If the police have reason to believe you have committed a crime they can charge you with a crime. Being charged with a crime does not mean that you have been found guilty of a crime. The charges must be proven in court. Everyone is presumed to be innocent until they are proven guilty or plead guilty.
If you are charged with a crime, the police will either give you a Appearance Notice of have you sign an undertaking. They can also release you and serve a summons on you later.
Any of these papers will have the time, date and court location where you need to appear. It may also have a time, date and location for you to have your photograph and fingerprints taken. You must appear when required. if you fail to appear as required you can be charged with another offence.
A criminal charge does not always have to be dealt with in court. Before or after you are charged with a crime the Crown Prosecutor can decide to keep the case out of court by having it dealt with through an alternative measures program. Although the decision is made by the Crown Prosecutor, you or your lawyer can ask to have your case dealt with this way. The police or the victim can also make this request.
Alternatives measures can be used only if you agree to have your case deal with this way and you accept responsibility for the offence. Some offences cannot be dealt with by Alternative Measures. These include offences involving domestic violence, offences where drugs or alcohol were a contributing factor and a number of more serious offences including any offence that involves violence to a person if it is prosecuted as an indictable offence.
Alternative measures programs are delivered by community-based non-profit agencies, First Nations, Tribal Councils and fee-for-service mediators. These programs use various methods of dealing with the case including having the victim and offender work with a trained mediator or having a community conference that involves the victim, the offender and other professionals. Successful participants will not have a criminal record for cases dealt with through alternative measures programs.
When the judge arrives the clerk will announce the judge and tell everyone to stand while the judge enters...
PLEA can provide you with information to help you understand many legal matters you, a family member or friend may be facing.