section 809(3)

INTRODUCTION AND BRIEF DESCRIPTION

If a defendant is ordered to pay a fine or sum of money and fails to do so, they may be subject to imprisonment and any costs awarded are included as part of the fine or sum of money.

SECTION WORDING

809(3) Where a fine or sum of money or both are adjudged to be paid by a defendant and a term of imprisonment in default of payment is imposed, the defendant is, in default of payment, liable to serve the term of imprisonment imposed, and for the purposes of this subsection, any costs that are awarded against the defendant shall be deemed to be part of the fine or sum of money adjudged to be paid.

EXPLANATION

Section 809(3) of the Criminal Code of Canada is an important provision that highlights the consequences of failing to pay fines or sums of money that have been adjudged by the court. According to this section, when a defendant is ordered to pay a fine or sum of money and a term of imprisonment in default of payment is imposed, the defendant becomes legally liable to serve the term of imprisonment if they fail to make the required payment. This provision is intended to ensure that offenders take responsibility for their actions and understand the gravity of their offences. When an offender is sentenced to pay a fine or sum of money, the court expects them to do so in a timely and efficient manner. However, if the offender fails to make the payment, the court can impose additional penalties, such as a term of imprisonment, to enforce compliance with the sentence. Moreover, the provision also clarifies that any costs awarded against the defendant will be considered part of the fine or sum of money adjudged to be paid. This means that if the defendant is ordered to pay a fine and is also required to pay court costs, the failure to pay either can lead to a term of imprisonment in default of payment. Overall, Section 809(3) of the Criminal Code of Canada ensures accountability in the criminal justice system by enforcing compliance with sentences and promoting the timely payment of fines and sums of money adjudged by the court. It serves as a warning to offenders that failing to meet their legal obligations can incur serious consequences and that compliance is crucial to fulfilling a sentence.

COMMENTARY

Section 809(3) of the Criminal Code of Canada outlines the consequences that a defendant may face in default of paying a fine or sum of money levied against them. The section highlights the legal principle that a defendant is liable for both the fine and imprisonment imposed if they default on payment of the fine. This provision is critical as it ensures that fines and other monetary sanctions imposed by the courts serve as effective deterrents to criminal behavior. Should an offender choose not to pay a fine, the section allows the court to impose a term of imprisonment of equal value, which serves as a punishment for the offending party. Moreover, the section outlines that any costs awarded against the defendant are deemed to be part of the sum of money adjudged to be paid. This ensures that the defendant is responsible for the total cost of the proceedings and removes any incentive for the defendant to drag out the case with unnecessary legal maneuvers. However, many have criticized the use of fines in the criminal justice system as being ineffective, especially in cases where the offender may lack the financial resources to pay the fine. Critics argue that the imposition of fines on individuals from low-income backgrounds or those who are marginalized leads to further socioeconomic discrimination and ultimately results in default and imprisonment. In such cases, the punishment imposed for not paying a fine may be more severe than the crime committed, causing undue stress and hardship on the individual. Additionally, it has been noted that the system of fines in the criminal justice system disproportionately affects certain marginalized groups, such as indigenous peoples, and those from the African American and Hispanic communities. This highlights the issue of systemic discrimination within the criminal justice system and its impact on marginalized populations. In conclusion, while Section 809(3) of the Criminal Code of Canada provides useful provisions for the imposition of penalties and the collection of debts, there is a need to consider the broader implications that arise from the use of fines in the criminal justice system. The system must address the root causes of criminal behavior, including the socioeconomic factors that affect offenders, to prevent the imposition of fines resulting in a disproportionate punishment for those who may already be marginalized. The authorities need to uphold justice with fairness, equality, and economically oriented.

STRATEGY

Section 809(3) of the Criminal Code of Canada can have significant implications for defendants who are unable to pay a fine or sum of money that has been adjudged against them. The section enables the court to impose a term of imprisonment in default of payment, which can greatly impact the defendant's life and future. As such, it is crucial for legal professionals to consider various strategic approaches to dealing with this section of the Criminal Code. One of the primary strategic considerations is assessing the defendant's ability to pay the fine or sum of money. It is essential to determine if the defendant has suffered financial hardship, and the reasons behind their inability to pay. If the defendant has faced financial difficulties due to factors beyond their control, such as illness or loss of employment, legal professionals may argue for leniency and advocate for alternative forms of sentencing. One such strategy that can be employed is to seek a restitution order that allows the defendant to pay in installments or over an extended period. Restitution orders can be a practical solution, particularly in cases where the defendant's financial circumstances may improve in the future. Furthermore, other alternatives such as community service or a suspended sentence may also be considered in place of a term of imprisonment. Another essential strategic approach is negotiating with the prosecution or Crown counsel for a fair and reasonable plea deal. A plea deal may be used to illustrate the defendant's cooperation and genuine willingness to accept responsibility for their actions. In such cases, the defendant may agree to plead guilty to the charges, provided that they receive a reduced sentence that does not include imprisonment. It is also crucial to consider whether the imposition of a term of imprisonment in default of payment would be a disproportionate punishment. Legal professionals may argue that the sentence would not be in line with the principles of fundamental justice and may have deleterious effects on the defendant's life. Furthermore, it may be advisable to seek out specialized legal assistance from experts who specialize in finance or debt consolidation. Such professionals may be able to propose alternative solutions and arrangements that can help the defendant pay back the fine or sum of money owed without resorting to imprisonment. In conclusion, section 809(3) of the Criminal Code of Canada can pose significant challenges for defendants facing a term of imprisonment in default of payment of a fine or sum of money. Navigating this section effectively requires legal professionals to be strategic and consider various options carefully. Through a tailored approach, legal professionals can help defendants achieve fair and just outcomes that reflect their financial realities and life circumstances.