Business Offences, Professional Offences, Revenue, Labour, Transportation, Bylaw, Health and Safety Offences
Regulatory Offences are provincial, non-criminal offences. They include offences under legislation such as the Highway Traffic Act, the Code de la Sécurité Routière, the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the Environmental Protection Act, to name a few. Since regulatory offences are technically “non-criminal” they are generally viewed as less serious than criminal offences. However, it is important to realize that it is much easier to be convicted of a regulatory offence than a criminal offence and the consequences of a conviction can be surprisingly severe. A conviction for a criminal offence requires proof that you intended to commit the offence and proof of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, a conviction for a regulatory offence does not require proof of intent and requires a much lower standard of proof. The penalties for regulatory offence convictions can include large fines, probation orders, and in some cases even jail time. Some Highway Traffic Act offences can lead to your driver’s license being suspended.
Many people charged with regulatory or criminal offences are tempted to plead guilty in order to avoid the court process, believing they will receive more lenient treatment. However, given the serious consequences that accompany convictions for these offences and the fact that many convictions carry unforeseen consequences, such as mandatory jail terms, immigration consequences, or increased insurance premiums. It is likely that there are many more options than you initially think, and since the penalties can be so severe, you owe it to yourself and your future to contact a criminal defence lawyer to discuss your options.