If you plead guilty or have been found guilty the matter moves to sentencing. Both the Crown Prosecutor and Defence or if not represented by a lawyer, the Accused, advises the Judge what factors to consider. This can include many factors, however, the most common are as follows:
a. If you have a prior record or, if you have a record of similar offences;
b. Your personal situation (age, work, family, school);
c. The nature of the charges.
Sentencing reports can bring important information to the Courts attention. This information comes in the form of a Pre-Sentence Report, also known as a “PSR”; a Gladue Report (Indigenous Offenders only), and a Forensic Assessment, also known as a “FAOS Report”.
Types of Sentences
The possible sentences the Judge could give include:
Absolute Discharge – You don’t receive any fine or sentence, and there is no criminal record.
Conditional Discharge – You are placed on probation for a certain length of time, during which you have to follow certain conditions.
These could include:
i. paying restitution;
ii. working community service hours;
iii. having no contact with certain people; and
iv. attending specific programs.
After the probation period is over and you have met all of the terms and conditions, the discharge becomes complete, which means that you will have no criminal record of those specific charges.
This often includes a condition that you report to a Probation Officer immediately and then again afterwards as often as the officer tells you. Some other terms and conditions may include:
i. an alcohol or drug assessment and/or treatment;
ii. taking programs for anger management or domestic violence;
iii. not using alcohol or drugs;
iv. not contacting certain people or being at certain places; and
v. any other conditions that are appropriate to the crime and your situation.
If you are given a fine, you will be given time in which to pay it. If it is not paid within that time, you could end up in custody or have certain services limited until the fine is paid. You can pay the fine or you might be able to register to do community service instead under the Fine Option Program. This can be paid at any courthouse in Alberta or local Registry Agent.
This is where the Judge doesn’t pass a sentence right away, but places you on probation, usually with a number of conditions, as mentioned above. If you don’t follow the conditions, you may end up back in court and receive a different, tougher sentence.
In certain circumstances this is where you serve your time in custody within the community. If you do not follow the conditions the Judge orders, you may end up serving your time in custody.
This is where you serve a period of time in a Provincial Correctional Centre or a Federal Penitentiary. When you are sentenced, the Judge may add a surcharge or fee that goes toward helping victims of crime also known as a “Victim Fine Surcharge”.
If you or the Crown Prosecutor disagree with the Judge’s decision either party may appeal the decision. Either party must appeal in writing the decision within 30 days of the Judge’s decision or it is very difficult to get permission to appeal. You have the right to appeal within 30 days of the passing of a sentence.
*The foregoing information is for general educational purposes and is not meant to be used as advice with respect to the conduct of any case or proceeding against an individual. Please contact our office to discuss your case, and at that time, we can offer you the best legal advice for your specific situation.