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Guilty Plea? What you need to know.

guilty plea ontario criminal court


A Guilty plea is common way for charges to be disposed of quickly, generally with a reduction in risk of receiving a maximum penalty in exchange for admitting guilt early on in a proceeding.

  • a guilty plea is when an individual voluntarily admits guilt to the offence they are charged with
    • in admitting guilt, the individual is also admits to all of the facts of the offence
    • in addition, the individual foregoes their right to a trial and proceeds straight to sentencing
  • a court must be satisfied that:
    • the plea is voluntary
    • the plea is an admission of the essential elements of the offence
    • the accused understands that the court is not bound by any agreement the accused and prosecutor make (the court is allowed to rule differently than whatever deal the accused and prosecutor agree on)

Why Plead Guilty?

  • pleading guilty is a choice
  • saves time for the accused – don’t have to wait in jail or out on bail for the case to go to trial
  • saves money for the accused – less time in the court system means smaller lawyer fees
    • but also, this is less financially disruptive, as the accused needs to take less time off work to deal with court-related matters
  • saves time for the court – the court doesn’t have to go through the numerous procedures that must occur before a trial
  • the Crown may look favourably upon an admission of guilt and reduce charges or fine
    • this is because the accused is showing remorse and saving the court’s time and money

When Not to Plead Guilty

  • an individual should not plead guilty if they do not want to plead guilty
  • an individual should not plead guilty if they believe they are not guilty of the allegations
  • an individual should not plead guilty if they dispute some or all of the facts made in the allegations
  • an individual should not plead guilty unless they are acting of their own volition, and have the capacity to understand the positive and negative aspects of such a plea

The Process of a Guilty Plea

  1. The Crown will read in the allegations against the accused. The accused can agree or disagree, but a guilty plea assumes the accused will admit the facts
  2. The accused will be given the opportunity to confirm their criminal record to ensure accuracy of the document
  3. The Crown and the accused’s counsel will each submit their position before the judge. The accused’s counsel can submit mitigating details about the accused, or there can be a joint submission, where the accused’s counsel submits the same information as the Crown.
  • Submissions will include statements regarding appropriate penalties for the accused

The judge will deliver a sentence. This can be done immediately, or on a future date.

Hiring a Private Lawyer for Your Guilty Plea

  • a private lawyer can get to know you and your case better
  • a private lawyer has more time to dedicate to researching important aspects of your case
  • you can’t choose which duty counsel you get, but you can select your lawyer
  • a private lawyer does not have to prioritize clients in the same manner duty counsel does, allowing more more efficiency


Smordin Law Criminal Lawyers
41 King William St. #200
Hamilton, ON
L8R 1A2
Tel: 1 (905) 525-0005
Toll Free: 1 (844) 525-0005
Fax: 1 (905) 525-5716

Impaired Driving Law | Important Changes you should know.

The Supreme Court of Canada struck down one of Canada’s harshest impaired driving laws. The 2010 British Columbia law allowed for automatic 90-day suspensions using roadside tests, which are often inaccurate. The Court found that the 2010 law did not have sufficient oversight to protect drivers’ rights and violated the search and seizure protections in the Charter. The law had been amended in 2012 to fix the problems and the court didn’t rule whether the 2012 law is valid – but those who were penalized between 2010 and 2012 may get reimbursed.

What matters for Ontarians, and the rest of Canada, is that the Court also ruled on whether the province overstepped their power in passing the law. The Court held that provinces have the responsibility to ensure highway safety and that they have the right to pass legislation that achieves this goal. The Court found that while this particular law was unconstitutional, provinces have the right and responsibility to pass impaired driving laws.

In Ontario, if you’re under 21 or a novice driver (G1 and G2 licenses) you must have Zero Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC). If you’re caught with a BAC above zero your driver’s license will be suspended for 24 hours and you could face a further suspension and a fine on conviction.

If you’re over 21, have a G license, and your BAC is between 0.05 and 0.08, this is considered the “warning range”. If it’s the first warning, you’ll face a three day roadside suspension and a $180 fine. The suspensions and fines increase with each offence.

If you test over the legal limit (0.08) or you refuse a drug or alcohol test, you face an immediate 90 day roadside license suspension, $180 fine, and 7 day vehicle impoundment. If you’re convicted for a first offence, you’re facing a year long license suspension, a $1000 fine, an ignition interlock device, and a mandatory alcohol education or treatment program. If it’s a second, third, or further offence, then you’re facing jail time, steeper fines, and a 3 year to lifetime license suspension.

Getting Impaired Driving Legal Help

Considering the tough impaired driving laws on the books in Ontario, it’s important that you get good legal advice and assistance. The lawyers at Smordin Law have years of experience fighting impaired driving charges and can help you navigate Ontario’s impaired driving laws

impaired driving