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Victim Fine Surcharge Effects Eligibility If Not Paid

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Victim fine surcharges are defined as follows:
 
The federal victim surcharge, imposed on offenders at the time of sentencing, is used by provinces and territories to help fund programs and services for victims of crime.
 
The surcharges are mandatory in cases when the sentencing judge does not impose a fine. In cases where a fine is included as a sentence, the surcharge would be 30 per cent of it.
 
Victim fine surcharges are currently being challenged in the Supreme Court for constitutionality and the right for a Judge to show discretion in waiving a victim fine surcharge.  For the time being however, surcharges strongly impact many Pardon/Record Suspension applicant’s eligibility in major ways.
 
One client I worked with, for example, had an unpaid $50 victim surcharge from 1998 that he was completely unaware of.  Once paid (in 2017), his mandated ‘waiting period’ of five years began and he was no longer eligible for a Pardon/Record Suspension.  Many times, victim surcharges are not brought to the attention of a client by their lawyer or the court.  These charges may even appear anecdotal as they are not technically included with the official sentence received.
 
In addition, courts do not follow up on outstanding victim surcharges.  In all too many cases they remain dormant until they appear on a court record necessary for a Pardon/Record Suspension application.  Unfortunately, the client I dealt with now has to wait five years to apply for a Pardon/Record Suspension due to a fine surcharge he was not made aware of in 1998 despite paying all other associated fines.

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