The Stages of a Criminal Trial in British Columbia

The Stages of a Criminal Trial in British Columbia

The stages of a criminal trial in British Columbia are similar to stages in criminal trials across Canada. In today’s blog article, we will discuss what those stages are. 

The defendant is charged. 

Nothing happens until someone is formally charged with a criminal offence. 

Defendant stays in custody or is released. 

After being charged, the defendant is either taken in to custody or released depending on the charge(s) and the severity of the crimes. 

There is a bail hearing. 

If the person is taken into custody, there will be a bail hearing, also known as a judicial interim release hearing soon after. At that time the individual and his or her defence lawyer will argue for the individual to be released, and the prosecutor may or may not argue for the individual to be kept in custody. In Canada, the law leans in favour of the individual being released one way or another unless the prosecution has excellent reasons why the person should not be released while awaiting trial. 

Defendant stays in custody or is released. 

First appearance before a judge. 

This is an important court appearance before the arraignment hearing. 

There is an arraignment hearing. 

During the arraignment hearing, the accused “elects” how he or she will be tried based on the conditions specific to that case. What happens here and the choices available depend on whether the accused has been charged with a summary offence, an indictable offence, or a dual/hybrid offence. A full discussion of these different parts of the law are beyond the scope of this article. 

Provincial Court trial, then either acquitted or sentencing. 

The length of a trial is determined by the seriousness of the charges and the complexity of the case. 

Or preliminary hearing followed by trial or discharge or Supreme Court trial. 

Supreme Court trial is followed by acquittal or sentencing.

This is actually a complex topic. More information may be found on the Provincial Court of British Columbia website: https://www.provincialcourt.bc.ca/types-of-cases/criminal-and-youth/stages-criminal-case

If you find yourself charged with a criminal offence, please hire an experienced defence lawyer as soon as possible. If you need an experienced criminal lawyer in Vancouver, call Michael Bloom at (604) 603-5513.


Michael Bloom is a very experienced criminal defence lawyer, who started his career as a Crown Prosecutor.


If you have any questions about this article or would like to schedule a free consultation with Mr. Bloom, please call his office at (604) 603-5513 or Toll-Free at (877) 603-5513.

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