Traffic/Provincial Offences, Criminal Proceedings

Offences laid under the Ontario Provincial Offences Act, or Summary Criminal charges at the Federal level require effective, timely, experienced and professional help, such as that available from Phoenix Paralegal Services P.C.
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Got a ticket or summons? Charged in Summary Criminal Proceedings? Phone, email or fill in our form so we can review your situation, advise of the best way to proceed.
Traffic and Provincial Offences
Our Highway Traffic and Provincial Offences Paralegal services help you defend charges that laid under the Ontario Provincial Offences Act or a Municipal By-Law. Tickets and charges may be issued by Municipal, Provincial and Federal (RCMP) police, and other authorized policing agencies, e.g. Municipal By-Law officers, covering perceived infractions of the relevant laws.
Cases are heard under the authority of the Ontario Court of Justice. Municipalities administer the courts for trials of most Provincial Offences cases, and also often prosecute many of cases on behalf of the Ministry of the Attorney General of Ontario. Courts may impose fines, license suspensions, incarceration and other penalties.
Common offences laid under the Provincial Offences Act include, but are not limited to:
  • Speeding, not wearing a seat belt and other traffic violations
  • Careless driving
  • Driving without a permit
  • Lack of proof of ownership
  • Driving without valid automobile insurance
  • Disobeying traffic signs
  • Excessive noise, animal control, garbage disposal
  • Consumption of alcohol in a public place and public intoxication
  • Trespassing and smoking infractions
  • Parking offences
  • Exceeding Provincial alcohol levels (less than Federal DUI limits) when driving
There are three categories of offence, each with its own requirements of proof to enable a guilty verdict to be rendered. Most Provincial Offences fall into the “Strict Liability” category:
  • Absolute Liability requires only that the prosecutor prove you committed the act with which you are charged. Intent, lack of knowledge or awareness are irrelevant. You will be found guilty if the Justice of the Peace is satisfied of guilt. Parking and speeding are examples of these types of offences.
  • Strict Liability requires that the prosecutor prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the act with which you are charged. A defence may be offered, however, that you took all reasonable steps to avoid committing the act or believed in a mistaken set of facts that, if true, would render the act innocent of guilt.
  • “Mens Rea” (Guilty Mind)offences require that the prosecutor not only prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt but also that you knew you were committing an unlawful act (the charge usually contains words such as “knowingly”, “with intent”, “willfully”, or “intentionally”). Criminal Code charges are almost always “mens rea” charges. Examples of Provincial “mens rea” charges would be knowingly having a false or invalid automobile insurance certificate or drivers license.
You effectively have just THREE choices when charged:
  • Option 1 — Plead Guilty, accept the penalty (fine, suspension, etc.);
  • Option 2 — Request a Trial, take time off work to attend the proceedings and probably be found guilty anyway, with extra fines and costs assessed;
  • Option 3 — Get Legal Advice before deciding what action you should take AND get legal representation for any proceedings that might ensue.
Whether Phoenix Paralegal Services P.C. or an alternate counsel, we strongly recommend Option 3
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Summary Criminal Proceedings
The Criminal Code of Canada is federal legislation that sets out the Criminal Law and Procedures in Canada. Licensed Paralegals are authorized to represent defendants in the Ontario Court of Justice, before a Judge only, for charges that are considered “Summary Convictions”, carrying a maximum penalty of six (6) months in jail or a fine of up to $5,000, or both.
Summary Conviction offences include less serious acts and “Hybrid Offences” (also called “Crown Option” or “Dual Procedure”) that the Crown (Prosecutor) elects to pursue against the defendant as a Summary Conviction offence, rather than as an Indictable Offence requiring a jury prosecution.
Criminal Code offences include major crimes (“Indictable Offences”), such as for murder, sexual assault, armed robbery, etc., requiring a full jury trial and the services of qualified lawyers. They also include lesser charges, many of which may be deemed eligible for Summary Conviction by the Crown, which may include but are not limited to:
  • Assault
  • Break and enter, theft and robbery
  • Impaired driving
  • Causing a disturbance
  • Harassing telephone calls
  • Fraudulently pretending to tell fortunes or to exercise witchcraft, sorcery, etc.
  • All Provincial Statute offences, such as having an open alcohol bottle in a vehicle, highway traffic offences, etc.
  • Possession of marijuana under 30 grams
  • Possession only of small amounts of other drugs (e.g. cocaine)
  • Solicitation of prostitution
  • Being found in a common bawdy house
Whether you choose to be represented by Phoenix Paralegal Services P.C. for your Summary Conviction charge, or another licensed paralegal or lawyer, we strongly recommend that you do not provide any statements or sign any documents before you obtain legal advice.