According to criminal lawyers Toronto, conditional sentencing allows a convicted person to serve his or her sentence in the community, rather than in a correctional center. It may include house arrest or restrictions including residence requirements to make it possible for the person under conditional sentencing to attend school or work where necessary.
The conditional sentencing is governed by the provisions stipulated in sections 742 to 742.7 of the Canadian criminal code. The article highlights five main criteria that must be adhered to before the judge can consider conditional sentencing to anyone. These are essential guidelines for both judges and criminal lawyers Toronto:
- The offense committed by the convicted person ought not to be a severe personal injury offense such as a terrorism offense or a criminal organization offense.
- The offense for which the person is being convicted must be punishable by at most maximum term of imprisonment.
- The judge taking the case must determine in prior that the offense is subject to a term of imprisonment more than two years.
- The judge giving the sentence must be convinced that the convicted person will not be a danger to the people living in that community
- The sentencing judge should also be convinced without the reasonable doubt that the conditional sentence would be in line with the main reason and principals of sentencing as set out in the criminal code.
However, subject to this, in November 2012 the criminal act was amended to restrict the use of conditional sentencing for some types of criminal offenses. These criminal offenses include:
- Crimes Which Attract A Maximum Of 14 Years or Life Imprisonment According to The Law.Such offenses include but not limited to arson, manslaughter, aggravated assault and fraud over $5,000.
- Offenses Which Are Prosecuted by Indictment and Which Attracts A Maximum Sentence Of 10 Years That:
- Result in body injury
- Include export or import, production or trafficking of drugs.
- Involve use of a weapon.
- The Following Crimes When Indicted by Indictment:
- An abduction of persons under fourteen years
- Prison breach
- Theft over $5,000
- Sexual assault
- Criminal harassment
However, one concern by the criminal lawyers Toronto is that removing the conditional sentencing will result to increased plea as the judged persons attemptto avoid to be found guilty of the crime that does not have conditional sentencing.
Other issues by the criminal lawyers Toronto and those in the judicial system is increased racial differences in the population of the prisoners, increased cost to the justice system as motivations to plead guilty are removed.
According to criminal lawyers Toronto, the changes might not work well because the reason why conditional sentencing was introduced was to lower reliance on incarceration and to boost the principle of restorative justice in sentencing.
These amendments to the Canadian criminal code shows that our unending appetite to brand our self as ‘tough’ on crimes offset these commendable ideologies.