How Do Prior Convictions Affect Sentencing in BC Criminal Courts

October 29th, 2021 in Criminal Law FAQs
How Do Prior Convictions Affect Sentencing in BC Criminal Courts

There are many things that affect sentencing in British Columbia’s criminal court system. Judges have to base their sentencing decisions on guidelines set forth by the BC Criminal Code, statutory minimums and maximums and, also limitations set by Parliament and Supreme Court decisions.

In addition to those things mentioned above, judges also consider the age of the defendant, the seriousness of the crime, prior convictions, aggravating and mitigating circumstances, victim impact statements, other information about the defendant, and what opposing counsels are asking for. The judge would also take into consideration if the defendant has already been in custody for some period of time while a trial takes place, often giving credit for time served in the sentencing decision.

The judge will want to deter similar crimes in the future, keep the public safe, provide reparations to those injured parties but also impose a sentence that will enable rehabilitation of the guilty party where possible. With all these things in mind, the judge has to choose a sentence that is similar to other sentences for similar crimes and which is proportionate to the gravity of the crime at hand.

To answer the question in the title of this blog article, prior convictions certainly do not help someone get a lighter sentence because they show a pattern of criminal behaviour that may be evolving to more serious crime, and they also show that the criminal has not learned from past behaviour. However, prior convictions are just one of many relevant items to consider and would not be a deciding factor in and of itself.

If you have been arrested for a crime, and you need an experienced criminal defence lawyer in Vancouver, call Michael Bloom at (604) 603-5513.

Michael Bloom is a very experienced criminal defence lawyer, who started his career as a Crown Prosecutor.

If you have any questions about this article or would like to schedule a free consultation with Mr. Bloom, please call his office at (604) 603-5513 or Toll-Free at (877) 603-5513.

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