4. Focus your pre-trial on resolution or trial issues

When you are charged with a criminal , you can either:

  • resolve your case, or
  • and have a .

Resolving your case can mean pleading guilty, or accepting . In both cases, you are deciding not to have a trial.

After your judicial pre-trial, you will eventually have to decide if you want to:

  • plead not guilty and have a trial

Usually, a judicial pre-trial is focused on either , or trial issues.

Resolving Charges

If you want to resolve your charges and not have a trial, at the pre-trial you will try to:

  • negotiate an appropriate , or
  • convince the Crown to offer you diversion.

If you decide to plead guilty, you will appear in plea court to enter your plea and you will receive a sentence.

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

Setting a trial date

You should set a date for trial if:

  • you're not guilty of the offence, or
  • you're not satisfied with the Crown's offer of how to resolve your case.

If you plead not guilty, you will have a trial and will only be sentenced if you are found guilty of the offence. If you plan on setting a trial date, your pre-trial will focus on trial issues such as:

  • who the witnesses will be
  • how long the trial will take
  • whether there are any pre-trial motions
  • whether accommodations, such as an interpreter, need to be made

There may be advantages to having a trial. It's hard to know what might happen on the day of your trial. Sometimes the Crown may not have the documents or witnesses they need to prove their case. If this happens, the Crown may even drop the charges against you or you might be offered a better way of resolving your case.

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