The Progress of a Calgary Criminal Defence Case: Part 7

This is the seventh 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

Previous articles in this series have brought us from a complaint of investigation leading to the laying of a charge through the phase of a criminal defence case where the accused makes a plea before the court. How a case proceeds following a plea depends very much on the plea entered. This article gives a brief overview of what might occur following each type of plea, with future articles providing greater detail regarding sentencing following a guilty plea and trial types following not guilty pleas.

Criminal Defence Following a Guilty Plea
Many people are under the mistaken impression that pleading guilty puts an end to a criminal defence case, but this isn't actually true. As discussed in Part Five of this article series, a guilty plea is one option you may have when it comes to entering a plea, but your case won't end there. If you enter a guilty plea as part of an agreement made with the prosecutor regarding sentencing, you'll still need that sentence approved by a judge sitting in one of the Regional Courts in and around Calgary. If there is no sentencing agreement, you'll have to appear before a judge and possibly make a case (with the assistance of a criminal defence lawyer, if you so choose) for an appropriate sentence.

Sentences can involve jail time, monetary fines, probationary periods, various types of rehabilitation, and/or community service; one or more of these will likely be a part of the final phase of your criminal defence case following a guilty plea.

Criminal Defence Trials Following a Not Guilty Plea
As outlined in Part Six of this series, there are several trial options that might be available to you, depending on the nature of the crime you have been charged with. These trial types will be explored in greater depth in an upcoming article, but all trials will require you to attend court with your criminal defence lawyer, if you choose to be represented by one. At trial, the prosecution presents evidence in an attempt to establish guilt. The role of the defence is to raise reasonable doubt as to your guilt. A judge will consider all of the evidence and make a decision.

Under Canadian law, the prosecution must prove the charges against you beyond a reasonable doubt before a finding of guilt can be made. If the evidence presented by the prosecutor does not establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, a verdict of "not guilty" should be returned and your criminal defence case will be over. If the prosecutor proves the allegation beyond a reasonable doubt, and the judge makes a finding of guilt, then the matter will proceed to sentencing.

If you have any questions about a current criminal defence case involving you or a family member, please contact Susan Karpa today for a free consultation.