*2023 Results: Approx. 99% of Mark Zinck's clients avoided a criminal record (conviction) for charges of theft, fraud, assault, mischief and threats.

Do you need a lawyer for a criminal remote/virtual Zoom court appearance in Ontario, Canada?

If you have been given an Undertaking (Form 10) or Appearance Notice (Form 9) by the police with a remote/virtual court date via Zoom, you should retain a lawyer immediately.

In the wake of the 2020 pandemic, the Ontario Court of Justice switched to using Zoom for most criminal court appearance types including:
  1. First appearances,
  2. Subsequent “set date” court appearances,
  3. Most guilty pleas, peace bonds, and other case resolutions.
You need a lawyer as much for a remote Zoom court appearance as you would have prior to the virtual court appearance system being implemented in 2020. While anyone has the option of representing themselves, this is often not in the best interests of the accused particularly if they are a first time offender who does not have a criminal record. If you have been given a Zoom criminal court date, you should hire a lawyer to represent you as soon as possible if you have the ability to do so.

The only thing that changed with the Zoom virtual court system was that court appearances are now conducted remotely instead of in person. The accused is still facing the exact same potential consequences as they were before the Zoom court system was implemented. This includes a criminal record, restrictive no-contact release conditions, and problems with IRCC/immigration and U.S. travel.

Just because your first appearance is being conducted online does not change anything regarding the potential punishments and consequences for the accused if the case is not handled correctly.

If you have a Zoom court appearance date for a criminal case in Ontario, it is in your best interest to hire a lawyer to start working on your case immediately (ideally before your 1st court date).

The longer an accused is self represented, the greater the likelihood that they may find themselves in an unfavourable irreversible position which could have been avoided with proper legal representation from the start. The most immediate benefits for most accused in hiring a lawyer for Zoom court as soon as possible are:
  1. Having a lawyer manage, coordinate and time the Crown pre-trial in a manner that increases the likelihood of the Crown taking a beneficial defence position on accused's case;
  2. Putting the case on the right track from the start to get the best possible outcome in the shortest amount of time;
  3. Demonstrating to the Crown that you take the case against you seriously and will not accept any outcome offered that may not be in your best interest;
  4. In domestic cases or other matters where there are no-contact/communication or non-attendance release conditions in place, the accused may want to try to get these conditions varied to allow for contact with their spouse or partner again as soon as possible;
  5. Not having to personally attend court appearances which are open and accessible to the public.
If you have a Zoom court appearance date for a criminal charge you absolutely should have a lawyer appear for you and represent you just as you would if the case was being held in person. This applies to all first appearance dates in Ontario where the accused is not in custody as they are currently all done via Zoom.

Whether you are charged with a DUI, theft under $5000, shoplifting, mischief, assault, uttering threats or any other criminal offence, it is always in your best interest that you hire a criminal lawyer to start working on the case prior to the first virtual Zoom court appearance date.

The ultimate goal is to get the best possible result for your case. Those who wait to hire a lawyer may eventually find themselves behind the eight ball with regards to potential Crown positions in their favour particularly if they conduct the Crown pre-trial (CPT) themselves without a lawyer. Depending on your charges and case background you may be able to take advantage of certain time limited offers that are in your best interest. If you wait too long, such options may eventually become permanently unavailable.

Cases that drag on because the accused is self represented may also result in harsher sentences for the accused because early resolutions are considered a mitigating factor by the courts.

Some accused end up getting a criminal record and/or going to jail who could have potentially avoided such a fate had they had a lawyer to negotiate a good deal and resolve their matter from the beginning. By waiting and attempting to navigate the initial stages of the process themselves they end up shooting themselves in the foot.

It may be tempting to write a court date off as “no big deal” since it is being conducted virtually online. If it is in relation to a criminal charge it is always a very serious matter. While the Zoom appearance process is much more convenient for the vast majority of accused persons, nothing has changed from pre-2020 in terms of potential punishments and consequences.

Do not confuse the ease of appearing for court remotely via Zoom with the seriousness of criminal charges.

Just because a court appearance is conducted virtually via Zoom does not make the offence any less serious. Even murder charges are adjourned via video in Ontario. What happens with the charges will affect you for the rest of your life.

While many people who are criminally charged already have criminal records, are unemployable, and seemingly have nothing left to lose, this is not the case for everybody. If you have received an Undertaking or Appearance Notice you are being criminally charged and the outcome of the case will impact you for the rest of your life, including:
  1. Jail and/or probation
  2. A criminal record that shows up on employment and volunteering background checks
  3. Application and status issues with professional regulatory bodies (ie. nursing (CNO), engineering (PEO), etc.)
  4. Creating problems with IRCC/immigration applications
  5. Preventing you from travelling to the USA and other countries
  6. Potential deportation and problems with IRCC/immigration status and applications
If you have received an Undertaking, Appearance Notice, or Release Order from the police or courts with a remote virtual Zoom court appearance date you are being criminally charged and should consult with and hire a criminal lawyer to start working on your case as soon as possible.

   Call us today.

You don't have to jeopardize your future or waste thousands of dollars on excessive legal fees. We provide effective and affordable lawyer representation for those charged with criminal offences throughout Ontario, Canada.

Have a skilled criminal lawyer who focuses on criminal law protect you and your future from the stigma and consequences of a criminal record and conviction.

    call now: 647-228-5969


Your case will be defended by a fully licensed Practicing Lawyer of the Law Society of Ontario. For more information about our lawyer, click here.

We provide our clients with:
  • Flat fee pricing
  • 99%+ non-conviction success rate
  • U.S. travel advice and information
  • Help with related immigration/IRCC issues
  • Employment background check advice/services
  • Fingerprints and records destruction services
  • Clear goals of getting charges dropped and bail conditions varied without a trial
  • Vulnerable Sector records suppression help
  • Experienced, focused counsel

* Please note:

If you are not a paying client, we cannot answer questions and provide assistance about avoiding jail and/or a criminal record, employment background checks, IRCC/immigration applications and status, or travel to the U.S. in the future. This includes those who have already retained other counsel and those whose cases have already been completed.

We only can respond to calls and emails relating to current Ontario criminal cases. Please see our FAQ for a listing of the courthouses we service.

Are you a lawyer? If you are defending a criminal case and are looking for expert advice regarding possible defences, case strategies, and information release management call us at: 647-228-5969.

Please note: We do not accept legal aid certificate cases. All clients are handled on a private retainer only.

*2023 Results: the percentage of 99% of clients avoiding a criminal record (conviction) stated on this page is based solely on Lawyer Mark Zinck's personal representation of approximately 2000 criminal defence case clients as of the year 2023. Past results are not necessarily an indication of future results.


Your questions and concerns are extremely important to me.


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   Criminal Information:

   We provide:
  • Flat fee pricing
  • 99%+ non-conviction success rate
  • U.S. travel advice and information
  • Help with related immigration/IRCC issues
  • Employment background check advice and services
  • Fingerprints and records destruction services
  • A clear goal of getting the charges dropped without a trial
  • Vulnerable Sector records suppression help
  • Timely resolutions
  • Lawyer/client privilege
  • Experienced, focused counsel