Criminal law


Assistance in obtaining legal representation or advice may be available to you through Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) if you are facing criminal charges.

  • Duty Counsel may be able to provide the following services:
    • advice about your legal rights, legal obligations and the court process
    • assistance in the courtroom for bail hearings and sentencing
    • assistance with diversion, guilty pleas and adjournments
    • help determining if you need their services or if your matter requires LAO's assistance in retaining a lawyer
  • Duty Counsel cannot assist with criminal trials.
  • If it is likely that you will go to jail as a result of the criminal charges against you, you may be able to get LAO assistance by getting a Legal Aid Certificate.
  • You may face jail time depending on many factors, including how serious the charge is, how many charges are against you and if you have a previous criminal record.
  • You may apply for LAO assistance remotely if you or someone you know is already detained in jail or a psychiatric facility.
  • To qualify for LAO assistance, your legal matter must be one that legal aid covers and you must also be financially eligible.
  • If you are a young person charged under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, you may be able to get LAO assistance if your parents or guardian meet financial eligibility requirements.
  • In some cases, you may be required to repay LAO some or all of your legal fees.
  • If you have a court date coming up but don't have a lawyer yet, Duty Counsel may be able to help you.
  • If you do not qualify for a Legal Aid Certificate, assistance may also be available from a law student at a legal clinic run by a Student Legal Aid Services Society (SLASS).

Learn more

  1. Decide if your legal problem relates to getting help with a criminal law matter.
  2. Read Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to learn more about getting help with a criminal matter.
  3. Follow the Steps for instructions on how to get help with a criminal matter.
  4. Review the Resources to find new and in-depth legal information about getting help with criminal law issues.
  5. See the Links for news and other helpful websites.

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DisclaimerLast updated 07/30/2009