Should I just plead guilty to my criminal charges?

Every person charged with a criminal offence in Canada has a right to a trial, or they may choose to plead guilty. The decision to plead guilty, or to plead not-guilty is a complicated one that is best made with the assistance of an experienced criminal lawyer who can advise you of the consequences of either option.

What to consider before pleading guilty to any criminal charge:

criminal charges should i pleadIn making such a decision, there are several things that ought to be considered (in addition to what your lawyer advises you about your particular case). Those things might include:

  • What is the sentence that is being proposed by the Crown, the defence, or both as a joint position?
  • By pleading guilty, will I obtain a better sentence than if I was convicted after trial?
  • What are my chances of winning my case?
  • Are there evidentiary or constitutional problems with the Crown’s case that make it difficult to obtain a conviction – regardless of my factual guilt?
  • Even if I am pleading guilty, am I getting the least punitive sentence or can a lawyer advocate for something better?
  • What are the long term consequences of this sentence – is it a permanent blemish on my record?
  • Are there immigration consequences?
  • Are there family law issues that may prevent me from having access to my children?
  • Are there civil law issues where I could be sued afterwards for a crime I committed?

These are difficult questions that cannot be answered by anyone other than an experienced lawyer who is fully aware of your personal circumstances and your particular case.

More information on pleading guilty in criminal court:

For more information on pleading guilty, please visit lawyer Jordan Gold’s article on this issue here.