Are Provincial Offences the Same As Criminal Offences?

Provincial Offences, Such As Municipal Bylaw Charges, Among Others, Are Prosecuted Within the Ontario Court of Justice Using Procedures Prescribed By the Provincial Offences Act. DefendCharges.ca May Be Able to Help You Defend Against These Types of Charges.

Defending Against Provincial Offence Allegations Including Municipal Bylaw Charges

Provincial Offences Charge Being Issued Provincial offences are quasi-crimes or regulatory offences in that they are violation of laws enacted to regulate individual conduct for the protection of society as a whole and they are prosecuted by a Prosecutor as an agent of the state; however, unlike criminal offences, upon conviction of a provincial offence a person avoids establishing a criminal record.

The Provincial Offences Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. P.33, as well as the Rules of the Ontario Court (Provincial Division) in Provincial Offences Proceedings, R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 200, provide the procedural law that guides the process by which offences within numerous substantive law statutes are prosecuted.  The range in matters falling under the purview of provincial offences is very broad and may involve, among much more, alleged violations of:

In addition to the above, there are many more applicable statutes as well as municipal bylaws that prescribe prosecution as a provincial offence upon an alleged violation.

Defence Strategy
Accused Person Is Presumed Innocent

Similar to a criminal charge, with charges prosecuted as a provincial offence, the accused person is presumed innocent and the Prosecutor must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, the guilt of the accused person.  Accordingly, a primary defence strategy is simply to poke enough holes in the evidence so to create a reasonable doubt.

Essential Elements
Identity As Example

Every offence, regardless of the statute allegedly violated, involves essential elements for the charge brought.  A very simple example of an essential element is the element of identity whereas, to convict an accused person, the Prosecutor must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the alleged offence was committed by the accused person.  While proof of whodunit is often unarguable, there are case circumstances that do arise where, as an essential element to the charge, the Prosecutor is unable to prove identity.

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Options Available When Disputing a Provincial Offence Notice

#1Pay the Ticket/Fine
(Plea of Guilty)
Never Recommended

Paying a provincial offence ticket is never recommended as payment of the fine will be accepted as an automatic admission of guilt.  This will result in a conviction against you or your business for the charge as laid and you will suffer the full consequences which generally consists of a monetary fine.

#2Request a Meeting
with the Prosecution
Never Recommended

Meeting with the prosecutor is never recommended as you will not be able to obtain a copy of the evidence prior and you will not know the strength of the case against you.  While there may be some form of reduction offered, there is usually little chance to secure a withdrawal regardless of your explanation which will likely do more harm than good.

#3Request a Trial
Always Recommended
Your Best Option

Requesting a trial date is always recommended so that you may request and receive a copy of the evidence.  Only then will you truly be able to determine the strength of the case against you and any possible defences.  Choose DefendCharges.ca to defend you at trial and increase your chances of winning.

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