Being labelled a “Dangerous Offender” makes it possible for a person to be locked up for an indefinite amount of time. In other words, someone who is determined to be a “Dangerous Offender” could be in prison for life.
People accused of sexual assault, attempted murder, murder and the most violent offences run the risk of being labelled a dangerous offender at the sentencing hearing. At the criminal defence law firm of Hicks Adams in Toronto, our lawyers have more than a century of combined experience. We use that experience to vigorously defend against serious violent offences and sexual offences in order to avoid the heightened penalties that come along with a dangerous offender application.
Heightened Penalties for Dangerous Offenders
After a person has been convicted of three “serious personal injury offences,” as defined in the Criminal Code, the Crown attorney can apply to have him or her designated a “Dangerous Offender.” If the person receives this designation, the court must sentence him or her to indefinite detention – the harshest penalty in the Canadian justice system – unless the defence raises enough evidence that a lesser punishment can adequately protect the public.
Even if the defence convinces the court to impose a lesser sentence, the consequences of being labelled a Dangerous Offender are severe. In addition to serving a lengthy sentence, the person will keep the label Dangerous Offender all his or her life, which makes it much easier for him or her to get into serious trouble for minor actions. For example, if he or she commits even a minor breach of his or her supervision order, such as missing curfew, the Crown can seek to have him or her detained indefinitely.
Hicks Adams Fearlessly Fights Dangerous Offender Designations
The possibility of life-long incarceration means that Dangerous Offenders applications must be strongly opposed. If you are facing the possibility of being labelled a Dangerous Offender, contact the lawyers at Hicks Adams. We have a tremendous amount of experience and success in this difficult area, having represented dozens of persons at trial and on appeal who faced the possibility of a Dangerous Offender designation. We always fight to prevent our clients from being convicted of any serious injury offences. If convicted, we will turn to our network of experts, which includes experienced and well-respected forensic psychiatrists, to gather evidence that will assist us in arguing that a Dangerous Offender designation is unnecessary and that a long-term offender designation or another lesser penalty will suffice.