The Progress of a Calgary Criminal Defence Case: Part Five

This is the fifth installment in an ongoing series of articles describing how a criminal case might proceed through the Calgary and Canadian court system. Read the previous articles in the series here:  

The Progress of a Calgary Criminal Defence Case: Part One
The Progress of a Calgary Criminal Defence Case: Part Two
The Progress of a Calgary Criminal Defence Case: Part Three
The Progress of a Calgary Criminal Defence Case: Part Four

So far, you've seen how a criminal defence case moves from an initial complaint and/or investigation until the time comes to enter a plea. Moving from a plea to the next phase of a criminal defence case very much depends upon the plea entered, the type of charge, and the outcome of a bail or "show cause" hearing. This article provides a basic overview of the details surrounding a guilty plea, including circumstances where such a plea could be advisable and what happens after a guilty plea is made.

The Plea You Choose is Part of Your Defence

Movies and TV drama often paint the job of a criminal defence lawyer as helping those accused of a crime "get away with it." In reality, a criminal defence lawyer's job under Canadian law is to make sure that every accused person's rights are respected, that they are treated fairly by law enforcement and court officials, and to help accused person return to being unfettered and productive members of society as quickly as possible.

The two plea options available to virtually all persons accused of a criminal offence are guilty and not guilty. A not guilty plea can carry certain benefits in many cases, as will be discussed in an upcoming article, however it is not always the best choice for a quick return to a normal life.

In some cases where a criminal offence has been committed, you may wish to enter a plea of "guilty." A guilty plea can lead to a better outcome for the accused person than a trial is likely to. In these cases, an accused person might be able to [plead guilty to a lesser charge] even if that charge is not included in the initial charges laid before the court—and/or to reach a sentencing agreement with the prosecutors to achieve more effective rehabilitation and a faster return to a normal life. These arrangements are all subject to approval by a judge, as is the acceptance of a guilty plea itself, in order to ensure that the rights of the accused and the interests of justice are both being served.

A Criminal Defence Lawyer Can Explain Your Plea Options

Entering a guilty plea is a tough decision, especially for those who don't have experience dealing with prosecutors and the Calgary area court systems. Though it is not required, it is strongly recommended that you consult with an experienced criminal defence lawyer before entering any plea, guilty or otherwise. They can discuss your case with you and with prosecutors to help you determine the best course of action, and to ensure that you can get past the criminal charges against you and return to your life and your family.

No matter what phase your criminal defence case is in, if you would like a free consultation with an experienced Calgary criminal defence lawyer, please contact Susan Karpa today.