At what point is this a consideration?

“When should I plead guilty?” is a common question asked by many clients.  This is an incredibly important question that you should obtain advice from a lawyer before you proceed with a guilty plea.

One of the first things an accused person must do is review their disclosure in detail. If the facts in the disclosure are things that you can agree is correct (or more or less correct) then you may want to plead guilty. However, if the facts are substantially incorrect then you cannot and should not proceed with a guilty plea to the charge(s).

Second, by pleading guilty you must acknowledge that you understand you will be giving up your right to have a trial. If you plead guilty then the Crown Attorney does not have to prove the charges against you.

Third, before you make a decision to plead guilty you will have an understanding as to what the Crown will be asking for as a sentence in your matter. By pleading guilty you acknowledge that your lawyer (or duty counsel) will make sentencing submissions on your behalf and the Crown will also make submissions as to what she or she thinks is an appropriate sentence in your matter, however, it will be the Judge who will have the ultimate final say with respect to your sentence. This means that even if your lawyer (or duty counsel) and the Crown have come to an agreement, called a joint submission, the Judge does not have to accept this joint submission.

Lastly, should you plead guilty, you must acknowledge that you have decided to proceed with a guilty plea voluntarily, and that no one has put pressure on you to enter into the plea. You will have been given legal advice to help make your decision about entering into the plea, however, the final decision if yours and yours alone.

Richard Aitken, Jordan Tekenos-Levy, Justin Marchand, Jay Nadarajah and the other lawyers at Aitken Robertson criminal law firm will give you legal advice about your case, including the likely sentence you are to receive should you plead guilty, defences you have in your case, the difficulties that the Crown Attorney will have in proving the case against you, how strong or weak of a case you have should you go to trial, and potential resolution of your matter i.e. withdrawal, peace bond, or diversion.