How Does Sentencing Work in Edmonton Criminal Law Proceedings?

How Does Sentencing Work in Edmonton Criminal Law Proceedings?

Whether you plead guilty or were convicted of a crime, there are many factors a court may consider when deciding on an appropriate sentence. As laid out in The Criminal Code of Canada, the purposes of sentencing are as follows:

  • To deter offenders and others from committing crimes;
  • To denounce unlawful conduct;
  • To separate offenders;
  • To provide reparations for harm done to the community and victims;
  • To promote rehabilitation of offenders;
  • And to promote a sense of responsibility.

If you or a loved one is facing a criminal charge and would like to discuss the particulars of the case, contact our criminal lawyers at Verhaeghe Law Office today to schedule a consultation.

Mitigating and Aggravating Factors

 In Edmonton, a court can take both aggravating and mitigating factors into account when deciding on a sentence. Aggravating factors often warrant a more serious sentence. They are normally designated based on the gravity of the offence, the victim’s impact statement, the attitude of the accused, whether the accused has a previous criminal record, and more.

In contrast, mitigating factors can lead to a reduced sentence. They might be determined based on an accused person’s expressed remorse or participation in rehabilitation programs or counselling sessions.

The Criminal Code states that a sentence should be increased or reduced to account for any aggravating or mitigating circumstances that relate to the offence or offender.

If you would like to learn more about how a court may determine your sentence, you may want to consider speaking with an Edmonton criminal lawyer.

Absolute and Conditional Discharges

If you are convicted of a crime, you will have a criminal record that can remain with you for the rest of your life. However, if a court bestows a discharge, then the record related to the arrest or conviction will not be permanent. Courts can offer a discharge instead of a conviction even when there is a finding of guilt. Only certain offences are eligible for a discharge, most of which are relatively minor.

A conditional discharge is granted with the requirement of a period of probation. Once completed, any record of a conditional discharge will be removed from your criminal record. An absolute discharge does not involve a term of probation and tends to be more rare.

Other Types of Sentences

Unlike a discharge, a suspended sentence will result in a permanent entry on your criminal record. Suspended sentences allow a convicted person to be released from custody for a certain amount of time, but under the supervision of a probation officer. Any violations that occur during this time may result in additional charges.

A conditional sentence order (CSO) is a custodial sentence that may be used instead of incarceration. Often taking the form of “house arrest”, it can be combined with a variety of conditions and is only available if the alternative is a prison sentence of fewer than two years. Fines may also be imposed as part of sentencing. No matter your situation, it is important to understand your rights when facing a criminal charge in Edmonton.

If a given prison sentence is under two years, it will likely be served in a provincial correctional facility. For longer sentences, a person will likely serve in a federal penitentiary.

Contact Our Criminal Lawyers Today

Fighting a criminal charge can be costly, emotional, and extremely complex. You may want to review the sentencing outcomes of your case with a criminal lawyer to best prepare for every situation. To schedule a consultation and speak to a criminal lawyer, contact us today.

** Please note, this article is intended as a general overview on the subject of criminal law, and is not intended to be legal advice. If you are seeking legal advice, please consult with an Alberta criminal lawyer.

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