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Categories of criminal offences

Region: Ontario Answer Number: 738

Being charged with a crime means that you have been charged with a specific offence under federal law such as the Canadian Criminal Code. The three main categories of criminal offences are summary conviction offences, indictable offences, and hybrid offences. Each category has different penalties and different modes or kinds of trials.

Summary conviction offences

Summary conviction offences, such as an indecent act, are the least serious type of offences. If you are charged with a summary conviction offence, you will not have a preliminary hearing, and your trial will be held in the Ontario Court of Justice before a judge only. There will not be a jury.

Indictable offences

Indictable offences, such as murder, are the most serious type of offences. The specific indictable offence you have been charged with will determine whether you will have the choice of having a preliminary hearing, whether you will have the right to select a trial by a judge and a jury, and which court your trial will be held in. Because of the serious nature of indictable offences, if you are charged with an indictable offence, you will require a lawyer to represent you.

Hybrid offences

The third kind of offence is called a hybrid offence. For hybrid offences, such as assault, the Crown prosecutor chooses whether the offence will be treated as a less serious summary conviction offence or a more serious indictable offence. The prosecutor’s decision will affect where the trial takes place and which penalties will apply.

For more information about criminal law and the justice system in Canada, visit the Government of Canada, Department of Justice, or the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General.

To erase your criminal record, call toll-free 1-866-898-7767 or learn more at Pardon Pros. It’s easier than you think.

If you have been charged with a criminal offence, contact our preferred experts, Rotenberg Shidlowski Jesin Criminal Lawyers .


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