5 Surprising Things That Are Criminal Offenses

The Criminal Code of Canada has a more than a few laws that can make for some interesting legal situations. Some of the risks of running afoul the law are not only fines, but actual criminal charges that will generate a criminal record for you.

Paying with Too Much Pocket Change

This one isn’t a law that will get you a criminal charge, just shown the door. According to Canada’s Currency Act of 1985, there are limits to the number of coins you can use to pay a merchant. Using nickels to pay any purchase over $5 is the first limit. Any payment over $10 means no dimes or quarters. The loonie limit is $25. Toonies can pay up to a $40 transaction. Situations like this video won’t happen in Canada. At least in theory.

Darth Vader’s Breathing

Believe it or not it’s true, you can trademark the sound of someone’s breathing. Lucasfilm trademarked the fictional character Darth Vader’s (Anakin Skywalker) unique and universally recognized breathing from behind his mask.
Trademark laws are serious things. Look at the possible consequences:
Every person commits an offence who sells or offers for sale, or distributes on a commercial scale, any goods in association with a trade-mark, if that sale or distribution is or would be contrary to section 19 or 20 and the person knows.

Stopping a Wedding

How many movies have you seen where the lead character runs into a church yelling to stop the wedding for one reason or another. Trying that in real life could result in being criminally charged and ending up with a criminal record.
According to the Criminal Code, anyone that decides to use “threats or force” to prevent an officiant from celebrating a religious service can be charged with an indictable offence. The punishment, imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years.

Counterfeit Goods

Buying a single article of clothing such as a hockey jersey that infringes on a trademarked logo is, from what we can tell, not a crime. Nor is giving it as a gift. However, if outfitting the hockey team you sponsor with counterfeit jerseys, it could be considered to be commercial distribution. Distribution would make you guilty of an offense.

The current estimate is that an estimated $20 billion to $30 billion in counterfeit consumer goods are sold in Canada every year.

paris hilton
© Glenn Francis, www.PacificProDigital.com

Using The term “That’s hot”

Reality star Paris Hilton made such an impression with her signature phrase, “That’s hot,” that Hilton trademarked it. While using it non commercially is not much of an issue, commercial use could get you a fine and criminal record. When Hallmark use of the phrase on a greeting card Paris Hilton promptly sued the company.


This is an interesting law that eventually found itself repealed in 2018 as it may infringe on some religious ceremonies.
Everyone who “fraudulently” pretends to exercise or to use any kind of witchcraft, sorcery, enchantment or conjuration, is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.
Telling a fortune for a “consideration” is also a summary offense.
This brings up two interesting questions. If the law was against fraudulent witchcraft, then it implies there is non-fraudulent or genuine witchcraft? Also, does striking down a law on fraudulent witchcraft mean the Canadian legal system believes there is honest witchcraft? What do you think?

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