Being frightened and unsure is a normal reaction for a person who is about to be charged with a crime. The best option in this situation is to be pro-active and consult a Toronto criminal lawyer immediately. The criminal defence lawyer will be able to assess the chances of being arrested and charged.
There are many types of crimes that a person can be charged with from theft, drug possession, acts of violence, white-collar crimes, or illegal acts. If you have advance knowledge that you will be charged with a crime, you have time to prepare yourself emotionally and mentally. An added advantage is access to the services of a criminal defence lawyer to provide you with guidance.
If the suspicion that you will be charged with a crime is correct, you have to prepare yourself to be arrested. The police will write a report and submit it to a prosecutor who will decide whether you will be charged with a crime. If the crime is a serious case like a felony, the charges may be brought before a grand jury. The jurors will listen to the evidence to come up with a decision on what charges will be filed or whether you will be indicted.
It should be noted that it is possible to be arrested but not indicted for lack of evidence. However, you can be arrested again if the prosecutor feels that enough evidence has been collected to proceed with the case. At such time, a criminal defence lawyer is indispensable. There must be a warrant of arrest and the police must provide you a copy within a reasonable period of time. After you are arrested, you will be booked at the police department where your fingerprints will be taken including other identifying information.
You will be formally informed of the charges during the arraignment. During the arraignment, you are given the opportunity to plead guilty, not guilty, or no contest. No contest means that you are accepting the consequences of pleading guilty without conceding fault. The judge can set or deny bail based on the level of the offense and the likelihood that you may flee when released temporarily.
The criminal defence lawyer will help you decide whether a plea bargain is for your best interests. However, this will also depend on several circumstances. If the case is dismissed, you will be free but the criminal charges will remain on record. An expert criminal defence lawyer can get the case expunged, sealed, and effectively erased from the judicial records.
If you are found guilty of the crime, a sentencing date will be set. While waiting for the sentencing date, you can be out on bail or held in jail. The sentence will depend on the crime, its nature and severity, and your past conduct. In certain situations, the decision can be appealed to a higher appellate court that will re-evaluate the case. The criminal defence lawyer will be at your side throughout the case which means that you should choose someone you can work comfortably with.