In the Criminal Code, summary by a maximum $5,000 fine or six months’ imprisonment, or both. The maximum penalty for most minor indictable offences, such as theft or possession of stolen property under $5,000, where these are proceeded with by way of indictable offence, is two years’ imprisonment. The two-year maximum also applies to the indictable offence of skipping bail. More serious indictable offences bear maximum jail terms of five, seven, ten, fourteen years, or life. There is no restriction on the amount of the fine that can be imposed as sentence for most indictable offences.
Under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, a first conviction for a summary offence carries a maximum penalty of a fine of $1,000 or imprisonment for six months, or both. A subsequent conviction for a summary offence carries a maximum penalty of a fine of $2,000 or imprisonment for one year, or both. If the Crown Prosecutor proceeds by indictment of possession of a narcotic, the maximum penalty is seven years. The Controlled Drugs and Substances Act states that offences such as importing a narcotic (e.g., cocaine, heroin, or marijuana) carry a maximum prison term of life.
Offences under the drinking and driving sections of the Criminal Code carry the same minimum penalties for conviction of a summary offence or an indictable offence. Penalties are increased on the basis of whether the offence is a second, third or subsequent conviction. For example, for a first offence of impaired driving, the minimum penalty is a fine of $1,000. For a second offence of impaired driving, whether summary or indictable, there is an automatic jail term of not less than thirty days. For any subsequent offences, there is an automatic imprisonment for a term of not less than one hundred and days. Where the offence is prosecuted by indictment, there is a maximum term of imprisonment not exceeding five years, and where the offence is punishable on summary conviction, imprisonment shall not exceed eighteen months. The same penalty provisions apply to the offences of refusing to take a breathalyzer test.