Indictable and Summary conviction offences are Canada’s two basic criminal offences. The severity of summary offences is lower than indictable offences. A judge hears summary conviction proceedings in provincial court. When the judge requests the accused person to appear in court, a lawyer or agency may represent that person.
The Parliament of Canada enacted the summary conviction offence (SCO) act to address cases involving severe offences that do not include an indictable offence. Crimes covered under the SCO are those for which a person can be sentenced to at least six months but less than two years imprisonment and does not require a trial. Instead, the court will determine whether to impose a fine or sentence with a combination of fines and penalties.
What should I do if I am charged with a summary conviction offence?
If you have been charged under the Summary Convictions Act, you must seek legal advice immediately to protect your rights. If convicted, you could face time behind bars depending on the severity of the crime and if you have any previous convictions. You should also know that this law has certain expectations where a person can receive a criminal record even without being found guilty. For example, if you plead guilty to a charge under SCO, you would still need to get a criminal record check before applying for a job or renting a property.
What is Record Suspension?
When a person has served their sentence after being found guilty of a crime, their criminal record can be deleted from the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) database through record suspension or pardon. It simply means that there won’t be any criminal records discovered when someone searches for that person’s criminal history in the CPIC database.
Do I qualify for a record suspension?
Canada is known worldwide for its strict laws and strict penalties. Therefore, it is no surprise that many want to avoid a criminal record at all costs. Faced with a criminal charge, some people plead guilty to reduce their sentence, while others fight the charge in court. However, one way to avoid having a criminal record is through a Record Suspension process. This term refers to sealing your criminal records after meeting certain conditions, such as completing probation and paying your fines. Once you have completed your probationary period and paid off your debt, you can apply for a Pardon.
You must wait 3-5 years after completion of all sentencing if you were found guilty of a summary conviction offence before being eligible for a record suspension. The Parole Board of Canada will examine your application to determine whether you have been in good conduct since serving your sentence. Record suspensions will be granted to applicants who can demonstrate that they would profit from getting one and wouldn’t commit any other crimes. When deciding whether to issue a record suspension, the Board will consider the nature, circumstances, and severity of the committed offence.
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