Convicted of a Crime

If you have been convicted of a crime, you have stated to the court you are guilty (called pleading guilty) or you have been found guilty by the court (judge or jury).

Helpful Terms - Conviction

The following terms are helpful in understanding the meaning of conviction.

  • Guilty – You have stated (admitted) to the court that you have committed a crime or the court has decided the evidence proves beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the crime.
  • Plea - The statement you make to the court when asked if you are guilty or not guilty of committing the crime.
  • Sentence – The order of the judge setting out the punishment for the crime.
  • Offender – You have been found guilty or pleaded guilty to the crime or crimes you were charged with and the court has convicted you.

Possible Court Outcomes

A criminal proceeding has many possible outcomes. To learn more, see Court Decision.

Sentencing

If you are convicted (after pleading or being found guilty), the judge will make an order setting out the consequences of your crime. This is your sentence. The judge will decide on your sentence during a sentencing hearing. This hearing may be held on the same day you plead guilty or the court decides you are guilty. Or, it may be postponed to another date. Either Crown or defence counsel can request the sentencing hearing be postponed. The judge will decide. See Understanding Your Sentence (Adult Offender) to learn more.

Pre-Sentence Reports

The judge may request a pre-sentence report. The report provides information about your situation that helps the judge decide your sentence. 

For Aboriginal offenders, special sentencing reports, called Gladue reports, may be prepared.  The Gladue court case clarified the duty of sentencing judges to consider background and cultural factors in sentencing Aboriginal offenders. This means the court must take into account all available sanctions other than imprisonment that are reasonable in the circumstances of Aboriginal offenders. All Aboriginal people have the right to request a Gladue report at the sentencing stage.

Criminal Record

If you have been convicted of a crime and have not received a discharge you will have a criminal record. If you been convicted but have received a discharge, you will not have a criminal record. Visit Your Criminal Record to learn more.