Negotiating Plea Bargains

If police arrest you for a criminal offence in Canada, Section 11 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms gives you the right to a fair trial. However, the likelihood of your case going to trial is slim, as only “2% to 5% of criminal matters proceed to trial.”

You might be surprised to learn, then, that the Canadian criminal justice system resolves the vast majority of criminal cases through plea bargain negotiations. Over 90% of cases are resolved by plea negotiations in Toronto courts, according to numerous studies. And, as noted by Canada’s Department of Justice, without negotiating plea bargains, “the administration of justice could not operate efficiently and would in fact grind to a halt.”

Given the importance of plea bargaining in Canada’s court system, our criminal defence lawyers in Newmarket and throughout the Greater Toronto Area are adept at negotiating favourable plea deals. As a critical component in developing each client’s defence strategy, plea bargain considerations can be instrumental in securing reduced charges, mitigating penalties, and limiting criminal record impacts. Plea deals our firm negotiates for first-time offenders tend to be especially favourable.

Let’s examine the advantages of plea bargains and your Ontario defence lawyer’s role in ensuring that a negotiated guilty plea has as limited an impact on you as possible.

Understanding Plea Bargains: What is a Plea Deal?

The simplest plea bargain definition describes it as a defendant agreeing to plead guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for reduced penalties from the court. In Canada, plea bargaining takes a broader form, with different types of plea bargains. Plea bargaining is a negotiation procedure between the defendant’s legal representation and Crown prosecutors. From the defence lawyer’s perspective, the essence of the plea bargain is what the Crown might be willing to offer in exchange for a guilty plea. Judges, who play no role in the negotiations, can reject or modify plea deal terms.

Plea bargaining typically begins before the trial date during pre-trial meetings. However, either side can request plea negotiations mid-trial, which often happens if unexpected evidence seems likely to change the case outcome. The primary types of plea agreements frequently negotiated in Canadian court cases include:

  • Pleading guilty to a reduced charge.
  • Pleading guilty to one or more charges in exchange for dismissal of other charges.
  • Pleading guilty in exchange for a lighter penalty.
  • Pleading guilty to secure a conditional or absolute discharge.

The Advantages of Plea Bargains

Successful plea bargains can benefit both the defendant and the Crown. With a plea bargain, the defendant can secure reduced or dismissed charges and penalties and may be able to avoid a criminal record that comes with a conviction. A plea agreement before trial also reduces the costs, time, and inconveniences of attending trial.

The Crown also benefits by eliminating the expenses, time, and other inconveniences of holding a trial. As noted, absent plea agreements, Canada’s court system might grind to a halt, as the number of defendants in the criminal court docket at any one time dwarfs the resources needed to try them all. With defendants guaranteed the right to a speedy trial, the Crown must avail itself of plea bargaining to keep the caseload flowing. The Crown will also often be amenable to negotiating a plea deal if it can protect a vulnerable victim from the trauma of having to testify.

Plea bargains benefit both parties by giving them advance notice of the case’s outcome. Trial outcomes typically remain uncertain until the judge renders their ruling, and additional uncertainty remains until sentencing. The Criminal Code gives judges broad discretion in imposing penalties that may be the difference between a fine or many years of imprisonment.

The Role of a Defence Lawyer in Plea Bargains

In negotiating a plea bargain, your defence lawyer’s role is to secure the most favourable outcome possible while ensuring your rights protection. Your right to a fair trial always serves as a backstop to the negotiations, and your lawyer needs to weigh the potential outcomes of a trial with what they might be able to secure with a plea deal. Before and during negotiations, your lawyer will assess the relative strength or weakness of the Crown’s case to determine what edge you might have in negotiations and whether you can win at trial. During talks, your lawyer will use this information to encourage the prosecutors to agree to favourable plea terms.

The fallback of proceeding to trial is often enough to force the prosecution’s hand if there are any weaknesses in their case. If you decide to proceed to trial, the plea bargain negotiations have likely helped your lawyer gain additional insights into how the Crown might try to make its case against you in court. And this can help them strategize a more effective defence.

Considerations Before Accepting a Plea Bargain

Your criminal defence lawyer will not develop a plea bargain without your input and collaboration. They will likely advise you on which plea bargain outcome represents the best options in your defence based on evidence and case details and then work to secure it. Before accepting a negotiated plea deal, you should always carefully consider whether it’s in your best interest. This involves weighing the proposed plea bargain outcome against both the best- and worst-case possible outcomes at trial.

Prepare an Effective Affidavit with a Criminal Defence Lawyer

Whether through plea bargain negotiations or a stout defence at trial, strategize the most effective response to criminal charges in Ontario with the criminal lawyers of Toronto’s Vilkhov Law. And if you’re facing possible pre-trial detention, jump-start your criminal defence with a defence lawyer skilled in successfully navigating their clients through bail hearings in Ontario. To learn more about our criminal defence expertise, contact our experienced legal team at Vilkhov Law for a free and confidential consultation.

By |2024-03-23T19:01:39+00:00March 27th, 2024|Criminal Defence|

5/5 - (3 votes)

Criminal Lawyers Association
Toronnto Lawyers Association
Law Society of Ontario
Criminal Lawyers Association
Toronnto Lawyers Association
Law Society of Ontario
Excellent4.9 Based on 132 reviews fromYsabel AtienzaYsabel Atienza ★★★★★ Igor displays a level of professionalism, knowledge and dedication that puts his clients at ease during a very stressful time. His expertise in criminal law is unparalleled. What sets him apart is his unwavering commitment to his clients. He genuinely cares about his clients’ well-being and will go above and beyond for you!Kevin DKevin D ★★★★★ Igor is a great lawyer and has provided valuable guidance throughout my experience with him. He has always been honest and straightforward which I appreciate very much. I would recommend him to anyone looking for a successful outcome.Narmatha SNarmatha S ★★★★★ Igor is a dedicated and intelligent lawyer, known for his commitment to his clients.I've witnessed firsthand his incredible work ethic and professionalism, which sets a high standard in the legal field. His ability to meticulously research cases and articulate arguments convincingly is truly impressive!Fred BalmerFred Balmer ★★★★★ Experience with Vilkhov Law was great, Igor made all my charges get dropped without any issues. I would highly recommend this firm to everyoneDavinder GillDavinder Gill ★★★★★ Ecem KokEcem Kok ★★★★★ My experience with Vilkhov Law was nothing short of exceptional. Facing a daunting legal battle, looking at significant jail time and scared, I sought Igor Vilkhov's expertise based on his stellar reputation in criminal law. From the initial consultation to the trial, every step was handled with precision and care. His deep knowledge of the law and strategic approach gave me confidence throughout.In a pivotal moment during my case, Igor Vilkhov's dedication and expertise truly shone through, resulting in a favorable outcome that exceeded my expectations. His communication was clear and timely, keeping me informed and reassured at every turn.I am immensely grateful to Igor Vilkhov and the entire team at Vilkhov Law for his unwavering support and tireless effort. His professionalism and commitment are second to none. If you find yourself in need of expert legal representation, look no further than Vilkhov Law. He is simply the best.Rhea OXXORhea OXXO ★★★★★ Jessie TeixeiraJessie Teixeira ★★★★★ I would like to thank Igor Vilkhov and his dedicated team for their professional assistance in dealing with my matter. I could not be happier about the way my matter was handled and am very satisfied with the result.Annabella FusaroAnnabella Fusaro ★★★★★ Igor Vilkhov was an amazing Lawyer. I met him through one of his colleagues and one thing I can say he fights for your rights and he doesn’t amazing job. He was so patient and kind with me. I’m very grateful for the outcome of my case. May god bless Igor And the amazing work he does.AnnabellaXuan LinXuan Lin ★★★★★ Hello my name is Leon I got charged with SA in 2021 in relation to a young complainant. I have been looking about 10 lawyer all of then is bad and lie all they care is money never help my case .Until I meet Igor I told him what happened he told me no worry he will try his best for help me . And this year May I won the case I just can't believe it Igor is best lawyer he is legendary . Guy you should believe in Igor he is really good. His preparation was meticulous and was acquitted. He saved my life.ChrisChris ★★★★★ The Best Lawyer In my opinion. A legal Tactician in the modern day criminal justice court systems. Very professional service. Great Techniques and Extremely knowledgable and Highly talented and recommended team.I’m 37 old Newfoundlander who is not well spoken but this was an easy to write.Nikolai Wheeler-BalazevNikolai Wheeler-Balazev ★★★★★ I want to start off this review by thanking Mr.Vilkhov for handling my case, Igor got my case resolved in a timely manor, i had previously been going to court for my case for about a year, and when i had gotten Mr.Vilkhov as my lawyer he had my case resolved and all my charges withdrawn in a matter of days. If anybody is looking for a lawyer i would urge you to go with Mr.Vilkhov, he knows what he is doing and knows how to do it quickly.Shannan HarrisonShannan Harrison ★★★★★ Mr. Vilkhov is an outstanding lawyer, I just avoided a lengthy jail sentence because of him. I literally cannot believe what he was able to do for me. The judge in court praised him for his work, thank you so much.Anoop RAnoop R ★★★★★ One of the best law firms in town! Highly recommended. Just retain them. They'll do the rest.ARRARR ★★★★★ I was falsely accused and charged with a serious offence. All it took was just one phone call from the complainant. As an immigrant, it was a nightmare. Fortunately Igor was the first person whom I contacted and I knew he was the one and I retained him. Beware of the lawyers who try to scare you, make you feel insecure. From the first phone call, he never made me feel insecure. He was confident that he can get the work done. Igor and Daniel promptly attended all my court dates. It took a while to achieve the resolution and finally my case was unconditionally withdrawn. I can't thank him enough. As Igor is a busy person, I was getting updates regularly from Daniel. I would give six stars to Daniel. Igor should never let him go. I would definitely recommend this law firm. You might sometimes feel that Igor is late in responding, but he'll be putting all his efforts behind the scene. Just have faith in him. I wish Igor and Daniel all the best.Brandon ABrandon A ★★★★★ Igor was fantastic to work with. He was always very quick to respond and answered any questions I had at any time during the process. I'm so impressed for his amazing and efficient work - he was able to have any charges against me dropped. I highly recommend Igor to anybody that's currently facing legal trouble. He truly exceeded my expectations and I'm so grateful for everything. Thank you Igor!Maria AgasMaria Agas ★★★★★ I was very impressed with his professionalism, swift responses and attention to detail. He was proactive and always communicated next steps. I’m so happy we came across Igor and his team. Igor is amazing and wonderful lawyer.Cindy LiCindy Li ★★★★★ I cannot express my gratitude enough for the exceptional legal representation provided by Igor. Facing wrongful accusations was a harrowing experience, but Igor's expertise and dedication swiftly turned the tide in my favor. He navigated the complexities of the case with professionalism, demonstrating remarkable intelligence and a deep understanding of the legal system. Thanks to his efforts, the charges were withdrawn in a timely manner, allowing me to move forward with my life. Igor is not just a good lawyer; he is an outstanding advocate for his clients. I wholeheartedly recommend his services to anyone in need of top-notch legal assistance.George ArellanoGeorge Arellano ★★★★★ Mr. Vilkhov got my charges withdrawn today after a very stressful time in my life. I hired him because of his reviews and I am not surprised that I got this result. I appreciate him and his team. Igor literally dedicates his entire life for his clients.Latch RamoutarLatch Ramoutar ★★★★★ I am sitting here at 10 Armoury street after my charges were just withdrawn. I cannot thank Igor enough for what he has done for me. This was supposed to be a trial where I was facing a ten year jail sentence. Somehow Igor got my charges dropped. This man is the lawyer you need, hands down. Also a very nice person.Emad MEmad M ★★★★★ Do not blink! Go with him.I know for stressful this process might be an how awful law system might be treating you, also how difficult it might be to trust someone with your “life”.Igor knows what he is doing and he saved my partner and I from false accusations of a jealous individual!He didn’t over charge, he didn’t hold back on any help a lawyer could possibly provide.This man is the best saviour one can ask for in these situations.Christa DuchenoChrista Ducheno ★★★★★ No kidding, if you need an attorney and You want the Best lawyer to defend you and your rights in the legal system I’d definitely recommend you call Igor Vilkhov.I am completely and gratefully satisfied with His professional guidance, knowledge of the complex legal system and most of all for saving my life. I give Igor and his Team my hands heart shout out Thank You for your dedication, I couldn’t have gotten through it without Y’all.Stephanie SchembriStephanie Schembri ★★★★★ Mr.Vilkhov thank you for keeping our family together we are forever gratefulAndreyAndrey ★★★★★ Highly recommend. Fast and reasonablejs_loader


“Caring, honest, and highly knowledgeable.”

Contact Igor for a Free Consultation!

Please contact us online for a free consultation.
Go to Top