One of the worst things that can happen to a Toronto resident is being charged with a criminal offence. The result of this occurrence is often time in prison or some other form of severe legal punishment. Luckily, there are a variety of actions you can take to increase your odds of coming out okay. You can find them in the sections below.

The Process Leading Up to a Charge

The following process is likely what will play out before you’re officially charged with a criminal offence.

  • Arrest - Whether you’re caught in the act of a crime or suspected of committing one later on, you will be arrested at some point. If it fits into the former category, the police will remove you from the scene right away. For the latter, they will come to your home and pick you up.

  • Report - The second step is the police creating a report. This document has all of the crucial information surrounding your case and will be used later on in the process.

  • File - Lastly, a prosecutor must take your case and file it with the court. Doing so usually only takes a few days.

Hire a Lawyer

Once you’ve been charged with a criminal offence, you need to hire an excellent lawyer right away. The reason is that these infractions often affect people for years, decades, or even the rest of their lives. You could go to jail, have issues finding employment later on, and fall prey to a variety of other dangers. These factors combine to make hiring the right attorney a critical task. Doing so will lessen your punishment as much as possible, while an incompetent lawyer could lead you to a tragic result.

Gather Evidence

Next, you and your lawyer will gather evidence that supports you. The majority of it will be available to all parties involved, as it will be in police reports and other public domains. Still, you can find alternate forms of proof on your own. Some things you might do are hire a private investigator, look for an eyewitness, or bring in a relevant expert.

Discuss Your Priorities

Once you have all your evidence together, you must discuss your priorities with your lawyer. One thing that you will want to talk about right away is how willing you are the settle. If you’re 100% innocent, you may not want to at all. On the other hand, you could be open to taking a deal if it is good enough. Once you solidify these details, your lawyer will know how to proceed with your case. From here, you can craft a specific strategy going forward.

Present Yourself Well in Court

If you receive a criminal charge, you will find yourself in court at some point. Though your lawyer will do most of the legwork in trials, you will play an active role. For this reason, you must present yourself well in court. Dress well, be polite, speak clearly, and never lose your temper.

Argue Your Case

Next, your lawyer will carry out your strategy. Whether in a courtroom or behind closed doors, your Toronto criminal defence attorney will advocate for a punishment that is as friendly as possible. If you have the right person at your side, you will have an excellent shot at a favorable result.

Hope For the Best

Lastly, you must hope for the best. While gathering evidence, hiring a great lawyer, and presenting yourself well will all raise your chances of a positive result, there is always some level of luck involved. You cannot manage every possible factor, so it is best to accept your lack of control.

The worst thing you can do after being charged with a criminal offence is to be passive. Doing so will allow the legal system to have complete power over punishing you, which could have a tragic result. Instead, carry out the steps on this list, and you can get the best possible ruling.