How do I prepare for a guilty plea?

4. Tell the court you plead guilty

When it's time for you to say how you want to plead, the court clerk will stand and ask you to answer the criminal charges against you. This is called being arraigned. The court clerk will read the charges from the information that is before the court. They will ask how you wish to plead: guilty or not guilty.

If you're admitting your guilt, you must say “guilty” loud enough for the judge to hear you.

After you , the Crown will read out loud the synopsis. This is a summary of the facts they're relying on to prove you're guilty. The judge will ask if you agree with these facts. You can answer, “They are substantially correct.” This means you admit the facts that show you're guilty, even though you may not agree with every detail.

If you don't agree with these facts, you can't plead guilty. You will have to set a date.


If your is accepted, the judge finds you guilty. At your sentencing , your lawyer and the Crown will suggest a sentence. But the judge doesn't have to give you that . The judge decides your sentence based on what they think is appropriate and reasonable.

Sentencing may happen right away or at a later date. You or the Crown may ask for sentencing to be . The judge decides if an will be granted.

You may want to ask for a later date if you need time to prepare your statement, get letters of support from community members, or complete counselling or community service. The Crown may want a later date to give them time to ask for input from the victims of the crime.

The Crown, your lawyer, or judge can ask for a . This report gives the judge more information about you. If this happens, your sentencing hearing will be adjourned to allow time for the report to be completed.

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