I have already pleaded guilty or not guilty. Can I change my plea?

>>>I have already pleaded guilty or not guilty. Can I change my plea?

Generally, if you were unrepresented by counsel and have entered a guilty plea without understanding the nature of the charge or the effect of the plea, you may still be able to change your plea to not guilty before you are sentenced.

Procedurally, a change of plea can be made before sentencing to the same judge who took the plea. However, in order for the change of plea to be granted, you will have to present evidence to the judge that clearly demonstrates that your initial plea was not valid. Factors that may lead to a plea being found invalid include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Inadequate representation by counsel;
  • Pressure by a person in authority or threats by a third party to plead guilty;
  • Failure of the Crown to disclose evidence before trial; and
  • An uninformed or equivocal plea.

Generally speaking, you will not be allowed to change your plea if your evidence suggests that you changed your mind after receiving an unexpected sentence, or that you just changed your mind after unequivocally pled guilty. Rather, the onus will be on you to show that your guilty plea was entered due to some underlying injustice, and that there would be real a miscarriage of justice if you were forced to go forward with your guilty plea. This is not always an easy burden to meet, and your success will depend heavily on your ability to properly enter evidence in favour of your application. Because there are a number of complicated laws and procedures governing when and how evidence can be entered in a court of law, it is in your best interests to hire an experienced criminal defence lawyer to assist you with your application.

By contrast, if you have pled not guilty and your matter has been set for trial, you can change your plea to guilty at any point. Sometimes, if you do not have a strong defence and face a high likelihood of conviction if you go to trial, it may be advantageous for you to plead guilty prior to trial. Even in cases where there is extremely strong evidence against you and you plead guilty, it is still possible to avoid a criminal record by making an application for a conditional discharge or an absolute discharge. To learn more about discharges and how they can allow you to avoid a criminal record, visit our sentencing page.

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Disclaimer: All results of cases handled by the lawyer/firm are not provided. The results provided are not necessarily representative of results obtained by the lawyer/firm or of the experience of all clients or others with the lawyer/firm. Every case is different, and each client’s case must be evaluated and handled on its own merits.

All our 30-60 minute free consultations are conducted with one of our Criminal Defence Lawyers and include the following steps:

  1. Gathering of some personal information about you, such as your level of education, occupation, and citizenship status. This information can be crucial for building your defence and seeking a resolution with the Crown Prosecutor;
  2. Careful review of all documents you received from the police. We will explain what each document is, and what you can expect from and need to do for all upcoming appearances;
  3. Critical review of your recollection of events, and any supporting materials you choose to bring with you. This step helps us identify possible defences and avenues for further investigation; and
  4. Discussion of the court process, our fee structure, and what we can do to help.

Beyond these steps, we would be happy to tell you more about us, and answer any questions you may have. If you chose to retain us to help you, we will immediately provide an overview of what steps we plan to take next, and suggestions as to what you should do to improve your chances of a successful outcome.

For the free initial consultation to be as productive as possible, you should bring (or email in advance) the following materials:

  • A written statement (preferably typed) outlining your version of events;
  • All documents that you have been given by the court or by the police;
  • Any disclosure you have received;
  • Photo ID; and
  • Any supporting documents, such as photographs, emails, texts, phone records, medical records, receipts, etc.

Ideally, you will have prepared a copy of these materials for us to keep, but if not, we can always photocopy them during the consultation.

We offer flexible payment options and structures designed to meet our clients’ individual needs. Our lawyers accept all major credit cards, bank drafts, money orders, email money transfers (e-transfers) and, of course, cash.

If you decide to retain us after the free initial consultation, all we need is a retainer (down payment) to get started. The rest of the fee payments for the case can be spaced out over time. We can set you up on a monthly or bi-monthly payment plan, and process payments over the telephone or by email to make it easy for you.

The cost of a criminal defence lawyer will depend on several factors, including:

  1. how complex your case is,
  2. how serious the charges are, and
  3. how experienced the Criminal Defence lawyer is.

The fees of a competent Criminal Defence Lawyer will typically range into the thousands of dollars. The good news is that only a fraction of that amount is due initially. We offer flexible payment schedules so thefees can be paid in monthly installments.

Additionally, we offer flat rate fees, with no hidden costs. It is our standard practice to review all the costs during the free initial consultation. This means you will know exactly what our services cost at the outset and can make an informed decision about how to proceed.