Criminal Law Information

Ontario Court of Justice (Criminal) – Court Scheduling during Covid-19 Crisis

The province of Ontario has introduced measures to curb the spread of Covid-19.  In relation to the Criminal Court system, the measures that are now in place restrict people from attending court. As of March 28, 2020, generally speaking, all non-urgent / out of custody matters in court until May 29, 2020 will be automatically adjourned without the attendance of counsel or the accused, via a bench warrant with discretion.  In short, this means that an accused is ordered to [...]

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Andrew Captan, Toronto Criminal Lawyer - Interior

Domestic Assault Cases Toronto: A Step-By-Step Summary of How These Cases Proceed

Introduction Domestic Assault cases in Toronto make up a significant portion of criminal cases within the court system.    Families are routinely broken up as a result of these charges, given that, in almost all of these cases, there will be contact restrictions imposed on the parties involved.  Criminal Lawyers often get calls from individuals charged with Domestic Assault, wondering what to do next; what will happen to them, ultimately; and, most commonly, when will they be able to re-unite [...]

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Defending Excess Blood Alcohol (80 Plus) Charges

Many people not in the practice of Criminal Law commonly ask, “How is it possible to defend against an Over 80 charge, when the person is clearly guilty”?   It’s a fair question.   After all, the police have a scientific method by which to determine the person’s blood alcohol concentration.   Unlike in many other areas of criminal law, proof of the offence lies within a number, rather than an interpretation of vague legal terminology. The reality is, there [...]

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Defending Impaired Driving Charges

There are 3 main DUI charges under the Criminal Code of Canada:  (1) Excess Blood Alcohol Level; (2) Impaired Operation or Care / Control (3) Refuse or Fail to Provide Breath Sample. It’s possible to be charged with any combination of the three charges, as each deals with separate legal infractions. The Impaired Driving (or Care / Control) charge is a very commonly laid DUI charge.  For the Crown to prove the offence, there has to be evidence that the [...]

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Coronavirus (Covid-19) and the Criminal Justice System in Ontario

At the time of writing, there are 424 confirmed Coronavirus cases in Canada — the majority of those (177) being in Ontario.  By the time you read this entry, that number will likely be significantly different. Just a few days ago, Ontario health officials confirmed at least a few cases in which transmission of the virus occurred within the community.  The numbers in Canada pale into significance when you look at the figures in Europe.  Italy, for example, recently [...]

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First Appearance in Criminal Court – Myths and Facts

I often get calls from individuals who are charged with criminal offences for the first time and are, not surprisingly, confused about how the court process works.  They are shocked to hear that a criminal court case can take over a year to complete; that the matter will not conclude at the first appearance, etc.  Here are some myths and facts about a first appearance in criminal court. MYTH – A First Appearance is My Trial Date A common misconception is [...]

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Civilian initiated Criminal Charges

Is there any way for someone other than a Police Officer to have a criminal charge laid against another individual? The answer is yes. Private citizens, just like police officers, can initiate the process by which someone is charged with a criminal offence.  You would have to attend at a Justice of the Peace office in the jurisdiction in which the offence arose and fill out paperwork to commence the process. Prior to any charge actually being laid, you (or a [...]

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Sentences in Canadian Criminal Law

The sentencing phase of the criminal court process is triggered when either the accused person enters a guilty plea or they are found guilty at a trial.  The purpose of a sentencing hearing is for the court to determine the fit and appropriate outcome or “punishment” for the offence(s) committed.  The principles and purposes of sentencing with respect to adults (i.e. individuals who are 18 years or over) are found in the Criminal Code of Canada, while those that [...]

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Do you have to speak to the Police?

The general rule is that individuals who are being investigated by the police, in addition to witnesses of criminal offences, are under no obligation to answer any questions.  You can politely inform the police that you do not wish to answer any questions.  A lawyer, at this point, can be called and the lawyer can assist in figuring out what the police want from the individual(s).  There are, however, certain narrow exceptions to this rule.  One is found under [...]

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What is a Peace Bond?

General Information A peace bond is a legal agreement (or recognizance) signed by an accused person and a judge that contains a number of rules that a judge considers necessary for the accused person to follow (such as having no contact with one or more individuals). The typical length of the peace bond is 12 months, meaning that the person must comply with the conditions included in it for that duration.  If they do not, they could be charged with [...]

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