What is a charge?
Your charge is the accusation that the Crown (government) is making against you.
Being charged does NOT mean that you are guilty, even if you believe you are responsible for what you are being accused of. Unless you admit to the charge through a guilty plea or are proven guilty in a court of law, you cannot be legally convicted and face penalties such as a fine.
If you do not plead guilty to the charge and book a trial, it is the government’s responsibility to make a case against you. The burden is on them! If they cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty, you will win your case.
If you are charged with an offence, you have a right to review the case against you before a trial, so you have fair chance to defend yourself (see Disclosure).
To find out more about what the government has to prove against you, ask Winston to “tell me more” when he asks for your charge.
Requesting a trial
In order to request a trial, you will need to submit a Notice of Intention to Appear (NOI) at the appropriate courthouse. This must be done in person, either by yourself, or by another person.
Note that courthouses are often busy, and the line-ups can be quite long.
If you would like to save yourself the trip, Winston can file your ticket for you.
As a Canadian Citizen, under Section 14 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, you have the right to an interpreter. You may invoke this right if you do not understand the court’s language.
If you do request an interpreter, the court must provide you with one, and pay for it on the day of your trial. Failing to do so would unfairly disadvantage you and your case may be dropped, or at the very least, adjourned (pushed back).
You may request an interpreter and set the language for your trial on your “Notice of Intention to Appear Form”.