Non-judicial treatment of certain criminal offences committed by adults

If you have committed an offence and the police have reasonable ground to believe that you are guilty, they will submit the evidence and their report on their investigation to a criminal and penal prosecuting attorney. The prosectuting attorney may decide to bring charges against you by laying an information, which requires you to go to court and possibly face a trial. The prosecuting attorney may also, at his or her discretion, decide not to bring charges.

To benefit from non-judicial measures, you must match a specific offender profile, and have committed an offence that is eligible for non-judicial treatment.

The prosecuting attorney may decide not to bring charges if:

  • you are willing to change your behaviour;
  • you are not likely to commit another offence.

The prosecuting attorney must also take other factors into account, such as the circumstances of the offence, its seriousness, its impact on the victim and the likelihood of you re-offending. 

If you have been subject to an extrajudicial measure or sanction within the last two years under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, the judge will take this fact into consideration.

Obligation to prosecute

However, the prosecuting attorney has an obligation to prosecute if:

  • you refuse or neglect to pay the victim an amount of money as compensation;
  • you have a relevant or recent criminal record for the same type of offence;
  • you are currently being prosecuted for other offences;
  • you have been subject to a non-judicial measure in the last five years.

The prosecuting attorney may deal with your offence non-judicially if you have committed an offence of:

  • assault, for example by:

    • threatening to injure someone;
    • striking someone;
    • spitting on someone;

  • public mischief, for example by:

    • spreading false rumours about someone to have him or her charged with a crime he or she did not commit;
    • defrauding an insurance company;

  • simple possession, by having in your possession a small quantity of soft drugs such as:

    • 30 grammes or less of marijuana;
    • 1 gramme or less of haschisch.

If the prosecuting attorney decides not to bring charges against you, he or she may send you:

  • a warning letter;
  • a formal demand.

Warning letter

In the warning letter, the prosecuting attorney informs you that judicial proceedings will not be brought against you, since you are considered eligible for non-judicial treatment. The letter also states that you are entitled to consult a lawyer at any time. 

The prosecuting attorney will warn you that proceedings may be brought against you for your initial offence if you commit another offence, and that you will not be eligible a second time for non-judicial treatment 

Formal demand

If you have failed to comply with certain court orders, the prosecuting attorney may send you a formal demand to remind you that you still need to:

  • pay back the amount specified in your probation order;
  • go to a police station to have your fingerprints taken, if this was ordered by a judge.

The prosecuting attorney will mention that charges may be brought against you if you do not correct the situation quickly. The prosecuting attorney may or may not send a formal demand, and is not required to do so.

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