What Happens If You Are A Party To An Offence?

In Ontario, being a party to an offence means you were somehow involved in the commission of a crime. You may be considered a party to an offence if you are the principal offender (the person who physically commits the offence), an aider (someone who assists the principal offender in carrying out the offence), or an abettor (someone who encourages the commission of the crime).

The definition of “party to an offence” as well as the different types of parties to an offence are set out in section 21 of the Criminal Code of Canada.

Examples of Involvement

  1. Principal Offender: This is the individual who directly commits the offense. For example, if someone physically assaults another person, they would be considered the principal offender.
  2. Aider: This is an individual who aids another person in the commission of an offence. For example, someone driving a getaway car after a bank robbery may be considered an aider and will be a party to the offence of robbery.
  3. Abettor: This is an individual who encourages others to commit the crime. For example, if an individual is assaulting another person and someone stands by and laughs, they may be considered an abettor and will be a party to the offence of assault. However, mere presence at the scene of a crime does not automatically make a person a party to the crime.

Potential Consequences

If you are found to be a party to an offense in Ontario, you could face serious consequences, including:

  • Criminal Charges: You may be charged with the same offence as the principal offender, even if you didn’t directly commit the act. This means that Canadian courts treat parties to an offence as equal participants in the commission of a crime.
  • Penalties: If convicted, you could face fines, probation, community service, or even imprisonment, depending on the severity of the offence.
  • Criminal Record: A conviction could result in a permanent criminal record, which can have long-lasting consequences on your personal and professional life.

Defending Against Allegations

If you’ve been accused of being a party to an offense in Ontario, it’s crucial to seek legal representation immediately. A skilled criminal defense lawyer can help you understand your rights, build a strong defense, and navigate the complexities of the legal system.

At Collett Read LLP, we specialize in criminal defense law and have extensive experience representing clients facing various charges, including being a party to an offense. If you find yourself in need of legal advice, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team at Collett Read LLP at (905) 541-2228 or fill out a form for a confidential consultation.