Toronto ON Canada Criminal Minimum Sentence Lawyer Video

 [GRAPHIC: Neuberger Rose LLP, Toronto Criminal Defense Lawyers, Minimum Sentences] Stacey Nichols: Hello, my name is Stacey Nichols from Neuberger Rose. Welcome to Neuberger Rose Online. I’m joined by my partners, Joseph Neuberger and David Rose, and today we’re talking about minimum sentences and the law. Joe, the government is introducing a number of minimum sentences in relation to certain offenses. And in fact, already has introduced minimum sentences in relations to certain offenses. Can you tell me what types of offenses attract minimum sentences? Joseph Neuberger: I think we’re seeing quite a broad sweeping change in criminal law policy by the government. And over the last year and creeping out into the future, we’re seeing a lot of changes and there are typical areas, which they’re focusing on. Fraud related case, typically the corporate where we’ve seen such devastating effects in the economy. Those types of charges are now drawing minimum penalties, especially at certain amount of fraud. We’re looking at cases that involve sexual related overtones, so luring cases, sexual assault cases. Drugs cases are typically been under an evolution over the years and they’re now gonna be drawing minimum penalties for production or the producing or cultivation of drugs – marijuana, Ecstasy, et cetera, as well the trafficking charges. And then also stalking related cases, which we refer to as criminal harassment case, those are gonna be drawing in particular areas with particular factors, minimum punishments. So we’re looking at some rather broad changed in criminal law policy with prescribed minimum penalties. Stacey Nichols: Great. David, what are the implications of minimum sentences? David Rose: Well, there’s a lot. I think that the two chief implications what come to mind are in terms of maneuvering a case through the courts. When minimum sentences are involved they tend to be more aggressively prosecuted. So, effectively, they had to be more aggressively defended and that means that it’s gonna attract more attention, more court time’s going to be requested of that, and it will become a more serious case just because it automatically eligible for jail term. The second implication is that if someone is convicted of an offense attracting a minimum sentence. Well first of all, they’re not eligible for what’s called a conditional sentence, but they can go to jail, and there’s no discretion on the judge to impose a non-custodial terms such as probation or a fine. Stacey Nichols: Thank you. Joe, just quickly, what is a conditional sentence? Joseph Neuberger: Well, a conditional sentence is a jail sentence, it’s meant to be just like jail. But, because of some particulars of the person in question, the judge orders that this sentence be served in the community. So it’s conditional in the sense that if they breach any of the terns they’re gonna be in custody in real jail, but they’re supposed to be under house arrest. And the individuals usually allowed out for very slim purposes, so intending employment. Usually it’s typical to allow somebody to maintain their employment; there may be slight exception for attending medical related appointments and shopping once a week. But it’s meant to be a very ownerous sentence where they’re serving it at the home and it’s usually two years less a day and downward, so it’s in that range. Stacey Nichols: Does a judge have any discretion or leeway at all when it comes to imposing a minimum sentence? David Rose: Well that’s the problem from the accused perspective is that they don’t. Now normally, if there’s no minimum sentence involved, the prosecution and the defense would make submission and tell the court what they think the appropriate sentence is and it’s up to the judge – the court to craft the appropriate sentence for that particular offender matching that particular offense. With a minimum sentence involved, the judge has no discretion and the minimum sentence is the starting point. Again, they can subtract from that any time served as pre-trial custody before someone made bail. But in the end, the overall sentence has to equal the minimum sentence number of days or weeks of incarceration or years of incarceration, but can go up from there. Stacey Nichols: Right. Joe, if you’re charged with an offense that involves a minimum sentence, is there any possibility of pleading to a lesser offense that doesn’t attract a minimum sentence? Joseph Neuberger: Yes, and I think this is where creativity comes in because we’re watching now unfold a real change in the policy of criminal law. Where the flexibility of a judge is being removed to a certain extent. You may find that the courts and client attorneys are open to a broader range of resolution. And so, if there is a particular charge with a fairly stiff minimum sentence, you might be able to negotiate and work very collaboratively with a prosecutor and with a judge in a pre-trial setting to try and work it out for a lesser offence. David Rose: What they can do is aggressively defend the case with the hopes that you’ll either convince a prosecutor that it’s not worth a minimum sentence and a lesser offense is appropriate. Or convince a judge that you’re not guilty of the offense. That’s what we tend to do, run a trial on the merit so that the judge will be convinced that you’re not guilty and not eligible for even a conviction. Stacey Nichols: Right. Thanks very much. Thank you for joining us at Neuberger Rose Online. If you have a question about this topic or any other criminal law related topic, please visit our website at Thank you. [End of Audio]