What Should You Know About The First Day Of Criminal Court?

June 9, 2022


When you receive the release document with the time, date and location of your first court date, we understand that the anticipation and the anxiety can be overwhelming. Hence, to help you deal with the anticipation, we are going to explain what you can expect from your first day at criminal court.

Note that your first day at criminal court will not be your trial day. Rather, it is the day where disclosure and retaining counsel are provided.

Your first day at court is all about explaining what the case against you is. The crown shows you the evidence that it has against you. In addition to this, all the information about you is organised and you are asked whether you want to plead guilty or want to go ahead with a trial.

In either case, you are advised to hire an experienced criminal defence lawyer to help you deal with all the formalities. Court proceedings can be daunting and there is a lot of paperwork involved. Only a person proficient with all the formalities can help you deal with the requirements without any inconvenience.

Also Read: Travelling With Absolute Or Conditional Discharge

Here is what you can expect from the first day at criminal court.


The first thing that will happen in criminal court is disclosure. This is where all the evidence that the crown and the police have against you will be disclosed. This process is done so that you and your lawyer have a better understanding of the case. This way, you can make an informed decision about how to proceed.

Crown Screening

During the crown screening process, you will be given a crown screening form so that you can understand the crown’s stance on the case. This form explains if the crown has decided on proceeding by indictment or summary election. It also details what sentence will be given in case you plead guilty.

Retaining Counsel

The last formality of the day is letting you decide if you want to seek the assistance of private counsel or represent yourself. At this point, you can also decide to apply for legal aid in case you cannot afford private counsel.

Note that you are advised against pleading guilty before the assistance of legal counsel. An experienced criminal lawyer or counsel will properly review the disclosure and help you decide the best possible course of action. He/she will also negotiate with the crown according to the suggested sentence.

If you have not hired a lawyer yet, you can also see the duty counsel after you have received your disclosure. He/she will explain what options you have.


Whether you decide to retain the counsel or not, the court will be adjourned for a few weeks. This time is provided to help you perform all the following tasks:

  • Review disclosure, or obtain disclosure on the next occasion if not already provided,
  • Retain and obtain advice from counsel,
  • Apply for Legal Aid if necessary,
  • Have your lawyer speak to the Crown Attorney about the case for the purpose of resolution or trial discussions, or,
  • Any other purpose that the situation may require.

About Slaferek Law

Slaferek lawyers are highly proficient at strategizing effective defence strategies that can lead to case dismissal, reduced charges, reduced penalties, and more. To get in touch with us today, click here. Our expertise lies in criminal cases and DUI cases.

If you are scrambling with charges or are looking for a good criminal defence lawyer to fight your case, our team of trained lawyers can help you build a strong case. We have successfully closed hundreds of cases pertaining to murder, DUI, financial fraud and more.

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Contacting Darin H. Slaferek

We specialize in criminal law, delivering ethical, effective, and efficient legal solutions that prioritize the best interests of our clients.