glossary

Glossary

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An absolute discharge is a type of sentence. Absolute discharge means that the court found you guilty, but decided not to punish you in any other way. You don’t get a criminal record. Absolute discharges are automatically removed from the Canadian Police Information Center computer system 1 year after the court’s decision.

Title: acquittal
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An acquittal means that the court found you not guilty.

Title: adjourned
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If your case is adjourned, it will be finished in court for that day, and will continue on a future date. You will have to come back to court for your next court date.

Title: adjournment
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An adjournment is when your day in court is cancelled and rescheduled for another date. This can happen for many reasons, for example, if you aren’t ready to go to court or the court does not have time to hear your case on a particular day.

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The administration of justice is the process through which the justice system works. It includes the people, activities, and organization of the justice system. It is used to find, investigate, arrest, and try people suspected of committing a criminal offence.

Title: affidavit
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An affidavit is a document where a witness makes statements about facts that they say are true. The document must be sworn in front of an authorized person, such as a lawyer or commissioner of oaths.

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An “information” is a formal document used to accuse a person of a criminal offence. The information begins a criminal proceeding in court. The information is usually sworn by a police officer who has reasonable and probable grounds to believe the person committed a criminal offence.

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If you've been accused of a criminal offence, an appearance notice tells you when you must go to court. If the offence is a hybrid offence or an indictable offence, the appearance notice will also give you the date and time when you must have your fingerprints taken.

An appearance notice lets you out of custody until your trial. The police officer is not allowed to give you an appearance notice if:

  • your offence is more serious
  • evidence could be lost or destroyed
  • a criminal offence may continue to happen
  • the public would not be safe
  • the police are not sure who you are
Title: arrest
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An arrest happens when the police take you into custody so they can charge you with a criminal offence. Being in custody means that you’re not free to go.

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An arrest warrant is an order from a court that gives the police the power to arrest someone.

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