The Progress of a Calgary Criminal Defence Case: Part Four

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This is the fourth installment in an ongoing series of articles describing how a criminal case might proceed through the Calgary and Canadian court system. If you haven't already, you might want to read Parts One, Two and Three before you continue

As you might have noticed if you've read the previous installments in this article series, there's a lot that happens in a criminal defence case before you set foot in a Calgary or other Canadian court: there's a complaint and/or an initial investigation by law enforcement, the laying of an official criminal charge with the courts, and frequently an arrest. A bail hearing or "show cause" hearing after an arrest is usually the first time an accused person will find themselves in a courtroom or in front of a justice of the peace or judge, and is also frequently the first time many consult with a criminal defence lawyer—though it doesn't have to be.

After a bail hearing, you may be released or detained pending the outcome of the matter.

Determining a Plea in a Criminal Defence Case

Whether an accused person is released after a bail hearing or not, there are a few different ways a criminal defence case might proceed. Where the Crown prosecutor decides to proceed with the charges, the accused person—often in consultation with an experienced criminal defence lawyer—will need to enter a plea in response to the charges.

The standard pleas are guilty and not guilty, and in some cases the decision might be clear. In many criminal defence cases, however, the circumstances surrounding the charge and other complications of the case require careful consideration at this phase. Negotiation with the prosecution is possible before a plea is entered, changing the potential outcomes of a guilty plea. Though a judge of the Calgary and area courts has final say in any sentencing for criminal offences charged in the region, these negotiations can significantly alter the direction of an accused person's life following a criminal defence case.

How a Criminal Defence Lawyer Can Help

Because of the many considerations involved before a plea is entered in a criminal defence case, and because of the sensitivity and potential impact of negotiations with Crown prosecutors, many accused persons are well-advised to consult with a criminal defence lawyer rather than trying to handle this phase of their cases on their own. A lawyer with experience guiding criminal cases through the various components of the Calgary criminal justice system can provide information and help accused persons weigh options, understand the risks and rewards of each course of action, and illuminate new possibilities that the average Canadian citizen might not be aware of.

For a free consultation with an experienced criminal defence lawyer, no matter where in the defence process you are, please contact Susan Karpa today.

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