What to Expect
Generally, if you are accused of committing a crime, the following may happen:
- A crime is reported to the police or police catch you committing a crime.
- You may be arrested, at the scene of the crime or later.
- See If You Are Arrested.
- If you are arrested, you may be released by the police, or by the court or held in custody until your trial.
- Police investigate the crime.
- Police decide whether or not to recommend to Crown counsel that you should be charged.
- If there is enough evidence to prove you are guilty of committing a crime, Crown counsel may charge you.
- Crown counsel may refer you for alternative measures or begin court proceedings. If your case goes to court, a trial may take place to determine if you are guilty or not guilty.
- See Going to Court.
- You appear in court for pre-trial appearances. At an arraignment or in your Consent Arraignment form you enter your plea. If you state you are “guilty” of committing the crime, then your case does not need to proceed to trial and you will be sentenced. If you state that you are "not guilty", a trial date will be set.
- See Court Appearances Before the Trial (How the Criminal Justice System Works) for more information.
- If your case proceeds to trial, the court decides whether you are guilty or not guilty.
- If you are found guilty, the judge sentences you. Your sentence may include time in custody, supervision in the community (community supervision sentence) or a combination of both. The judge may request a pre-sentence report be prepared to assist with determining your sentence.
For more information, see:
- How the Criminal Justice System Works - Understanding Criminal Justice
- Or if you are a youth see: Youth Justice