What You Must Know About Sentencing When Dealing With a Criminal Charge

The sentencing process occurs after a defendant has been found guilty or has pled guilty to a criminal offence. This process involves a hearing where the judge will consider:

  • Evidence presented by both the prosecution and the defence,
  • The facts of the case,
  • Offender's criminal history,
  • Any mitigating or aggravating factors that may be present.

Types of Criminal Offences and Sentencing

Criminal offences are classified as either summary offences, indictable offences, or hybrid offences. 

  • Summary offences: Less serious offences that are generally punishable by a fine, community service, or a short-term prison sentence. 
  • Indictable offences: More serious offences that are generally punishable by a longer prison sentence.
  • Hybrid offences: Offences that can be classified as either summary or indictable offences. depending on the circumstances of the case.

Sentencing Options

The severity of the offence, offender’s criminal history, and any mitigating or aggravating factors determine the sentencing options available. The sentencing options available in Canada include fines, probation, community service, conditional sentences, and custodial sentences.

Appeal Process

The offender has the option to appeal the decision if they are dissatisfied with the sentence that has been imposed. An appeal is a request to a higher court to review the decision of a lower court. The grounds by which an offender may appeal a sentence include errors in law or fact, or an excessive sentence length.

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