A Brief Introduction To Criminal Law In Canada

January 14, 2020

A Brief Introduction To Criminal Law In Canada

Canada is a nation governed by laws. The Canadian legal system is the source through which laws are written, interpreted and enforced. Criminal law is a category of public law that is created to punish behaviors that cause injury to people or property.

The Federal Government of Canada makes the most of criminal laws. However, provincial and municipal governments also make laws called quasi-criminal. Most laws in the Criminal Code of Canada applies to all territories and provinces in Canada.

When someone breaks one of the criminal laws, a crime occurs which has two essential parts: action and intent. There is a difference between setting fire to a building deliberately and setting fire by accident. It might not be a crime to set a building on fire by accident. It’s important to prove both action and intent in most criminal cases. No crime is committed if either element is missing from the equation. If you have been charged with a crime in Canada, you can use your right to counsel and defend your case effectively.

Principles of Criminal Law

In the Canadian criminal justice system, “presumption of innocence” is a principle which means the accused is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty. “Burden of proof” means that it’s the job of the Crown to prove that the accused is guilty.

It’s important for the Crown to prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that a crime was committed. If there is any reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty of committing a crime, the accused must be found not guilty. If you have been charged with a criminal offence, a competent criminal lawyer will provide the legal assistance you need to adequately defend your case.

Types of crime

The Criminal Code of Canada divides criminal offences into three broad categories. Summary conviction offences are the least serious ones. On the other hand, indictable offences are more serious. An offence that can be treated as a summary offence or an indictable offence is called a hybrid offence. No matter the nature of the crime you have been charged with, it’s important to seek proper legal guidance.

In most cases, the accused can get no more than six months in prison or fine for a summary conviction offences. In indictable offences, the accused can potentially face a life sentence and heavy fines. So far as hybrid or dual offences are concerned, it’s up to the Crown to determine whether to proceed by indictment or summarily. The Criminal Code of Canada categorizes offences because some crimes can cause greater harm to society or individuals.

A general principle of criminal law is that both the guilty mind and the physical act must be present in order for the Crown to establish a criminal offence.

About Slaferek Callihoo

At Slaferek Callihoo we take pride in defending our clients against various criminal offences, but also educating people on important legal matters. As a team of highly specialized criminal lawyers in Edmonton, we make sure our clients get the best possible outcome. If you want to discuss your situation with us, feel free to schedule a free consultation!

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