What Are The Possible “Punishments” I Will Face if I am Convicted?

Getting Your Case Dropped

Firstly, as an experienced lawyer my first job is to determine whether there is any chance of having your charges dropped. There are many ways to achieve this and once I have your “particulars” (the police report etc.), I will review your case with you to determine what they these ways might be. Most importantly, I will do my utmost to have your case dropped. If your charges cannot be dropped, then what are the alternatives?

Alternative Measures

If I cannot have your case “dropped” then I will determine if “Alternative Measures Program” (“AM”) is appropriate for your case and ask the Crown to consider it. The Crown will often send a case for AM if the offence is less serious and the candidate has little to no criminal history. You must accept responsibility for the offence (although you never plead guilty in court – only informally to a probation officer) and perform some payback to the community such as community work service. You must enter into an Alternative Measures Agreement, and abide by specific terms and conditions to complete your program satisfactorily. Upon completion of the required community work service, for example, your charges are dropped and you are removed entirely from the legal system with no criminal record. Obviously, this outcome is ideal and should be explored in suitable cases.

Possible Sentences You May Face If Convicted

1. Absolute and Conditional Discharge

An absolute discharge means that you will be viewed as not having a conviction, whereas a conditional discharge means the offender must follow certain guidelines for a period of “probation” (such as counselling as directed).

Upon successful completion of the probation, you will be given an absolute discharge. Hence for both absolute and conditional discharge, you are found guilty but not convicted – the conviction is “discharged” meaning you have no criminal record.

This is an excellent outcome as well. If your case is suitable for a discharge I would “pitch” to the Crown that they should consider a “joint submission” for a discharge at sentencing (a joint submission is where the Crown and Defence lawyers make the same submission for your sentence). If a judge agrees then your case would end in a discharge which is highly favourable to you.

2. Suspended Sentence and Probation

Here, you are convicted of the offence, but the imposition of a real jail sentence is “suspended” pending successful completion of a period of probation. A court order is made for a probation (up to 3 years) which contains conditions of probation to control an accused’s behaviour in the community (for example, in an assault case you may have to comply with a “no contact” order with the complainant for a period of one year).

3. Fine

Here you may have to pay a specific amount of money within a specified time or face jail. Like a suspended sentence, this sentencing option will result in a criminal record. Hence, I will do all I can to avoid this outcome.

4. Intermittent Sentence

If a judge orders a jail sentence in your case that is less than 90 days then the judge can order that it be served as an intermittent sentence. In other words, the sentence would be served on weekends (usually). Hence, if you must serve a term of imprisonment, then I would ask a judge to make it an intermittent sentence so that you maintain your work and life in the community.

5. Conditional Sentence

If a judge orders a jail sentence of 2 years or less, then the judge can order a conditional sentence which allows you to serve the jail sentence at your own residence in what usually amounts to a house arrest. Hence, if you must serve a term of imprisonment, then I would ask a judge to make it a conditional sentence to allow you to spend the sentence in the community.

6. Imprisonment

Imprisonment is the most radical and usually uncommon method of sentencing practices used by judges. In this case, you are sentenced to a period of incarceration. The two year rule applies here – Any offender sentenced to 2 years or more is sent to a Federal prison while offenders receiving less than 2 years go to Provincial prison.

It is important to note that most offenders are not sent to prison – they get probation. Noah Neaman is a seasoned lawyer with the know how to ensure that there is a minimal chance you must serve a custodial sentence.

If you are charged with an offence and you would like to know what the possible outcomes may, then call Noah Neaman at 778-881-1785 or visit his website at www.neaman.com for a free consultation.


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