Criminal Sentencing

Once either a judge or jury has found you guilty of an offence, the matter proceeds to criminal sentencing. During the sentencing process, the judge hears from the Crown prosecutor and the defence lawyer as to what the appropriate sentence should be, and why.

In assessing the positions put forward by Crown and Defence, the Judge must keep in mind all the principles of sentencing set out in the Criminal Code, as well as any minimum or maximum sentence set out in the Criminal Code for any particular offence.  A good place to start before any sentencing, therefore, is the Criminal Code.

Range of Sentence

Generally speaking, the range of sentence from most lenient to most onerous is as follows:

  1. Absolute Discharge
  2. Conditional Discharge
  3. Curative Discharge
  4. Fine Order
  5. Suspended Sentence and Probation
  6. Conditional Sentence Order (a.k.a. house arrest)
  7. Intermittent Jail Sentence (a.k.a. weekend jail)
  8. Straight Jail Time

Planning Your Criminal Sentencing

Whether pleading guilty or being found guilty after trial, there is no reason to proceed to sentencing on the same day. Unless the offence is relatively simple and the sentence you want is agreed to by the Crown prosecutor, it is quite common to adjourn the sentencing for two to three months to gather the information relevant to sentencing. There is no exhaustive list of things you should prepare, but you should advise your lawyer of whatever you think is relevant. Some of the things you should think of gathering are as follows:

  • Your employment record
  • Any volunteer and/or community involvement record
  • If in school, records of grades
  • Reference letters from employer, family, friends, etc.
  • Apology letter, if applicable
  • Record of counseling, if applicable
  • Record of repayment of damages, if applicable
  • Driving abstract, if applicable
  • Medical/mental health records

Whenever a jail sentence is a realistic possibility, it is quite common to order a “pre-sentence report” or a “forensic report”.

A pre-sentence report is a report about you, prepared by a probation officer. The main purpose of the report is to advise the court if you are a suitable candidate for community supervision. The typical procedure is to order the report, then set up an appointment with probation to interview you. You will be expected to describe your childhood, your upbringing, your education and financial history, your emotional and social adjustment, etc. The probation officer will ask you for contact information for your family and friends, as well as other supporting documents to corroborate the information you provide.

A Forensic Report is also report about you, but is one prepared by either a psychologist of psychiatrist at the hospital. The report is typically ordered when an underlying psychological or psychiatric condition is believed to affect you, and may have contributed to the offending behaviour. After the report is ordered, you will be contacted to set up an appointment for the preparation of the report.  The doctors doing the report will likely ask you much of the same information that forms part of the pre-sentence report, but you may further be expected to discuss the offence itself, as well as do some psychological tests.

The reports typically take 2 to 3 months to prepare, and that is why sentencing is usually adjourned for that length of time so the reports can be ready. It is always important to review the report in detail to make sure it is accurate, and to be able to address any concerns raised in the report.

Structuring Your Sentencing Submissions

There is no magic to presenting sentencing submissions, but there is significant skill involved. It is important to present all of the relevant information the judge may require in coming to the best sentence possible for you.  It is equally important to make sure the judge can follow the flow of your submissions.

Sometimes the simplest way of ensuring you say everything you want to say is to write it all down and read it to the court.

Client Reviews

Michael Oykhman is a very professional lawyer and the first time I spoke to him he asked about my situation and he gave me some very helpful advice and assistance and also told me his odds of winning this case. During the days I was in contact with micheal I could feel the level of professionalism of him and his team, he is able to respond back to you with any questions you have within 24 hours. In the end he was as successful in helping me win my case as he had initially promised me.If you are still struggling to find a lawyer, I highly recommend Michael Oykhman.

R.W.

Please give yourself a favour and contact Mr. Michael Oykhman if you need any legal advice or if you are in a terrible situation. Even-tough, the odds are not in your favour, still they will go extra miles to help you out in bad situation and get you favourable outcome. Moreover, They will work on your file even after the business hours. I don’t have words to say thanks to Mr. Michael oykhman and Kiran Cheema who had worked on my file and get me out of trouble. I’m very grateful for your assistance and exceptional service. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Y.

I am grateful that Ms. Moira McAvoy was my lawyer, and I remain thankful to her for everything. She made a successful resolution to my case possible. Ms. Moira McAvoy is a professional, trustworthy lawyer, and a compassionate person. She is an excellent listener and knowledgeable of the law. From the start, she was an excellent guide. I did not know anything about the legal system and court, and she outlined everything clearly in advance, so I could understand things. She never rushed me through anything. She spoke clearly, explained everything, considered what I said, and provided options and advice. She kept me up to date on new information, requirements, and deadlines. She was always positive and this helped so much.

C.S.

Ryan Patmore and his team are simply the best. I was bullied by CPS in 2020 and it landed me with three separate charges, assault, refusal to blow and DUI, which all went down as I was parked at a friends. After some research and a conversation with Michael, he directed me towards Ryan and at the time I didn’t know that would be a game changer in my favour! He is honest, transparent, helpful and a brilliant mind. He successfully appealed my license suspension with ATSB and then proceeded to get the crown to dismiss all my charges before trial. I never had to step foot inside a courtroom. If you are in need of a criminal defence lawyer, don’t think twice, get in touch with this firm and ask for Ryan Patmore! The guy is an absolute saviour.

A.P.

Joseph Beller, from the very beginning when I first contacted and then retained Joseph as my representative I felt I was in good hands. When I emailed him with a question. I got a prompt response. We communicated often on the phone as needed. Joseph kept me informed as to the process. He made sure I knew all the potential results so I knew and could plan for the different outcomes. I know this his his job. But appreciate his professionalism and also his ability to not make me feel any extra stress. Well done.

N.B.
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