Do first-time offenders face any consequences?

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It is debatable whether first-time offenders face any consequences in Canada. The most straightforward answer is – Yes, you may face several consequences.

If you get a first-time domestic assault charge, the consequences will differ on the situation. However, first-time offenders may expect fewer penalties or punishments than second or third-timers.

Let’s know whether first-time offenders face any consequences and what the federal act says about it.

Do first-time offenders face any consequences?

When you commit a crime for the first time, you become a first-time offender. Your crime can relate to any first drug offence or DUI. If you are a first-time offender, there’s a high chance of getting a lenient sentence or having an alternative to face prosecution.

You will face a felony or misdemeanour when you’re a first-time offender. It will depend on your charges, whether you’ll get jail or prison time. Also, you might get fines or punishments if you’re found guilty.

Federal First Offenders Act

There’s a unique act for first-time offenders—the “Federal First Offender Act.” You can complete the probation of getting a charge instead of receiving a conviction record. This lets your criminal history be spotless, giving you a better life to lead.

If you’re into a criminal offence, you won’t get a good job, live in society, or even get a place to stay. However, you can remove a case and arrest when you meet the requirements properly.

Sentences that involed jail time in Canada

If you’re a first-time offender, you won’t directly get lenient hearings from the court. So, you might get imprisonment even though the sentence was supposed to be favourable. Whether it’s just conviction or imprisonment, your life will get affected by such issues.

In Canada, you will get 4 different sentences that involve jail time. So if you convict any of them you have to face jail time.

  • Life Sentence

Even though you’re convicted, you will get imprisonment when you get a life sentence for a crime. In Canada, you can parole within the first 10 years of 25 years of a life sentence. This necessarily doesn’t need to be the first conviction on your record. You will also get such opportunities when you commit a first or second-degree murder.

On the other hand, you can get many other sentences with no life sentences, such as impaired driving, sexual assault, or a firearm. Such issues can get a maximum sentence of 2 years to 14 years. This will depend on the crime that you commit.

  • Sentence Enhancements

You will get a prison sentence if you are into “Sentence Enhancement.” This means that you will charge only when there are enhancements. In most sentence enhancements, people involve firearm issues—like assault charges.

There’s no compulsory prison sentence for sexual assault. But you will face a minimum of 5 years of prison if you use a weapon in an assault. When you commit any domestic violence against your intimate partner, it turns into an aggravating factor that eventually leads to prison. It will be a mitigating factor if you have no prior criminal or conviction record.

Sometimes, the court reduces sentence enhancement through negotiations. You can offer in exchange to stay, dismiss or withdraw the guilty plea. Hence, your agreement can avoid imprisonment or jail time.

  • Repeat Criminal Offences

This isn’t for first-time offenders. You might face a prison sentence if you get into another conviction when you get conviction.

The common type of repeat criminal offence is DUI charges. Even though the court gives the summary conviction, this charge can lead to imprisonment for years. Taking the help of a lawyer is the best way to avoid extra jail years after the first conviction.

  • Hybrid Sentences

You will get a sentence based on your crime. Therefore, in the case of a hybrid offence, your case can proceed with an indictable offence or summary conviction. 

Such cases are quite rare. You won’t face a sentence in a summary conviction, whereas you might suffer a few years of imprisonment for an indictable offence. Also, an indictable offence faces more sentences, eventually leading to jail, than a summary conviction.

Final Verdict

You should look for your opportunities if you’re an accused of being a first-time offender. There is a high chance of getting the help of a lawyer to protect yourself.

In some cases, you might even dismiss your case. Plus, you can reduce penalties for good behaviour in court. So, the consequences tend to vary over the situation.