Is sentencing different if I’m Indigenous?

5. Find out about weapons prohibitions if you fish or hunt

It's important to tell your lawyer or if you fish or hunt for cultural, traditional, or employment reasons, or to provide food for yourself and your family.

Charges for domestic violence, weapons, or drugs usually include a , or mandatory ban on weapons. A weapons prohibition is a that prevents you from having weapons.

For other offences, the weapons prohibition might not be mandatory but the Crown might still for ask the court for one.

The length of time that you're banned from having weapons depends on whether it's your first . It also depends on the type of offence. Usually, the minimum length of time for a weapons prohibition is ten years. A weapons prohibition can also be lifelong. So, if you hunt or fish, it's very important to speak to your lawyer or duty counsel before you're sentenced.

Your lawyer can explain to the court why you should get an exemption for hunting or fishing to provide food for you and your family. An exemption can also be given when the hunting or fishing is important to you for traditional or cultural reasons. These exemptions are not just for Indigenous people, but for all accused.

For employment, a judge would only give an exemption if a ban on possessing weapons would result in you being totally unable to work. The judge will not give an exception if you can continue to work in that job and not have a weapon, or if you're able to find other employment.

Just because you hunt or fish to provide food or employment, it does not mean you will be allowed to possess weapons. The judge will decide whether to grant an exemption after looking at your criminal record, if you have one. The judge will also look at the circumstances of the crime you have been charged with and other safety issues.

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