Election and Plea Lawyers Calgary

What is an Election?

Election refers to the ability of the Crown and/or the accused to choose which court will have jurisdiction over a criminal charge. Moreover, in certain cases the accused must decide whether to have the case heard by a jury or by a judge alone.

This page provides location-specific information on the election and plea process in Calgary. For a broad overview of how elections and plea bargains work in Canada, please see the general Election and Plea FAQ.

Offence Classification

Criminal offences are classified into three categories—summary, indictable, and hybrid. Summary offences are typically considered less serious and carry comparatively lower penalties. Conversely, indictable offences are more serious and carry higher maximum penalties. Hybrid offences allow the Crown the discretion to elect to try the offence either by way of indictment or summary conviction.

For more information on offence classification and its impact on Crown and defence election, please see the general Election and Plea FAQ 

Crown election 

In the case of a hybrid offence, the Crown must make an election. If they elect to proceed via summary conviction, the matter will be heard before a judge at the Alberta provincial courthouse nearest you. If they proceed by way of indictment, the accused (defence) also must make an election.

Accused election

When the Crown proceeds by indictment, the defence must choose whether the matter will be heard before the Provincial Court of Alberta or whether it will be heard before the superior court (the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench in Calgary).

Where the defence elects to have their trial heard before the superior court, they will also have the right to choose whether they would like the trial to be heard before a judge and a jury, or a judge alone.

Exceptions to the general election rule

For more information on defence election and to see exceptions to the general election rule, please see the general Election and Plea FAQ.

What is a Plea?

If an election is available (even if you intend to plead guilty), you must elect to be tried by the court before which you intend to enter the plea. Pleading guilty is a formal admission of guilt to the offence charged. In other words, you are consenting to a guilty verdict and waiving the trial process.

What’s Next?

For more information on elections, pleas, and the overall criminal trial process, please see the below FAQs. As elections and pleas are highly context-specific, please contact one of our experienced criminal lawyers to discuss your case.

Criminal Trial FAQs

  1. What does making an “election” mean?
  2. I have already pleaded guilty or not guilty. Can I change my plea?
  3. How does a criminal trial work in Canada?
  4. See more

Client Reviews

Michael Oykhman is a very professional lawyer and the first time I spoke to him he asked about my situation and he gave me some very helpful advice and assistance and also told me his odds of winning this case. During the days I was in contact with micheal I could feel the level of professionalism of him and his team, he is able to respond back to you with any questions you have within 24 hours. In the end he was as successful in helping me win my case as he had initially promised me.If you are still struggling to find a lawyer, I highly recommend Michael Oykhman.


Please give yourself a favour and contact Mr. Michael Oykhman if you need any legal advice or if you are in a terrible situation. Even-tough, the odds are not in your favour, still they will go extra miles to help you out in bad situation and get you favourable outcome. Moreover, They will work on your file even after the business hours. I don’t have words to say thanks to Mr. Michael oykhman and Kiran Cheema who had worked on my file and get me out of trouble. I’m very grateful for your assistance and exceptional service. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Laura Bobyn my lawyer was amazing and so supportive of my case and me. She fought with Tenacity to get my victory. It was amazing to hear how knowledgeable and how her attention to every little detail of my case was shown in her defence! She is the best and I would recommend her to anyone of my colleagues or people in my life! Thank you, Laura!

This law firm is your go-to!

I had the pleasure of working and trusting my case with Joseph Beller. I had 2 counts against me, and in the end, Joseph was able to present and use his “fighter skills” in court to have my charges lowered to a conditional discharge. On top of this, this firm follows its mission values statement by being ethical, transparent, available, and very friendly. Joseph and his team treated me with the utmost respect from start to finish. Thank you again, Joseph! I hope to never call you again 😊


Joseph Beller, from the very beginning when I first contacted and then retained Joseph as my representative I felt I was in good hands. When I emailed him with a question. I got a prompt response. We communicated often on the phone as needed. Joseph kept me informed as to the process. He made sure I knew all the potential results so I knew and could plan for the different outcomes. I know this his his job. But appreciate his professionalism and also his ability to not make me feel any extra stress. Well done.