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Should I Just Plead Guilty ?

A Criminal Lawyer Responds

(See also Guilty Pleas to Drunk Driving)

  • You've just been charged in Canada with a theft, spousal assault, or another criminal offence and you've decided you should plead guilty and "get it over with".
  • You've been arrested and embarrassed in front of your family and fellow employees 
  • The police officer suggested you should plead guilty
  • You don't want to waste another day waiting around in Court and the Ontario Government has you convinced you should plead guilty so that you can get on with your life
  • You think lawyers cost too much and they can't do anything anyway
  • But you want to know what's going to happen

If you plead guilty:

  1. You will have a record of a finding of guilt or a conviction for the rest of your life. It's true that you might get a suspension of conviction (pardons don't exist anymore) several years down the road but more and more the politicians are saying that legislation will be changed so that suspensions of conviction should not erase convictions for some offences. If you ever want to become a teacher, a police officer, a professional, or a government employee you may be giving up any hope of getting or keeping such a job if you get a conviction.
  2. If this is a drunk driving offence in Ontario you will automatically lose your driver's licence for at least one year. If you're like most Canadians that will have a devastating impact on your job and on your family. If you get caught driving while suspended you will go to jail and your car will be impounded. 
  3. You may go to jail, especially if this was an employee theft, a breach of trust, a spousal assault, a weapons charge, a politically incorrect offence, or someone got hurt. You may have to pay a fine, you may get a lot of probation.
  4. The company of which you are a Director may have a tough time getting a liquor licence or some other licence from the Province of Ontario.
  5. You may never be able to visit the United States again.

If you take some time to think about what you're doing:

  1. You can ask for and get "disclosure" and a copy of any video statement on your first Court appearance or shortly thereafter, even if you don't have a lawyer.
  2. You can ask in Court for a short adjournment (3 days to 3 weeks), bring "disclosure" to one or two lawyers, and find out whether or not you have a defence to the charge. You can find out how much a defence will cost.
  3. You can read a lot of information about criminal law offences at this web site.
  4. You can obtain some Character Reference Letters.
  5. You can ask questions about whether the police acted fairly.
   

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Stephen R. Biss, Barrister & Solicitor

470 Hensall Circle, Suite 303
Mississauga, Ontario
L5A 3V4

905-273-3322  or 1-877-273-3322

 


Advertisement. Any legal opinions expressed at this site relate to the Province of Ontario, Canada only. If you reside or carry on business in any other jurisdiction please consult a lawyer, solicitor, or attorney in your own jurisdiction. WARNING: All information contained herein is provided for the purpose of providing basic information only and should not be construed as formal legal advice. The author disclaims any and all liability resulting from reliance upon such information. You are strongly encouraged to seek and retain professional legal advice before relying upon any of the information contained herein.