicial pre-trial. You should bring paperwork to show any activities, counselling, or therapy you have done to address the behaviour that led to your criminal charges.

Pre-trials give you a chance to tell the Crown about yourself. Tell your lawyer or duty counsel if:

  • there were things going on in your life that led to your criminal charges
  • you have done things since you were charged that will help you avoid the behaviour in the future
  • you have done things to repair any harm you caused

The Crown and court will be more likely to give you a better way of resolving the matter if they believe you're doing something to fix your personal issues or repair the harm you caused.

For example, you might think about:

  • going to anger management classes
  • going to substance use and addiction counselling
  • volunteering for community service hours and giving back to the community

Bring proof of any courses, counselling, or community service you have done since you were charged to the judicial pre-trial.

Reviewed: November 20, 2017

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