What happens on my first court date for a criminal offence?

4. Adjourn your matter

The first time you're in court, your case might be to give the Crown more time to prepare your . Sometimes important pieces of disclosure take a while to get.

This also gives you time to decide whether you want to hire a lawyer, or apply for legal assistance from Legal Aid Ontario.

Your next court date

The justice of the peace will confirm the date of your next court appearance . The court may give you a written reminder of the date and time of your next appearance. But you're responsible for writing down your court dates and going to court on those dates.

Before your next court date:

  • Speak with about your charges and whether you're eligible for Legal Aid.
  • If you cannot afford to hire a lawyer, apply for Legal Aid.
  • If you plan to hire a lawyer, start looking for one.

Making decisions

Within 90 days of your first appearance, try to decide if you want to:

  • ,
  • and have a , or
  • start a or other court program if you're eligible.

Once you've got disclosure, you or your lawyer can discuss the case with the Crown, and talk about a reasonable way to resolve your case. 

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