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Being on Time for Court in Ontario

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Why You Should be on Time for Court in Ontario

 See also The Impaired Driving Checklist                       

                     If you are attending a criminal Court in Ontario you should come early. That means allowing yourself extra time for bad weather, bad traffic, finding the Courthouse, getting parked, and finding the right courtroom.

                    If you don't attend Court on time, the Judge or Justice  may issue a warrant for your arrest and if you are the accused you may be charged with another offence. On late arrival you may be arrested and held. People who have a reputation for not attending Court on time have a hard time getting bail.

                    Just as importantly, you need to speak to your lawyer, one hour, or half an hour, or 15 minutes before Court starts.

                    In a set date Court your attorney won't want to put your name on the list of matters ready to be called until he or she sees you. It's very embarrassing for a lawyer's case to be called only to find the client isn't there. Your case may end up being placed at the bottom of the list. If your attorney doesn't submit your name early to the prosecutor or clerk, you won't be called early. You'll sit for hours in a busy Court when you might have been called first or second.

                    In a trial Court, your attorney can't play hardball in negotiations with the prosecutor if there's a problem with their case and you're absent. Your lawyer also can't get instructions from you on a plea to a lesser charge or some other settlement. Your lawyer can't interview the witnesses you're bringing with you if you're not there. What your attorney does in preparation and negotiations in the one-half hour before your trial starts is every bit as important as the trial itself.

                    If you're running late or you're caught in traffic call your lawyer's office and call the Court and let them know. It may save you a night in jail.

                    If your lawyer hasn't shown up and the trial starts in the next fifteen minutes phone your lawyer's office and find out where he or she is.

                    Don't be afraid to ask someone to page your lawyer.

Copyright Stephen R. Biss, Barrister & Solicitor, 2001

 

 

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