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Administrative Offences

Administrative Offences are quasi-criminal, regulatory matters. They are prosecuted under the Traffic Safety Act, Gaming and Liquor Act, Fisheries Act, Aeronautics Act, and Fair Trade Act, to name a few.

If you’re facing an Administrative Offence charge, you need to know the penalties and what steps can be taken to avoid them. Our defence lawyers will take you through the step-by-step process and help you understand what to expect. We will represent your best interests and prepare fulsome submissions in support of our position, or help you appeal a decision that has already been made.


1. What are Administrative offences?

Administrative offences are quasi-criminal, regulatory matters. They are prosecuted under provincial and federal legislations, such as the Traffic Safety Act, Gaming and Liquor Act, Fisheries Act, Aeronautics Act, Fair Trade Act, and numerous other acts and regulations. These offences differ from criminal charges which are laid under the Criminal Code of Canada and the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.

2. What happens if I am found guilty after trial?

The consequences may vary depending on the aggravating and mitigating factors that are present in your own, unique case. Whether you are ordered to pay a small fine or to a period of incarceration will also often depend on your criminal history and the nature of the offence. Your defence counsel will canvas with you about the possible outcomes at sentencing and prepare submissions in advance of sentencing to ensure your best foot is being put forward.

3. Is it possible that my charges will be withdrawn?

Your charges could be withdrawn if you are eligible for the Alternative Measures Program (AMP) and successfully complete the conditions of the program.

If you are charged with a substantial offence (such as Theft) in addition to an administrative offence, Roulston Urquhart Criminal Defence Firm can act on your behalf in negotiating the withdrawal of the administrative offence.

4. What defences do I have?

A number of administrative charges are ‘strict liability’, meaning that the Crown Prosecutor only has to prove the prohibited action without regard to your intention. Defending yourself against these charges requires a lawyer who is skilled in cross-examination and can identify flaws with the Crown’s case against you. The Roulston Urquhart Criminal Defence team prides itself on keeping up-to-date with administrative law and the ever-changing legislations under which you may be charged.

5. Should I plead guilty to an Administrative Offence?

Pleading guilty to an administrative offence will not necessarily result in a criminal record, however, a finding of guilt can still have a substantial impact on your life. Some administrative charges carry serious consequences. For example, according to the Provincial Offences Procedures Act (also called ‘POPA’), certain provisions under the Traffic Safety Act can result in a $2,000 fine or a 6-month jail term. More significantly, the Aeronautics Act allows for sentences as high as a $100,000 fine and a one-year jail term.

Recently won cases

R v N.A.

Client was charged with several offences pursuant to Calgary municipal bylaws including s 25(7), animal attack on a person causing severe injury. It was alleged that a large dog bit an older man in the face and hand requiring plastic surgery. The dog was seized by animal services. Defence counsel negotiated resolution and the return of the dog with the crown prosecutor.

Successful result: Several of the tickets were withdrawn and the dog was returned to the family. The dog was not euthanized.

R v I.I.

The client was charged with 3 counts under the Alberta Fair Trading Act, including practicing an automotive business without a licence, misrepresentation of the product, and selling a vehicle which no reasonable use and enjoyment could be had. The complainant had made a request for restitution in the amount of $7000.00. Defence negotiated resolution with the crown prosecutor. The client entered a plea of guilty for practicing an automotive business without a licence and received a small fine. The other counts were withdrawn and the crown did not seek restitution. 

Successful result: Client received a small fine and was not required to pay restitution.