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If you’ve been convicted of a criminal offence, here are the Ontario criminal appeal rules you need to know to appeal your criminal conviction or sentencing.  Keep in mind you only have a short period of time to serve and file your appeal.

What happens if you do not agree with the judge’s decision or feel that the sentence was too high?

In certain cases you can have the judge’s decision reviewed by another judge or group of judges. If you are found guilty but think that you are innocent, if you feel the sentence was too high, or if you simply think the judge that heard your case made a mistake, you may be able to appeal.

Where does my appeal take place?

Typically your appeal will be heard in the same city or jurisdiction as your trial or plea of guilty. Usually appeals are heard at a Court called the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. Rarely, cases are required to be heard in Toronto before a Court called the Ontario Court of Appeal or in Ottawa at the Supreme Court of Canada.

Will the same judge who heard my case the first time be the appeal judge?

No, a different judge will hear the appeal. The appeal judge will be from a higher court and will decide the case without discussing the case with the first judge.

Can I win at an appeal?

Typically a lawyer will advise you about whether or not it is a good idea to appeal your case. In many cases an appeal will not be worth your time or expense. However, there are certain cases where there are very good issues that can be raised. A judge may have made a mistake in convicting you or may have given a sentence or punishment that was too harsh. If you decide to retain Aitken Robertson for your appeal, a lawyer will advise you on what he or she thinks of the chances of success for your appeal. When one of our lawyers tells you that you have a chance at winning your appeal, that means that your chances are good.

On what basis can I appeal?

You can only appeal in certain circumstances. It is not good enough for you to believe that the judge made just any kind of a mistake. Typically you can only appeal your sentence if a judge erred in law, or did not place the appropriate weight on certain sentencing principles, or if the sentence was beyond the appropriate range of sentence for the type of act that you committed. A lawyer will tell you on what grounds you can appeal.

What do I need to do to appeal my case?

In order to appeal your case you need to file a series of documents in the proper court. There is a time limit of 30 days from the time of your sentence. Once your Notice of Appeal has been filed by you or by your lawyer, the court must be given other documents. You or your lawyer must order a copy of the court’s record of everything that was said, and every document that was presented, during your original case. These records and documents are called the transcripts and exhibits. You or your lawyer must present written reasons, in a document called a factum, arguing: why your sentence should be reduced; or, why you should not have been found guilty; or, why you should be given a chance to have another trial. As well, a book containing some official documents such as the Court Information must be presented to the appeal court.

Do I serve my licence suspension or jail sentence before the appeal date?

A lawyer can ask the appeal court to pause or stop the original punishment you received. Documents that are different from the appeal documents must be filed to stop the punishment or to get your licence back quickly, pending the final decision of the appeal court.

What do I do at the appeal?

If you have a lawyer, the lawyer will present the reasons why you should win. You simply listen. The judge at the appeal does not want to hear your version of the events and will not hear from the witnesses again. The appeal is based on the documents and cases presented at the appeal (including transcripts of the trial and evidence).

How much does the appeal cost?

This will depend on the type of appeal and circumstances involved. Aitken Robertson offers reasonable rates for appeals. The lawyers at, or associated with, our office have conducted appeals at every single level of court in Canada: the Ontario Court of Justice, the Superior Court of Justice, the Court of Appeal, and the Supreme Court of Canada. For further details, please contact Aitken Robertson’s office.

Appeal a Criminal Conviction or Sentencing! Call our lawyers at 1-800-668-1657 or visit one of our offices to get a free 30-min consultation.

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Some of Our Google Reviews

I had my first trouble with law couple of months and we found Edmund Chang. He helped me through all the process professionally moreover, he really cares about my best interest, he will check if I comfortable with all decisions we were going to make and if not, he will not push it. Other things that really stand out, he is approachable as well as responsive to follow up. In the end, we settled the case and I can move more
Krystal Stacy
17:19 15 Jun 18
I was charged with over 0.80 and Impaired Driving charges. I didn't think I had any chance, but Justin Marchant managed to get me out with a careless driving charge. Thanks to him, I don't have a criminal record!!! Very friendly, sharp, professional, and dedicated individual. He did a great job prepping me for the trial, and prepping for the case. I highly recommend this firm, as if it wasn't for them, I'm not sure what would have happened to my life. I made a nasty mistake, one which I will never ever make again. Some lessons have a big price to be more
Sean Jamali
15:20 07 Jun 18
Recently I was charged with over .80, Justin Marchand help me WIN this charge, from the moment I contacted him, he was very professional and upfront, He always responded to my calls and answered all my questions, He prepared me really well before trial. I would 100% recommend him and his team, Job Well done… “Sometimes good people make mistakes”read more
17:16 07 Jun 18
Mr. Marchand is an amazing lawyer. He is very personable and professional. My case was a very long and drawn out case, but Mr. Marchand always kept up with everything and I was always well informed. I really appreciated that he would take the time to fully explain his thought process/strategy and was never condescending. Even though this was a stressful time, Mr. Marchand made it a great experience and took care of more
Rochelle Jenifer
17:30 15 Jun 18
Once again amazing ! I am writing this review as I always refer my friends to this firm. THEY ARE THE BEST ! My friend was pulled over at the us border on a random check and in turn got charged with a refusal. My friend did not know that refusing to take a breathalyzer was a criminal offence. In fact as soon as he realized it he asked the officers to take it but they refused him. In turn he was charged with a refusal. Aitken Robertson specializes in DUI and cases such as this.. so it was an immediate call to them that i put in for him. Right then and there they took over. As usual, they offered a payment plan and of course they took care of everything all the pre-trial meetings etc. Justin was the laywer for him and not only is he the MOST thorough he is the most out for justice. He found the errors that the officers made and he used it to my friends advantage. He went above and beyond to find the best resolution with the crown. He went above and beyond to give my friend all his options. And the best part is that NO CRIMINAL CHARGES. It was reduced basically down to a speeding ticket as a result of Justins hard work. The whole firm is stellar. They take time to go through your disclosure to confirm any and all details are correct.The justice system is a corrupted one and im thankful these lawyers know how to find a way to help us through that. Justin once again did an amazing job. Susan at the firm is great she helps out with payment plans etc. Brenda is great. Robert of course its just a great team of laywers. Do not go anywhere else ! I will recommend them time and time more
19:28 26 Jun 18
When my daughter's boyfriend had a problem I looked up Jordan Tekenos-Levy. Jordan did an amazing job defending this young man. He showed compassion and care in a very sensitive issue. Jordan is a great lawyer, he fights hard for his clients and ensures their loved ones are kept in the loop during the entire process. He is honest and doesn't sugar coat the situation. I would highly recommend his services. We owe him a huge debt of gratitude and I wish him all the best in the more
Laurene Smith
02:58 16 Nov 18
I was falsely accused of a crime and I sought out representation. I did not know exactly where to go, I was in a panic as I've never seriously run afoul with law enforcement. Mr. Nathan Baker and his staff were assigned to my case, and I am thankful that they were. Knowing I was innocent I still was worried about how everything was going to play out as I wondered 'how could this even be happening'. Mr Baker and his staff helped walk me through the court process that was completely unfamiliar to me, besides what Id seen on television. It was a two year process, and every step of the way all my questions and inquisitions were answered and put at ease. I give this Firm my full endorsement, they believed in me, supported my case and followed through on every detail pertaining to it, and defended me to a correct Not Guilty verdict. For that I will be forever grateful. I've never had the need for an attorney to represent me before the false accusation, and I hope I never need it again. But if I do, I'd want this firm to represent more
Zak Piva
03:06 28 Oct 18
I would like to thank the lawyers at Aitken Robertson especially Philip Stiles and Lavina Inbar for helping me thru this most difficult time.Everyone i was in contact with were very polite and professional.Being a very high stress time of my life i could not have been happier to hear a "Not Guilty " verdict.I will always recommend Aitken Robertson to anyone i hear of needing a good lawyer.Thank you all very muchMauriceread more
Maurice Flight
20:22 31 Oct 18
Justin provided thorough and caring representation for my friend who had a court proceedings. I would recommend Justin and the Aitken Robertson team to anyone in a similar situation. Thanks!
Rexy H
19:26 08 Sep 18
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