Criminal Law Glossary

Real Estate Law Glossary

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There are currently 22 names in this directory beginning with the letter S.
Punishment for breaking the law.

Sentence / Sentencing / Sentenced
The punishment a person receives after being found guilty of or pleading guilty to committing a crime. Sentences may include fines, community supervision or time in prison (also called a correctional centre or penitentiary).

Sentence Hearing
A court hearing where a judge hears submissions from Crown and defence counsel about how the offender should be sentenced.

Sentencing Circles
A traditional Indigenous method of dealing with members of the community who have broken the law. The circle is made up of the accused, victim, families, elders and other interested community members. A judge and a defence lawyer or Crown Counsel and/or police officer also sit in the circle. The purpose of the circle is to reach a consensus about the offender’s sentence to recommend to the judge.

Serious Offence
An offence for which an adult could receive up to five years in jail.

Sexual Assault
Any sexual contact that happens without the consent of both people.

Sexual Exploitation
Using children for sex in return for such things as food, shelter, drugs, money, or other basic needs of life.

A justice system official who is responsible for making sure the courtroom is safe and for looking after witnesses, juries and prisoners.

Spousal Abuse
Includes any form of violence within a relationship (marriage, common law or dating) – sexual, emotional, financial and psychological, including threats.

Following, watching or contacting someone in a way that causes the person to fear for their safety or the safety of someone they know.

A written version of the information provided by a witness or victim to the police that relates to a crime that was committed.

Laws established and enforced by the government.

Statutory Release
Automatic release into the community for the last third of a federal (two years or more) sentence. Offenders on statutory release are supervised during the remainder of their sentence and may have to follow certain conditions (rules).

Stay of Proceedings
This means Crown counsel has dropped the charges against you, ending the prosecution. However, for a serious charge, they may re-start the prosecution within one year of the stay. For a less serious charge, Crown counsel may re-start the prosecution within six months of the incident that led to charges. If the prosecution is not re-started within those time frames, the matter is over.

An official court document, ordering a witness to come to court to give evidence (pronounced sub-pena).

Assisted financially by someone else who contributes to the cost of a service or good.

Summary Offences
These are less serious offences. The maximum penalty for a summary offence is usually a $5,000 fine and/or six months in jail. Some summary offences have higher maximum sentences. They include breaches of a probation order.

Notified that you must appear in court at a specified date and time.

An official notice telling an accused person they must appear in court at a specific time and place.

Someone who promises to pay money to the court if an accused released on bail does not obey their bail conditions or fails to attend court.

Suspect / Suspected
A person who is believed to have committed a crime.

Swear an Oath / Swearing / Sworn In
Promising to tell the truth or carry out a duty and accepting that there will be religious or supernatural consequences if you do not.