The following are potential sentences for a person found guilty of criminal offence:
What is an Absolute Discharge?
- An absolute discharge is the most lenient adult sentence that someone can receive.
- A finding of guilt is made but no conviction is registered, as well the individual is not given any conditions to follow.
- Their criminal charges are resolved, as they are not bond by any probation order or other conditions.
- However, an absolute discharge will stay on an individual’s criminal record for one year after the date they received the sentence, before it is removed form their record.
What is a Conditional Discharge?
- A conditional discharge is the second most lenient sentence an individual found guilty of a criminal offence can receive.
- A finding of guilt is made, but no conviction is registered.
- It is more severe than an absolute discharge as the individual is bond by conditions in the form of a probation order that that they must follow after sentencing for a period of time of one to three years.
- A conditional discharge will appear on a person’s criminal record for three years after the completion of the probation order before it is automatically removed.
What is a Suspended Sentence?
- A suspended sentence is the third most lenient sentence a person found guilty of a criminal offence can receive.
- If given a suspended sentence the person will not be incarcerated, they will be bond by a probation conditions for a period of one to three years.
- If someone receives a suspended sentence they will have a finding of guilt registered on their criminal record.
- The finding of guilt may eventually be removed from their record by way of a pardon.
What is Probation?
- Probation is a court order that bonds someone by conditions that they must abide by for the length of the order.
- If someone receives a conditional discharge or a suspended sentence they will be ordered to follow a probation order for period of time.
- A probation order can also be combined with a fine, a conditional sentence, intermittent imprisonment, or imprisonment.
- The maximum length of a probation order is three years.
Every probation order will have the following conditions:
- Keep the peace and be of good behaviour;
- Appear in court when ordered by the court;
- Inform the court or probation officer about any change of name, address or job.
Additional conditions sometimes included as part of a probation order are:
- report to a probation officer
- not buy, carry, or drink alcohol;
- not have or use drugs that aren’t prescribed by a doctor;
- not have or carry any weapons;
- perform community service;
- stay away from a certain person or persons;
- stay away from certain locations;
- not to communicate with certain person or persons;
- pay restitution to a complainant
- go to counselling or rehabilitation.
- Violating a probation order can result in a further criminal charge.
What is a Fine?
- A fine is an amount of money that an individual is ordered to pay to the court.
- If an offender is given a fine at sentencing, they will have a conviction registered against them on their criminal record.
- A fine can be given place of, or in addition to, imprisonment, a conditional sentence, or an intermittent sentence.
- A fine cannot be given on top of an absolute discharge, a conditional discharge, or a suspended sentence.
- Certain criminal offences have minimum fines.
What is a Custodial Sentence?
- A custodial sentence is a length of time a person will spend incarcerated.
- Following sentencing the individual is taken to jail and a conviction is registered against them.
- They will have a criminal record unless they receive a pardon for their offence.
- If sentenced to less than two-year sentence the person will serve their sentence at a provincial institution.
- If they are sentenced to two years or more the individual will serve their sentence at a federal penitentiary.
What is an Intermittent Sentence?
- An intermittent sentence is a custodial sentence that someone serves in smaller segments of time rather than serving it all at once.
- It is common that someone will serve an intermittent sentence on the weekends, allowing him or her to maintain their employment and other responsibilities.
- When someone who is serving an intermittent sentence is not in jail, they are bond by a probation order.
- A person can only be allowed to serve their sentence intermittently if they receive a sentence of 90 days or less.
What is a Conditional Sentence?
- A conditional sentence is an imprisonment sentence that the person serves outside of a correctional facility, usually in their home, bond by strict conditions similar to in-custody conditions.
- The individual is usually required to stay in their home at all times, with few exceptions
- A probation officer monitors them as the are required to check in with their probation officer at least once.
- A person will have a conviction registered on their record, unless they receive a pardon.
A judge can only impose a conditional sentence if:
- The sentence of imprisonment is less than two years;
- The individual has not been convicted of a criminal offence that requires a mandatory minimum custodial sentence;
- They has not been convicted of a serious personal injury offence, a terrorism offence, or a criminal organization offence prosecuted by way of indictment for which the maximum term of imprisonment is ten years or more;
- The judge is satisfied that they would not threaten the safety of the community.
Your Toronto Criminal Defence Lawyers, Kostman and Pyzer, Barristers can defend your criminal charges and negotiate a better sentence for you.