The Progress of a Calgary Criminal Defence Case: Part 10

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This is the tenth and final article in a series detailing what you might expect in many Calgary area criminal defence cases. Previous installments can be found here: 
[Part One], [Part Two], [Part Three], [Part Four], [Part Five], [Part Six], [Part Seven], [Part Eight], [Part Nine]

In this article series, you've seen how a typical criminal defence case might progress from an initial complaint or investigation all the way through a trial. Though every case is unique, including in the details of each trial as it progresses, it is hoped that you've developed a basic understanding of what can be expected at each stage of a criminal proceeding through the Calgary or surrounding regional courts.

In Parts 8 and 9 of this series, summary offence trials and indictable offence trials—in front of either a judge alone or a judge and jury—were outlined, and you might think that marks the end of a criminal defence case. There is still a bit more work to be done in some defence cases, though. This final article in the series will describe what you can expect when your trial comes to a close, and your criminal defence case might ultimately conclude.

A Criminal Defence Case After a "Not Guilty" Verdict

The hoped-for outcome in most criminal defence trials is a verdict of "not guilty," but they don't necessarily mark the end of a criminal defence case in Canada. Even if a Calgary area judge or judge and jury deliver a verdict of "not guilty"—also known as an acquittal—the prosecutor can appeal that decision based on certain factors. If the prosecution's appeal is granted and the acquittal is thrown out or "vacated," another trial might be ordered. The general process for a second trial is the same as that of any initial trial for an alleged criminal offence, though defence strategy might differ in response to different approaches by the prosecution.

If a verdict of "not guilty" is returned and the prosecution does not appeal, your criminal defence case is over and you're free from any legal encumbrances pertaining to the charge for which you were tried.

Criminal Defence Following a "Guilty" Verdict

Not all cases end with a "not guilty" verdict, unfortunately, but a verdict of "guilty" does not mark the end of a criminal defence. The judge presiding over your trial will hear arguments from both the prosecution and the defence—made by your criminal defence lawyer, if you choose to be represented by counsel—in regards to the sentence that most appropriately serves the interests of justice. Though some offences have minimum sentences that a judge cannot decrease, sentencing arguments provide the potential for leniency and for taking circumstances surrounding the charge and the accused's life into account.

A guilty verdict can also be appealed by the defence in certain circumstances, and this can lead to a new trial or, in some instances, to an acquittal.

If you or your family member are confronted with a criminal charge or are undergoing the ordeal of a criminal trial at any stage, and you would like a free consultation with an experienced Calgary criminal defence lawyer, please contact Susan Karpa today.

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