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Adult Criminal Court Statistics, 1996-97

NCJ Number
D Carriere
Date Published
17 pages
This survey of adult criminal court cases in participating Canadian jurisdictions found that adult criminal courts disposed of 859,890 charges or 417,393 cases during 1996-1997.
Three offenses accounted for almost 40 percent of cases heard in adult criminal courts: impaired driving (15 percent), common assault (12 percent), and theft (11 percent). Of all cases, 85 percent involved males and 64 percent involved adults between 18 and 34 years of age. Adults between 18 and 24 years of age were proportionately more involved in property crime cases than adults in other age groups. Of all cases, 64 percent resulted in a finding of guilt for at least one charge in the case. The highest conviction rates were recorded for cases involving other Federal statutes (80 percent) and Criminal Code traffic offenses (77 percent). A prison sentence was imposed in 33 percent of cases with convictions, This proportion varied across jurisdictions, ranging from 21 percent in Nova Scotia to 50 percent in Prince Edward Island. Of cases resulting in prison, 50 percent of sentences were for 1 month or less, while 3 percent of sentences were for 2 years or more. The median length of prison sentences, excluding 1-day sentences, was 60 days. A sentence of probation was given in 41 percent of cases resulting in conviction, and the median length of probation sentences was 1 year. The accused was ordered to pay a fine in 44 percent of cases resulting in conviction. Of these cases, 56 percent were sentenced to pay a fine of $300 or less and 21 percent were sentenced to pay a fine of more than $500. Multiple charge cases tended to result in more serious sentences than single charge cases. In cases involving more serious offenses (crimes against the person, property crimes, and drug-related crimes), the median prison sentence length was about 50 percent longer for multiple charge cases. For cases requiring more than one court appearance (80 percent of the caseload), the median elapsed time from first to last court appearance was about 2.5 months. In general, the more serious offenses took longer to process, and the median elapsed time for offenses against the person was the longest at 4 months. 9 tables and 10 figures