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Court orders and sentencing
Court orders and sentencing

Firearms prohibitions

If an offender is found guilty of certain criminal offences, the judge may make an order preventing them from having things like guns, cross-bows or ammunition for a period of time. Usually a firearms prohibition is for a number of years, but it can be for life. Criminal offences where a firearm was used or present, or where violence was used or threatened, often result in a firearms prohibition.

Restitution orders

A restitution order is an order to pay money to the victim of a criminal offence. It is different from a fine or a charitable donation.

A restitution order is often made when the judge wants the offender to pay to repair or replace something that was damaged, or to compensate for lost income.

Restitution can be a condition of a probation order, but a “stand alone” restitution order can also be made by a judge.

A stand alone restitution order is imposed in addition to a sentence. For example— an offender pleads guilty to a mischief charge for damaging the victim’s car. The judge then sentences the offender to an absolute discharge, and also makes a restitution order to pay the victim back for the repairs to the car.

If an offender doesn’t comply with a stand alone restitution order, the victim may be able to get a civil court to enforce the order, just as if they successfully sued the offender for the money.

DNA orders

A DNA order, made by a judge, allows the police to take a sample of bodily substances (such as saliva or blood) from an offender. The substance is taken for the purpose of creating a DNA profile, which is stored in a databank. The databank is maintained by the RCMP and can be used to assist with future police investigations.

Depending on the type of criminal offence that an offender has been found guilty of, the Crown may ask the judge to make a DNA order.

Whether or not a DNA order is given depends largely on the type of criminal offence in question. Some offences are “primary designated offences” such as assault with a weapon or robbery, while others are “secondary designated offences” such as assault or threatening. Judges are more likely make DNA orders if an offender is found guilty of a primary designated offence than a secondary designated offence. The judge will listen to the submissions of the Crown and the offender’s lawyer (or duty counsel) in deciding whether to make a DNA order or not.

DNA samples are often taken right in the courthouse, although sometimes the offender will have to go to a police station to have the sample taken.

Driving prohibitions

If an offender is found guilty of certain criminal offences, the judge may prevent them from driving for a period of time. This is called a driving prohibition. If the offence is a “drinking and driving” offence the judge must impose a driving prohibition.

Depending on the type of criminal offence and the offender’s record, a driving prohibition can last from one year, right up to a lifetime.

A driving prohibition means an offender cannot drive a motor vehicle anywhere in Canada (and sometimes in other countries too). This includes driving cars or trucks, but also includes things like operating a forklift or riding a motorized scooter. However, the judge may have the option to allow an offender to apply to the Ministry of Transportation to get permission to drive a motor vehicle that has a special device called an ignition interlock device. This device prevents the vehicle from starting if the offender has had any alcohol to drink.

A driving prohibition is a court order and it is separate from any suspension that the Ministry of Transportation may give an offender. Before deciding whether to plead guilty to a “drinking and driving” offence, an accused should be aware that the judge may have to impose a driving prohibition and that the Ministry of Transportation may also suspend their licence.

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