Public Mischief Charge - Calgary Lawyers

Public Mischief Offences in Calgary

In general terms, “public mischief” is causing the law enforcement to embark on an investigation by knowingly providing false information.

There are 4 public mischief offences recognized by the Criminal Code:

  • Making a false statement in which you accuse another person of committing a crime
  • Doing anything with the intent that someone else will be wrongly suspected of having committed a crime, or intended to divert suspicion from yourself
  • Falsely claiming that a crime has been committed
  • Falsely reporting your own death or someone else’s death

Before you can be convicted of any of the above offences, it must also be shown that

  1. You did the act with the intent to mislead
  2. Your act caused a peace officer to enter on, or continue, an investigation

Law enforcement resources are considered a scarce and precious resource in Canadian society, and this offence aims to punish those who would abuse it for their own illegitimate motives.

This offence is also intended to deter people from making false complaints against innocent people as leverage in other proceedings. One example would be that of a divorcing couple, in which one partner falsely accuses the other of sexual assault or child abuse on hopes of gaining leverage in divorce or family court proceedings.

Bail Conditions for Public Mischief

This charge is an allegation that you are willing and capable of lying to those responsible for the administration of justice. This means the police, prosecutor, or judge may be reluctant to believe anything you have to say when it comes to securing your release while your case proceeds through the system.

Defending Public Mischief Charge

This charge is complex, and requires the prosecution to prove many different pieces before you can be convicted. We conduct a thorough review of all the evidence the police have against you, and, together with you, may focus our analysis on any of these potential defences:

  • Can the prosecution prove that you made the statement?
  • Did you believe the statement was true at the time?
  • Did the statement actually cause a peace officer to start or continue an investigation?
  • Did you actually intend to mislead a peace officer by making the statement?

The Sentence

Public mischief is punishable by up to five years incarceration. We will make a through, persuasive and honest presentation to the Judge in your case to ensure that any sentence you receive is no harsher than what is absolutely necessary.

Based on the facts of your case and your personal circumstances, we may be able to negotiate a plea bargain to a non-criminal charge, or convince the prosecutor to let you enter into a diversion program that would ultimately see the charge withdrawn.

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