Conditional Sentence Order (CSO)
A Conditional Sentence Order is a Jail Sentence – but it is a Jail Sentence that the judge allows to be served in the community. There are several pre-conditions to receiving such a sentence:
- There must be no minimum sentence;
- The appropriate sentence for the offence must not be two years or more;
- The offence must not be one specifically disqualified from receiving a CSO in the Criminal Code;
- The offence must not be one classified as a “serious personal injury offence”; and
- There must not be a danger of re-offending if a CSO is imposed
A Conditional Sentence is a sentence of last hope before a significant actual jail is imposed. The maximum time that can be imposed under a CSO is 24 months. However, the conditions are much more onerous that those imposed pursuant to a suspended sentence. You can expect to be on 24h house arrest. That means you will be required to stay in your home at all times, with some exceptions. The typical exceptions are work, school, religious services, medical and professional appointments, reporting to probation, and shopping for necessities.
Perhaps the most significant difference between a Probation Order and a CSO is that if you breach a CSO, the judge will first and foremost consider sending you to actual jail for the remainder of term of the CSO. For example, if you receive a two year CSO, and breach your conditions 6 months into the Order, once the breach is proven, the judge can immediately send you to jail for the remaining 18 months left to serve on the Order. The judge reviewing the breach has a range of other available options, so it’s important to review each of them to see if any other alternative will suffice.
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