Criminal Offences in Canada: Summary Conviction vs. Indictable Offences

Believe it or not, getting convicted for criminal charges can happen to any of us. Sometimes, the convictions are unreal and based on false evidence. Whereas, at other times, we just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Whatever the circumstances are, if you ever get convicted and charged with a crime, the first thing you want to do is contacting a Criminal Defence Lawyer . With that said, let us learn about the possible consequences following a charged crime.
Suppose you have been convicted of a crime in Canada. There are three types of consequent offenses:
  1. Summary Conviction Offences
  2. Indictable Offences
  3. Offenses where the Crown may proceed with indictment or summary conviction, also known as the hybrid offenses.

Summary Conviction Offences

Criminal Offences in Canada: Summary Conviction vs. Indictable Offences
Criminal Offences in Canada: Summary Conviction vs. Indictable Offences
The least serious crimes fall into the category of summary conviction offenses as per the Canadian criminal code. A few common examples of such minor offences include the possession of marijuana (less than 30 mg), offering prostitution services, public nudity, etc. Typically, there is no physical harm or injury involved in summary offences. The judge usually gives the verdict based on evidence present and the severity of the minor crime. Once convicted of a summary offence, the general six-month limitation period applies. The person charged with pure summary conviction is not required to submit their fingerprints for their record. Also, they can opt for Summary Conviction Appeals by appealing to the Superior Court of their jurisdiction.

Indictable Offences

The most serious crimes fall into the category of indictable offences. The crimes include but are not limited to murder, terrorism-related activities, sexual assaults, robbery, human trafficking, drug trafficking, etc. Given the nature of the crimes, it is not hard to imagine how severe the consequences might be. One can expect the maximum life sentence, often, without the possibility of parole. Usually, the person who has been charged with indictable offence, can select to be heard by an only judge at the Provincial Court. Or, they can opt to be heard by the judge at the Superior Court. Again, suppose you have been charged with an indictable offence. In that case, the best thing to do is to remain silent and ask for a criminal lawyer. These professionals use their expertise to minimize the possible sentence and make life easier for their clients.

Hybrid Offences

You might be surprised to know that the majority of Canadian offences are hybrid offences. These are those offences where the Court may choose to proceed by either summary conviction or indictment conviction. The decision depends on the evidence and severity of the crime’s nature. The typical crimes that fall under this category include but are not limited to sexual assaults, robbery under $5000.00, attempted assaults with weapons, and the possession of cocaine. The Crown’s decision to proceed by either summary conviction or indictment is optional and not subject to be reviewed by any of the Superior or Provincial courts. However, suppose there has been an intentional disruption or abuse of the process. In that case, the intervention by the court might be necessary.
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