Ontario Court of Justice, Chatham, Ontario

Provincial and Criminal Offences

A provincial offence is a quasi-criminal offence created by a provincial statute.  Provincial offences are regulatory in nature. In some cases, there are "equivalents" between a provincial offence and a crime. For example, careless driving is a provincial offence; its equivalent under the Criminal Code of Canada is dangerous driving. The Code creates criminal offences that attract more severe punishment.

In any investigation and prosecution, the rights guaranteed by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms must be respected. These include the right to remain silent, protection from an unreasonable search, the right to know the evidence the prosecution intends to use (the "information"), the right to make full answer and defence to a charge and the right to counsel.

The Crown must prove every element of an offence. If reasonable doubt is raised for any single element, the defendant must be found not guilty. A paralegal can assist with an examination of these elements and the exploration of possible defences. A paralegal can also assist with offence, plea, and sentence bargaining.