How do I prepare for a guilty plea?

3. Go through the plea inquiry

You must go through the “” before you . The purpose of the plea inquiry is to make sure you understand:

  • what it means to plead guilty
  • your rights if you

You cannot plead guilty if the judge is not satisfied that you have honestly answered the plea inquiry.

What you must do

Your lawyer or may work through the plea inquiry with you in private, or the judge may do it in court. You will be asked whether:

  • anyone has pressured or forced you to plead guilty
  • you agree that you committed the crime you're pleading guilty to
  • you understand that by pleading guilty you're giving up your right to a and to have the Crown prove the charges against you
  • you understand that you may get a criminal record
  • you understand that you will be sentenced
  • you understand that the judge can give you a different than suggested by your lawyer or the Crown

What happens if you don’t

Pleading guilty is a serious decision that can have lifelong consequences. You should not plead guilty unless you can answer the plea inquiry honestly and to the satisfaction of your lawyer or duty counsel.

If your answers show that you don't understand the consequences of pleading guilty, or that someone has pressured you, the court can't accept a from you. Instead, the court must enter a plea of not guilty on your behalf. If this happens, you will have a trial and will only be sentenced if you're found guilty.

What happens if you do

If your guilty plea is accepted, the judge finds you guilty. Your lawyer and the Crown will suggest a sentence. But the judge doesn't have to give you that sentence. The judge decides your sentence based on what they think is appropriate and reasonable. Sentencing may happen right away or at a later date.

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