While Toronto is widely touted as one of the safest cities in North America, with relatively low crime rates, there are still plenty of cases that see the courts in this city every year. If you’re unfortunate enough to be one of the people who has been accused of a crime within the city limits of Toronto, you might be concerned about how the court process is going to unfold and what kind of consequences you’ll have to deal with. Understandably, this is certainly a time when you might face panic and anxiety. However, before you take any action to defend yourself or make any public statements, it’s best to take the following 7 steps as part of an overall response plan:
1. Consult with A Local Criminal Lawyer
Regardless of what kind of crime you’ve been accused of, it’s always wise to at least discuss your case with a reputable criminal lawyer in the area. Simply participating in an initial consultation will usually put your mind at ease because you’ll leave with an idea of what you’re up against and who your attorney might be able to help you formulate a defense that will result in a ruling be rendered in your favour. Luckily, you can easily find lawyers in Toronto by searching for the term “Criminal lawyers Toronto.”
2. Write Down the Details of Your Case
While you might think that your mental recollection of the case is sufficiently accurate, you’d be surprised at how many additional details you might be able to remember just by jotting the events of the alleged crime or your alibi on paper. This draft probably won’t be read in court or given to the judge or prosecutors, but it can serve as a useful reference for you and your lawyer while developing a defence.
3. Gather Any Applicable Evidence
If you can find any documentation or witnesses that can substantiate your defence, it’s important to compile all of that information in an organised manner. Even the smallest details or pieces of evidence could contribute to swaying the judgment in your favour. If you know for a fact that you weren’t even at the scene of the crime, try to get in touch with people who you were with on that date so you can coordinate their testimonies as soon as possible. The longer you wait after the date of the alleged crime, the more difficult it might be to obtain testimonies from people who aren’t your close friends or family members.
4. Do Not Speak to Anyone About Your Case Other Than Your Attorney
Many people can’t stand the thought of bottling up their opinions about their case and not discussing it with anyone. While it might be okay to confide in your closest friends or family members, to avoid incriminating yourself, it’s generally safer to keep quiet about your case unless you’re talking to your attorney. This is an important tip to remember, as you may be questioned about the case out of the blue, and you should be prepared to decline to comment.
5. Don’t Let the Situation Control Your Life in the Meantime
Finally, one more tip that applies to everyone who is facing criminal charges – particularly for serious offences – is to not let the situation control or ruin your life during the period leading up to the trial. Try to go on about your business as normally, as this will help you keep stress levels low, make better decisions, and maintain a more professional appearance that will convey your innocence.
A Good Lawyer is the Greatest Asset You Can Have
Ultimately, since your attorney will be acting as the mediator between you and the courts, choosing the right person to represent you is probably the most important decision you’ll have to make before the commencement of the pre-trial phase.