Glossary

Accidental Manslaughter

 

Age of Consent: The age of consent, also known as the "age of protection", refers to the age at which a young person can legally consent to sexual activity. All sexual activity without consent, regardless of age, is a criminal offence.The age of consent for sexual activity is 16 years.  However, the age of consent is 18 years where the sexual activity "exploits" the young person -- when it involves prostitution, pornography or occurs in a relationship of authority, trust or dependency (e.g., with a teacher, coach or babysitter). Sexual activity can also be considered exploitative based on the nature and circumstances of the relationship, e.g., the young person's age, the age difference between the young person and their partner, how the relationship developed (quickly, secretly, or over the Internet) and how the partner may have controlled or influenced the young person.

 

Alternative Measures Program: Rather than using informal action or laying (or recommending) charges, police may choose to refer to or recommend Alternative Measures. 99% of the police agencies in our sample use or recommend either pre- or post-charge alternative measures with youth-related incidents. Typically, alternative measures are considered appropriate for less serious offences and first offenders. The most common alternative measures programs assigned to youth are community service, an apology, social skills improvement, writing an essay, restitution or compensation, and other activities geared toward the specific young person.

 

Aggravated Assault: a very serious assault which results in very serious injuries defined as; “wounding or maiming”. A stab wound, brain damage, loss of eyesight or hearing, internal injuries are examples of aggravated assault. House arrest is not available for aggravated assault.

 

Appearance notice: a type of document you can be released upon. Generally no cash deposit is required and no conditions of release are imposed

 

Assault vs Aggravated Assault: Assault is ANY non-consensual application of force to another person.  Aggravated Assault is an assault on another person that results in wounding or maiming.

 

Assault vs Battery: Assault and Battery are very common violations that mostly lead to personal injury cases. Assault is the act of intentionally and voluntarily causing the reasonable apprehension of an immediate harmful or offensive contact. Assault is intentional, as opposed to negligence. Also assault can happen even if the assaulting individual has no actual ability to carry out the apprehended contact. For example, when someone threats a person with a toy gun. Battery is the act of intentionally and voluntarily bringing about an unconsented harmful or offensive contact with a person or to something closely associated with them for example a hat of a purse. The difference from assault is that battery involves an actual contact. Actual contact in this case can occur not only between two people, but also between an object or item used by the person that commits battery. For example intentionally hitting a person while driving a car, or throwing a stone at someone can be classified as battery.

 

Assault Causing Bodily Harm: an assault on another person which results in bodily harm that is neither ‘trifling or transitory”. An example might be broken nose or cracked orbital bone.  House arrest is not available for assault causing bodily harm.

 

Assault of Police Officer/Resisting arrest: these charges arise in the course of dealing with police officers, often in the course of an arrest. Even in cases where you are wrongfully accused and arrested and you subsequently resist, you can still be charged. Unlike other types of assaults, they are often near impossible to convince a Crown to drop, as police officers put tremendous pressure on the Crown to vigorously prosecute these charges.

 

Assault with a Weapon: utilizing a weapon in the course of assaulting someone. The weapon may be something actually designed as a weapon such as a knife or gun, or something which was not designed as a weapon but simply used as one, such as a piece of lumber or a crowbar. You need not actually injure the person - simply brandishing the weapon in the course of an assault is sufficient to establish the charge.

 

Attempted Homicide: Attempted Homicide (attempted murder) is an unlawful assault on another person that does not result in death but in which death was intended.

 

Attempted Manslaughter: Manslaughter requires a heat of the moment act that results in someone’s’ death. Attempted manslaughter would be when a heat of the moment murder is interrupted before the victim is actually killed. In Canada you may be charged with Assault causing bodily harm or Aggravated Assault.

 

Attempted Murder – attempted murder occurs where someone tries to take the life of another person unsuccessfully. To prove this charge the prosecution must prove the intention to kill. This is often a difficult burden to meet.

 

Attempted Vehicular Manslaughter: American term that does not apply in Canada. In Canada if you are driving in an illegal manner, such as excessive speeding or driving while impaired by alcohol and injure someone in the process you may be charged with dangerous driving causing bodily harm or impaired driving causing bodily harm.

 

BAC (Blood Alcohol Content): Blood alcohol content is a numerical expression of the quantity of alcohol in a persons blood.  Generally it is expressed in mg% which is shorthand for X milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood.  For example 80 mg% means an individual has 80 mg of alcohol in 100 ml of blood.

 

Bail: (also known as Judicial Interim Release) meaning to obtain release from custody after being charged of an offence, but while awaiting trial or a date for guilty plea.

 

Bail Bond: Is an American term for a bond issue by a bond company or bail bondsman to secure the release of an individual who cannot come up with the bond himself.  In Canada bail bonds are not used, instead Courts will sometimes offer the option of a Surity which is similar in nature.

 

Bail Bondsman: A person or company who is in the business of issuing bail bonds for accused persons.  A term utilized in America and does not exist in the Canadian Justice system.

 

Bank Fraud:  Any kind of fraud perpetuated on a bank including for example: issuing false cheques, mortgage fraud, or even providing false or misleading documents.

 

Battery: An  American term for an assault which results in physical injury.  Similar to assault causing bodily harm in Canada.

 

Bench Warrant: A warrant for someone’s arrest issued from a Judge sitting in open court.

 

Bill of Rights: An American document which preserves individual and liberty of citizens.  In Canada we have something similar called the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

 

Breathalyzer: A breathalyser is the machine that measures your blood alcohol content in order to determine if you are over the legal limit of 0.08. The breathalyzer must be an Approved Instrument as defined in the Criminal Code of Canada. They are as follows:

  • Intoximeter Mark IV
  • Alcometer AE-D1
  • Intoxilyzer 4011AS
  • Alcotest 7110
  • Intoxilyzer 5000C
  • Intoxilzer 1400
  • BAC Datamaster C
  • Alco-Sensor IV-RBT IV
  • Breathalyzer 7410-CDN with Printer
  • Alco-Sensor IV/RBT IV-K
  • Alcotest 7110 MKIII Dual C
  • Intoxilyzer 8000C
  • Datamaster DMT-C; and
  • Intox EC/IR II

 

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom: More commonly referred to as the Charter, it is a bill of rights that is entrenched in the Canadian Constitution. Enacted in 1982 it sets out a set of principles that apply to all individuals within Canada’s borders. The political rights apply to Canadian citizens and the civil rights apply to everyone. The purpose of the Charter is to protect individuals from the state. An individual who is not acting for the state cannot breach the Charter.

 

Canadian Criminal Real Time Identification Services: From the RCMP website “You may need a criminal record check for various purposes, including: employment, adoption, international travel, volunteer work, citizenship, name change, student placement or to obtain a record suspension (formerly pardon).” This service provides you with the documentation which will show your criminal record, if any.

 

Capital Punishment: US term more commonly known as the death penalty. Canada does not have capital punishment for any conviction under the Criminal Code.

 

Cash deposit: a condition of release that you deposit cash with the Court to guarantee or ensure you won’t breach your release conditions and will show up in Court.  In the event that you do breach your conditions of release or fail to attend Court, you will forfeit your cash deposit.

 

Careless use/storage/transportation of a firearm: uses, carries, handles, ships, transports or stores a firearm, a prohibited weapon, a restricted weapon, a prohibited device or any ammunition or prohibited ammunition in a careless manner or without reasonable precautions for the safety of other persons.

 

CCW (Carrying concealed weapon – Canada): Carrying a concealed weapon in Canada is illegal but is permitted in very rare circumstances. The Firearms Act in Canada allows for an Authorization to Carry licence if you fall under one of the rare circumstances. An example is if an individual such as a judge is in imminent danger and police protection is insufficient.

 

CHL (Concealed weapon handgun licence – US): Term in the United States for a license that allows you to carry a concealed handgun. This license does not apply in Canada.

 

Child Abuse: It is the physical, sexual, neglect, or mistreatment of a child. Child Abuse is an act, or failure to act, on the part of a parent or caretaker that results in the death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse, or exploitation of a child. Child abuse also occurs if the child is put in imminent risk of serious harm. A child can be defined as anyone under the age of 18 years old.

 

Choking: special provisions are set out in the Criminal Code of Canada to deal with allegations of choking.  Choking can often be seen to be a ‘watered down’ version of attempted murder, and as a result is a very serious charge often resulting in significant periods of incarceration.

 

Credit Card Fraud: When an individual uses a credit card that does not belong to them, is not authorized to use the credit card, or the card itself does not exist. It can involve a theft or a fraud by use of a credit card or debit card as a source of funds to pay for the item. Credit card fraud is linked to identity theft.

 

Criminal Negligence: It is the reckless disregard for the lives or safety of others. It occurs when the court determines that a reasonable person given the same set of circumstances would NOT have done the act that was committed.

 

Criminal Negligence Causing Death: ‘crim neg’ is when you exhibit negligence that meets a criminal negligence standard and a death results.  Any kind of behavior that is reckless or grossly negligent that results in death can attract criminal liability and jail time. 

 

Criminal Record Check: If you have been convicted of a crime under the Criminal Code and have not received a pension or suspension, you may have a Criminal Record. A Criminal Record Check is done through the Canadian Criminal Real Time Identification Services (see related definition).

 

Conditional sentencing orders: otherwise know as house arrest - has been almost entirely eliminated in recent changes to the Canadian drug laws.

 

Cyber Crime: Is a crime that involves the use of a computer and a network. The computer itself may be targeted or a computer may be used to commit a crime such a Child Luring.

 

Death Penalty: Does not apply in Canada anymore for any charge under the Criminal Code. In the past the death penalty meant that if you were convicted of a very serious crime, such as First Degree Murder, you could be sentenced to death.

 

Defamation of Character: Any communication made by a third party that is damaging to an individual’s feelings, pocket book or reputation. The test is whether or not a member of the public would, as a result of the defamation, think less of the individual to which it was addressed.

 

Dangerous Driving Causing Death: For this offence you must first be convicted of Dangerous Driving which means the Court must determine that you were driving in such a way that was a marked departure from the standard of care a reasonable person would have. For example if you are driving at 150km/hr in a 50km/hr zone, passing vehicles and not stopping for any stop signs or traffic lights, you could be charged and convicted with dangerous driving. Dangerous Driving causing death occurs when as a result of the illegal driving, a third party is killed.

 

Date Rape: Term used in the United States whereupon a male forcefully has sexual intercourse with a female against her wishes by way of verbally refusing to have sex, pleas to stop having sex, and/or physically resisting the sexual intercourse.

 

Domestic Assault:  a physical confrontation between you and a spouse or family member that does not result in injuries.

 

Domestic Battery: Term used in the United States, similar to Domestic Assault in Canada. It occurs when you touch a person you are emotionally or romantically involved with. Injuries are not required for someone to be charged with this offence in the United States.

 

Drug Importing and Exporting: either bringing/smuggling drugs into or out of Canada

 

Drug Possession: having in your possession a drug for personal use. This includes but is not limited to: MDMA, cocaine, cannabis marijuana, oxycodone, PCP, amphetamines, morphine, resin, meth, heroin, etc. Drugs are categorized in complex schedules within the Controlled Drug & Substances Act, and being in possession of a Controlled Substance from Schedules 1, 2 or 3 is illegal and considered a felony. There are hundreds of drugs within these three Schedules ranging from heroin, morphine cocaine, codeine (Schedule I), cannabis/marijuana (Schedule II, and amphetamines, LSD, methamphetamines (Schedule III).

 

Drug Possession for the purpose of trafficking: having in your possession a quantity of drugs large enough to be for the purpose of selling or trafficking the drug. In some cases this could include small amounts of drugs packaged or found in such a state that would appear to be for transfer or sale.

 

Drug Production: producing a drug. Examples of this could be growing marijuana; cooking meth; cutting cocaine; cooking crack; etc.

 

Drug Trafficking: selling or transferring drugs to another individual (the intent to distribute must be proven)

 

Embezzlement: It is the fraudulent conversion of a third party’s property by an individual who is in a position of trust over the property such as an employee or agent of a company. For example, if a financial advisor takes funds given to him by an investor, steals them, and uses them for another purpose other than that of what the investor wanted, he could be charged with embezzling those funds.

 

Estreatment:  A process by where the Court seeks to have your bail monies forfeit or seek judgment against you for breaching bail conditions or failing to attend for court.

 

Extortion: also referred to as blackmail, extortion is making a threat in order to obtain something. In Canada extortion charges will apply even if you are legally entitled to what you are attempting to obtain, as you cannot utilize threats to obtain it. Threats in this context can be virtually anything and extend far beyond simple verbal threats to cause bodily harm.  For example ‘pay me my money or I’ll bash your head in’ is clearly extortion. Threatening to ‘call the police if you don’t pay me back’ can also be extortion in certain circumstances. The fine line between what is and what is not extortion can be tricky and complex to navigate in certain circumstances.

 

Fail or Refuse: Physically unable to provide a sample into the breathalyzer. In some cases this occurs as the result of an underlying medical condition, or the police officer providing confusing instructions as to how to get the instrument to properly accept a sample. You must provide a sample or you will be charged with refusal. A conviction for refusal has the same consequences as a conviction if you had blown over the legal limit or being visibly impaired. 

 

Failing to produce a valid possession license: fails to surrender to a peace officer, a firearms officer or a chief firearms officer any authorization, licence or registration certificate held by the person when the person is required to do so.

 

Felony: US term. Canadian equivalent would be an indictment, see definition for indictment.

 

Firearms Act: Canadian Legislation that lays out the law regarding everything to do with firearms in Canada.

 

First-degree murder: first degree murder is premeditated murder. This means that there must be a certain degree of “planning and deliberation” before intentionally taking the life of another.  First-degree murder can attract consecutive sentences for multiple victims and has a minimum parole eligibility of 25 years.

 

Forced Sex: When an individual, male or female, forces sexual intercourse while the other individual is resisting either orally or physically.

 

Forgery: Making a copy of something and passing it off or producing it as authentic. For example a fake driver’s licence is a forged document.

 

Form 32: (or Recognizance): a type of document you can be released on, typically requiring a cash deposit and including terms and conditions to monitor you during the release.

 

Fraud Under $5,000: Defrauding someone, or something, of a value of less than $5,000. In a fraud allegation the person or institution defrauded does not even necessary have to suffer a loss. Fraud can be made out where the deceit alleged could have resulted in a loss. For example, trying to cash a false cheque could be considered a fraud even if no funds are ever dispersed.

 

Fraud Over $5,000 – Defrauding someone, or something, of a value of more than $5,000. Conditional Sentence Orders (House arrest) are not available for these types of offences.

 

Fraudulent Misrepresentation: Generally a term used in contract law but can be linked criminally. It is when an individual makes a representation, knowing that it is untrue, with the purpose to deceive the other party in order to benefit themselves. Making yourself out to be a doctor to get a job, when you aren’t actually a doctor could be a fraudulent misrepresentation if you get the job based on that representation.

 

Gay Rape: Forced sexual intercourse between two males. A male victim can refuse sexual intercourse by orally or physically.

 

Gang Rape: Forced sexual intercourse by more than one person.

 

Grand Larceny: US term for stealing property valued over a specified sum of money. In Canada the closest charge would be Theft Over $5000.

 

Groping: When a victim does not consent to the touching of their body the act is called groping. Usually it involves the touching with your hands on a sexual area of the body such as breasts, vagina or penis.

 

Gross Negligence: When a victim does not consent to the touching of their body the act is called groping. Usually it involves the touching with your hands on a sexual area of the body such as breasts, vagina or penis.

 

Gross Negligence Manslaughter

 

Hand Gun: This type of firearm is designed to be used by only one hand, such as a pistol or a revolver. Rifles and shotgun are long barrelled and designed to be used with two hands.

 

Homocide: It is the deliberate and the unlawful killing of another person.

 

House Arrest: It is a common condition of release. House Arrest involves not being permitted to leave your home unless strictly for the purposes of work, court appearances or medical emergencies as stipulated by the court. Essentially you are allowed to go from your house to work and then immediately home again once work has finished.

 

Identity Theft: When a thief steals something pertaining to your identity. For example, if your wallet is stolen and the thief attempts to use your credit card to make purchases, he/she can be charged with identity theft. Similar situation would be if someone stole your passport and used it as if it were their own.

 

Ignition Interlock: Is a MANDATORY program in Alberta for anyone who has been CONVICTED of either an impaired driving (253(1)(a)) or an over 80 offence (253(1)(b)) under the Criminal Code. The ignition interlock program requires you to put a machine in your vehicle that you must blow into before the vehicle will start, allowing you to drive. In most circumstances you will be admitted into the program after serving 3 months of your 1 year driving prohibition provided it was your first offence. Regardless of whether or not you decide to enter the program after 3 months or serve out the entire 1 year driving prohibition without it, before you can get your license back they will require you to enter into the program. The cost of the device itself is roughly $1000 and it comes with a monthly fee of roughly $120.

 

Impaired Driving, DUI, Drinking and Driving, Drunk Driving, Driving under the Influence:  Appearing to be physically affected by alcohol so that your ability to operate a motor vehicle is impaired. These typically include symptoms such as stumbling, slurring, red or watery eyes, dazed look, etc. Sometimes police misread cues and presume that these symptoms are due to the consumption of alcohol or marijuana, however in reality may be the result of a prescription medication, a medical condition, fatigue or myriad of other factors. Other times, police simply exaggerate what they see. 

 

Indecent Assault

 

Indictable Offence

 

Insurance Fraud

 

Judicial Interim Release:  the legal term for bail, meaning to obtain release from custody after being charged of an offence, but while awaiting trial or a date for guilty plea.

 

Justice of the Peace:  A Justice of the Peace is a judicial officer who can make decisions about your bail. A Justice of the Peace is not a Judge but will, in some circumstances, have the authority to hear your bail hearing if you cannot get before a judge in a timely fashion. It is not recommended that you run your bail hearing in front of a Justice of the Peace.

 

Legal search and seizure. Often police and other law enforcement officials do not know or respect the limits of their powers. These actions often result in unlawful searches and seizures.

 

Long Gun

 

Mandatory Minimum Sentencing

 

Manslaughter: manslaughter results where someone loses their life due to a criminal act. The loss of life does not need to be intentional for a manslaughter charge. The variance in manslaughter sentences can be quite wide ranging from probation to significant periods of jail time. However, recent changes in the criminal code have imposed minimum sentences for certain kinds of wrongful deaths, for example any death in which a firearm is being used, has a minimum term of imprisonment of 4 years.

 

Misdemeanor

 

Money Laundering

 

Mortgage Fraud

 

No Cash Deposit: similar to cash deposit, with the exception that you don’t require to have the cash on hand and deposit it with the Court. Instead you are legally liable to pay the ‘no cash deposit’ if you breach your release conditions or fail to attend. The Court can enforce this similar to a civil judgement.

 

NSF Cheque

 

Over 80mg% (‘Over 80’): Having a blood alcohol content that is in excess of the legal limit of 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 milliliters of blood. Sometimes it’s difficult to know after a social function if you’re over or under. One drink too many, and you’re considered a criminal, one less and you’re a law abiding citizen. Criminal liability in Canada only occurs with a blood alcohol level above .08. In Alberta, however, it is a Provincial Offence to drive with a blood alcohol limit above .05.  

 

PAL (Possession and Acquisition License)

 

Paraphilia

 

PayPal Scam

 

Peace Bond:  Where the Alternative Measures Program is unavailable, our assault lawyers may be able to negotiate a peace bond on your behalf.  A peace bond is really an agreement, typically lasting one year, that you enter with the Court and promise to ‘keep the peace and be of good behavior’. In addition there maybe additional conditions attached such as counselling or restraining orders/no contact provisions. If you are approved for a peace bond the criminal charge will be dropped once you enter into the agreement, and you will not receive a criminal record.

 

Petty Theft

 

Perjury

 

Phishing

 

Pointing a firearm: points a firearm at another person, whether the firearm is loaded or unloaded. Does not include imitation firearms.

 

Ponzi Scheme

 

Possession and Acquisition License (PAL)

 

Possession of a Controlled Substance

 

Possession of a firearm for a dangerous purpose: carries or possesses a weapon, an imitation of a weapon, a prohibited device or any ammunition or prohibited ammunition for a purpose dangerous to the public peace or for the purpose of committing an offence.

 

Possession of Paraphernalia

 

Possession With Intent to Distribute

 

Probation

 

Pyramid Scheme

 

Queens Bench Bail Review: If your first bail hearing held in provincial criminal court is unsuccessful, we will seek to have that decision reviewed by a superior court, the Court of Queens Bench. Queens Bench has the jurisdiction to review your initial bail decision.

 

Rape

 

Recognizance: (or Form 32) a type of document you can be released on, typically requiring a cash deposit and including terms and conditions to monitor you during the release.

 

Restraining Order

 

Restricted firearm: a handgun that is not a prohibited firearm, a firearm that has a barrel less than 470 mm in length, and is capable of discharging centre-fire ammunition in a semi-automatic manner, a firearm that is designed or adapted to be fired when reduced to a length of less than 660 mm by folding, telescoping or otherwise, or

a firearm of any other kind that is prescribed to be a restricted firearm.

 

Schedule I Drugs (list of drugs)

 

Schedule II Drugs (list of drugs)

 

Schedule III Drugs (list of drugs)

 

Second Amendment (US)

 

Second-degree murder: second degree murder also involves the intentional taking of a life but does not include “planning and deliberation”. This may occur where someone is killed in the heat of the moment.  Second-degree murder has a minimum parole eligibility of 10 years but can range between 10 and 25 years.

 

Sexual Assault:  a physical confrontation between you and another person that was for a sexual purpose. Sexual assault can range from something as minor as grabbing or groping to anything as serious as forced intercourse.

 

Sexual Exploitation: a sexual interaction with a person who holds you in a position of trust. The complainant or victim for these types of offences may be older than 16 years old.  Includes minimum sentences of 90 days if proceeded summarily and one year if proceeded by indictment

 

Sexual Interference

 

Sexual Interference with a Minor: a sexual interaction with a person under the age of 16 years old. This is sometimes referred to as “statutory rape” because of the fact that the law does not consider whether the sexual contact was consensual or not. The criminal act is made out by virtue of the fact that the complainant, or victim, is under the age of 16 years old. Includes minimum sentences of 90 days if proceeded summarily and one year if proceeded by indictment.

 

Sex Offender

 

Sex Offender Registry (SOIRA)

 

Simple Assault: any unwanted physical contact of another person that does not result in serious bodily injury. The lowest level of assault. A threatening gesture can also be defined as an assault.

 

Sodomy

 

SOIRA

 

Stalking

 

Statutory Rape

 

Surety: a surety is someone of good reputation who will agree to monitor you once released on bail, and in addition will pledge monies or property to the court as a guarantee that you won’t breach your bail and attend in Court.

 

Theft Under $5000: Stealing money or goods of a value of less than $5,000. Often this would include shoplifting charges.

 

Theft Over $5,000: Stealing money or goods of a value of more than $5,000. Conditional Sentence Orders (House arrest) are not available for these types of offences.

 

Threats: threatening someone by implying death or serious bodily harm is a criminal offence. Uttering threats either directly or via a third person is illegal - in fact, a threat need not even be heard or make it back to the intended victim for it to be criminal.  A threat can in certain circumstances also qualify as a ‘serious bodily injury offence’ and thus make it ineligible for house arrest.  A threat to public safety, such as a public shooting or explosion is a very serious matter and result in significant jail time.  

 

Unconditional Bail

 

Unsecured Bail

 

Using a firearm in the commission of an offence: uses a firearm, whether or not the person causes or means to cause bodily harm to any person as a result of using the firearm, committing or attempting to commit an indictable offence; or, during flight after committing or attempting to commit an indictable offence.

 

Uttering a forged document:  A very specific offence dealing with documents that are false or forged in some fashion. For example ,a cheque on which you forged the signature, or a fake document you created yourself to obtain a benefit.

 

Uttering Threats

 

Vulnerable Sector (VS) Check

 

Voyeurism: observing or recording someone for a sexual purpose where that person would have a reasonable expectation of privacy.

 

Wire Fraud

 

Workplace Harassment