News and Sports

April, 2021

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Understanding Plea Bargain And Whether It Is The Best Decision

Whenever a defendant enters into a negotiated plea, the judge makes sure that he is aware of the rights that he will be giving up. In the federal court, the defendant who wants to plead guilty must testify under oath to the facts that established his guilt. It is common for a judge to ask the defendant a long list of questions to determine whether he understands the plea.

For the most part, defendants usually follow their lawyer’s instructions. To avoid disrupting the plea-bargain, the defendant answers “yes” to all the questions. The judge will accept the plea once he is satisfied with the defendant’s answers. However, there are also instances when the judge consults with the crime victim or the probation officer to prepare the pre-sentence report. The judge also needs to listen to the prosecutor’s arguments including that of the defence before making the sentencing decision.

For a knowing and intelligent plea of guilt, the defendant has to:

  • Admit that his conduct is punishable by law,
  • Admit and understand the charges made against him,
  • Understand the consequences of the plea and
  • Understand the rights he is waiving by pleading guilty.

Knowing the consequences of the plea means that the defendant understands the sentence as it stands and the possible sentence if the case goes through trial. The rights that are being waived when the defendant pleads guilty include the right to counsel if unrepresented, the right to a trial by jury, the right not to incriminate himself and the right to confront and cross-examine the accusers.

In some courts, the defendant may be required to fill up and sign some forms indicating that he is waiving his rights. If the defendant is not an American citizen, he must be aware that he is facing the risks of deportation once convicted of the crime.

It is very important for a defendant to have legal representation through Donich Law during plea bargaining. An experienced criminal defence lawyer will complete a reasonable plea bargain for his client in order to decrease possible sentencing. The lawyer can negotiate the best possible plea bargain to protect his client.

Trucking Association Questions Border COVID-19 Requirements In Canada

Canada trucking associations are calling out the federal government plans’ to require that border-crossing truckers submit their information and travel information via the new ArriveCAN app, as well as the proposals that would require drivers to submit recent coronavirus test results.

The Canadian federal government mandated that non-essential travellers going into the country submit proof of a negative COVID-19 test, no older than 72 hours at the time of crossing, but the truckers of logistic companies like Titan Transline are counted as essential workers and, as such, are exempt from such requirements, only requiring a series of questions.

Public Safety Minister Bill Blair noted that the government is exploring whether or not truck drivers should be included in testing requirements, which has resulted in the discussion flaring up again.

Blair stated that they’re working with the Public Health Agency of Canada and health authorities in the provinces, considering the implementation of a system for regularly testing essential workers and truck drivers that move across the land order in order to keep them safe and ensure they’re not infected.

The Canadian Trucking Alliance released a statement on the matter, saying that COVID-19 spread amongst truckers have been minimal and noted that long-haul and cross-border trucking is, by its nature, self-isolating with limited contact with people.

They’ve gone on record to say that they’re not supporting any mandatory COVID testing of truckers at the border, noting that a lot of border openings aren’t really equipped to deal with such a system, or be able to turn a trucker around because of a lack of a negative test.

The CTA warns that this mandate could lead to massive congestion at Canada’s border crossings, which can lead to drivers running out of hours.

The trucking association, instead, is asking the federal government to consider voluntary testing sites at truck stops and rest areas that truckers go through regularly anyway, rather than risk them causing problems at the border crossings themselves.

Additionally, the CTA and the Private Motor Truck Council of Canada have raised concerns regarding the proposal to require all travellers to submit medical and travel information and a quarantine plan via the ArriveCAN app.