Fines for Criminal Charges in Canada
What is a Fine?
The penalties for criminal charges vary greatly depending on the type of offence committed and the circumstances of the offender.
One possible penalty you may receive is the requirement to pay the government a specified amount of money (a fine).
This may be the sole penalty you receive, or it may be imposed in addition to another penalty, such as a term of imprisonment.
When are Fines Considered for Punishment?
A fine is imposed for offences of a relatively minor nature, and where there is no prior criminal record, or a very minor one.
The courts power to impose a fine, whether alone or in combination with another penalty, comes from section 734(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada (the “Code”):
Power of court to impose fine
734 (1) Subject to subsection (2), a court that convicts a person, other than an organization, of an offence may fine the offender by making an order under section 734.1
(a) if the punishment for the offence does not include a minimum term of imprisonment, in addition to or in lieu of any other sanction that the court is authorized to impose; or
(b) if the punishment for the offence includes a minimum term of imprisonment, in addition to any other sanction that the court is required or authorized to impose.
Ultimately, the judge has the final say when imposing a fine and deciding the amount.
Judges will take many factors into consideration including your personal circumstances, the circumstances of the offence and the sentencing principles outlined in section 718 of the Code.
How Much Will My Fine Be?
The maximum fine you can expect for a summary conviction offence under the Code is $5,000. This is set out in section 787(1) of the Code:
787 (1) Unless otherwise provided by law, every person who is convicted of an offence punishable on summary conviction is liable to a fine of not more than $5,000 or to a term of imprisonment of not more than two years less a day, or to both.
Although $5,000 is the maximum allowed by law, in practice, fines typically range from $150 for very minor violations to $2,000 for the most severe offences that are still eligible for a fine.
A 30% victim fine surcharge is applied to fines imposed by the judge unless you can convince the judge it would be an excessive financial hardship. This money goes towards offsetting the costs of funding victims’ programs and services.
The victim surcharge is set out at 737(1) of the Code:
737(1) An offender who is convicted, or discharged under section 730, of an offence under this Act, the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act or the Cannabis Act shall pay a victim surcharge for each offence, in addition to any other punishment imposed on the offender.
Amount of surcharge
(2) Subject to subsections (2.1) and (3), the amount of the victim surcharge in respect of an offence is
(a)30% of any fine that is imposed on the offender for the offence; or
(b)if no fine is imposed on the offender for the offence,
(i)$100 in the case of an offence punishable by summary conviction, and
(ii) $200 in the case of an offence punishable by indictment.
You can expect that the judge will give you a reasonable amount of time to pay the fine, typically between one month to one year, depending on the circumstances.
It is important that you speak to your lawyer about your financial situation in advance, so they are able to advocate an appropriate timeline in order for you to save up the necessary funds.
Should you fail to pay a fine you will be subject to arrest and must serve a jail sentence proportional to the amount of the fine still outstanding at the time of arrest. You will be told how much time that is when you are sentenced.
In some provinces, you will also be told that you can work off the fine through a “Fine Options Program.”
For location-specific information on fines, please select the location nearest you and select “Court Process” from the drop-down menu. Next, select “Fine” from the “Sentence” category.
Our criminal defence lawyers are skilled at ensuring you are not saddled with the most severe consequences of a criminal conviction.
Contact us today so we can begin canvassing a range of options to find the best solution for your circumstances.
About The Author
Ask A Question
We endeavor to respond to questions within 24 hours. If your matter is urgent, please call our office or submit a request for a free consultation.
Michael Oykhman is a very professional lawyer and the first time I spoke to him he asked about my situation and he gave me some very helpful advice and assistance and also told me his odds of winning this case. During the days I was in contact with micheal I could feel the level of professionalism of him and his team, he is able to respond back to you with any questions you have within 24 hours. In the end he was as successful in helping me win my case as he had initially promised me.If you are still struggling to find a lawyer, I highly recommend Michael Oykhman.
Please give yourself a favour and contact Mr. Michael Oykhman if you need any legal advice or if you are in a terrible situation. Even-tough, the odds are not in your favour, still they will go extra miles to help you out in bad situation and get you favourable outcome. Moreover, They will work on your file even after the business hours. I don’t have words to say thanks to Mr. Michael oykhman and Kiran Cheema who had worked on my file and get me out of trouble. I’m very grateful for your assistance and exceptional service. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
I am grateful that Ms. Moira McAvoy was my lawyer, and I remain thankful to her for everything. She made a successful resolution to my case possible. Ms. Moira McAvoy is a professional, trustworthy lawyer, and a compassionate person. She is an excellent listener and knowledgeable of the law. From the start, she was an excellent guide. I did not know anything about the legal system and court, and she outlined everything clearly in advance, so I could understand things. She never rushed me through anything. She spoke clearly, explained everything, considered what I said, and provided options and advice. She kept me up to date on new information, requirements, and deadlines. She was always positive and this helped so much.
Ryan Patmore and his team are simply the best. I was bullied by CPS in 2020 and it landed me with three separate charges, assault, refusal to blow and DUI, which all went down as I was parked at a friends. After some research and a conversation with Michael, he directed me towards Ryan and at the time I didn’t know that would be a game changer in my favour! He is honest, transparent, helpful and a brilliant mind. He successfully appealed my license suspension with ATSB and then proceeded to get the crown to dismiss all my charges before trial. I never had to step foot inside a courtroom. If you are in need of a criminal defence lawyer, don’t think twice, get in touch with this firm and ask for Ryan Patmore! The guy is an absolute saviour.
Joseph Beller, from the very beginning when I first contacted and then retained Joseph as my representative I felt I was in good hands. When I emailed him with a question. I got a prompt response. We communicated often on the phone as needed. Joseph kept me informed as to the process. He made sure I knew all the potential results so I knew and could plan for the different outcomes. I know this his his job. But appreciate his professionalism and also his ability to not make me feel any extra stress. Well done.