Regulatory Offences are provincial, non-criminal offences. They include offences set out in legislation such as:
- the Highway Traffic Act;
- the Liquor License Act;
- the Occupational Health and Safety Act;
- the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act;
- the Fire Protection and Prevention Act; and
- the Environmental Protection Act.
It is much easier to be convicted of a Regulatory Offence than a criminal offence. Whereas criminal offences require proof that the accused intended to commit the crime, many Regulatory Offences do not require proof of intent. Negligence is enough in some cases, and in absolute liability offences, proof that the accused did the act in question is enough for a conviction.
Consequences of a Regulatory Offence Conviction can be Severe
Since Regulatory Offence convictions do not result in a criminal record, many people do not take them seriously. However, the consequences of a Regulatory Offence conviction can be significant. The penalties can include large monetary fines, probation orders and even jail time, and some Highway Traffic Act offences can result in a driver’s license suspension.
Many serious non-legal consequences may also accompany a conviction for a Regulatory Offence. For example, a violation of the Highway Traffic Act may result in a substantial increase to insurance rates, or a violation of the Liquor License Act may result in a bar or restaurant having its license suspended for weeks during its busiest season.
Criminal Lawyers Skillfully Defending Against Regulatory Offences
Few people realize that there are many ways to defend against Regulatory Offence charges. Those charged with Regulatory Offences should consult with an experienced criminal defence lawyer to explore their options before even speaking to a regulator.
As a large criminal law firm whose lawyers are actively engaged in litigating and defending against criminal and provincial offences, Hicks Adams LLP has the resources and the breadth of knowledge necessary to effectively assist our clients in defending against Regulatory Offence charges.