A conditional sentence is served in the community rather than in custody and may be imposed only under the following circumstances:
- there is no minimum term of imprisonment for this offence under the law
- the maximum length of the sentence is two years less a day
- the court is satisfied that serving the sentence in the community would not pose a danger to public safety.
If the offender is sentenced to jail on another charge during the time he/she is serving a conditional sentence, the conditional sentence is suspended until the offender is released from jail, then resumes.
Supervision and conditions
An offender who is serving a conditional sentence in the community is supervised by a probation and parole officer and must comply with the conditions that are set out by the sentencing judge.
The conditions imposed on the offender are based on information that is specific to both the offender and the offence(s).
A conditional sentence has both mandatory and optional conditions.
Mandatory conditions include:
- keeping the peace and being of good behaviour
- appearing in court when required to do so by the court
- reporting to a supervisor as directed
- remaining within the province of Ontario unless written permission is obtained from the court or the supervisor
- promptly notifying the supervisor of any changes in employment or occupation
- providing advance notice of any changes in name or address.
Optional conditions may include, but not be limited to:
- community service work
- participation in rehabilitative or treatment programs
- prohibitions involving particular people, places, possessions or activities.
The supervising probation and parole officer establishes a supervision plan for the offender. The plan is based on the conditions and requirements of the conditional sentence order as well as the offender's assessed needs and risk to re-offend.
Failure to comply
Failure to comply with any of the conditions may result in the offender being returned to court. The court may:
- take no action
- change the optional conditions
- suspend the order and direct that the offender serve a portion of the unexpired sentence in custody
- terminate the order and direct that the offender be committed to custody until the sentence expires.