McLeod Legal Services provides representation and advice for persons charges with summary conviction offences. Some types of offences are classified as hybrid offences. If the Crown counsel elects to proceed summarily, we will also provide representation and advice. If you have been charged with an indictable offence (the most serious types of offences under the Criminal Code), call us and we will refer you to a Criminal lawyer who can help.
A summary conviction offence is the least serious kind of criminal offence under Canada’s Criminal Code. It is also known as a “petty crime”, for example, disturbing the peace.
Here is some information that you should know if you are charged with committing a summary offence.
- These offences usually carry a maximum punishment of six months in jail or a $5,000 fine. There are certain summary offences that can carry a maximum punishment of eighteen months in jail. These are generally referred to as “super summary” offences.
- Alternative measures can be considered for less serious summary offences.
- Trials are held before a judge in the Provincial Court.
- Police cannot take your fingerprints (although it is legal to take fingerprints and photos for hybrid offences)
- As an adult, you may apply to receive a record suspension three years after you complete your sentence.
With a hybrid offence, Crown counsel must choose whether to treat the matter as a summary offence or an indictable offence. This is called the Crown election. How the Crown decides or elects to treat the offence generally depends on how serious the offence is.
Here is some information you should know if you are charged with a hybrid offence.
- If Crown counsel chooses (elects) the summary process, then the trial will be in Provincial Court.
- If Crown counsel chooses (elects) the indictable process, in most cases you will have a choice whether to proceed in Provincial Court or Ontario Superior Court.
- The Crown election will also determine the maximum penalty for the offence.
Some types of hybrid offences (called absolute jurisdiction offences) will always proceed in Provincial Court, whether the Crown chooses to treat the offence as summary or indictable. An example is theft under $5,000.
Why seek legal advice and representation?
Persons with criminal records may be denied certain types of jobs or employment. Employers may ask for a criminal record check prior to employment. With a criminal record you may also have your ability to travel restricted for example, you might try to drive into the USA but be stopped at the border and denied entry into the country.
Any conviction for a criminal charge will mean that the accused will obtain a criminal record and have their fingerprints and photograph recorded on the Royal Canadian Police Criminal Record System for life.
For any criminal charges your should at least get legal advice to know what to expect at court. If the matter is serious, the crown attorney will want you to have legal counsel on the trial date.
If you have been accused of a crime, seek proper legal advice prior to trial.