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What should I do before deciding whether to plead guilty or not?

It is important to understand all of your legal options before making a decision to plead guilty.

You should start by reading your disclosure. If you have difficulty understanding your disclosure, speak to your lawyer or duty counsel.

When you read your disclosure, pay close attention to the synopsis. The synopsis is usually found in the first few pages of the disclosure package. You may agree with some, all, or none of the synopsis. It is very important to tell your lawyer or duty counsel whether you agree with what is written in the synopsis because they will need to know this to give you advice about a possible guilty plea.

Even if you agree with everything that’s in the synopsis, you should still speak to your lawyer or duty counsel before you decide to plead guilty (or not). Your lawyer or duty counsel will be able to give you legal advice about things such as difficulties the Crown could have in proving the case against you, or possible defences you may have. They can also tell you what the Crown is seeking as a sentence and what sentence you are likely to receive if you plead guilty.