3 Types of Offenses in Canada

In different countries, classification of criminal offences may be different from others, and so are their penalties and punishments. In Canada, there are 3 over-arching types of criminal offences and criminal lawyers Toronto specialize in any of these fields. These over-arching categorization of offences dictate, to some degree, the punishment.  It’s akin to the USA categorization of “misdemeanor” and “felony” offences.

Before moving on to the classifications, make sure you hired the best lawyer who can address the nature and severity of the offence on you. For example, if you’ve been charged with domestic assault, you can contact Brian Domestic Assault Law firm for best defence.

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Here are the 3 main classifications in a nutshell:

  1. Summary Conviction offence

An offence that is not as serious as an indictable offence.  Summary offences are usually tried in the lower courts (provincial) and have a less complicated process and lesser sentence or punishment.  An example of a summary conviction offence would be trespassing.

  1. Indictable offence

This is more serious charge than a summary offence.  Indictable offences are generally heard by a judge and jury in the higher courts and the sentence tends to be heavier than sentences for a summary conviction offence.  An example of an indictable offence would be murder.

  1. Hybrid offences

A hybrid offence is an offence that could go either way.  It could be tried as a summary conviction (summarily) or as an indictable offence (by indictment).  It is up to the prosecutor (crown counsel) to choose how it will charge the individual.  Hybrid offences generally fall in between summary convictions and indictable offences in terms of seriousness and in Canada the majority of criminal charges tend to be classified as hybrid offences.  Examples of a hybrid offence would be impaired driving.

Legal Processes

In case you’re arrested;

  • The paperwork will be completed by the prosecutor or Crown Counsel
  • The paperwork will be handed over to you or your criminal defence lawyer Toronto

This paperwork is also known as “Disclosure. Some people call it “the information” document. It reveals the type of charges you’ve been accused of, whether summary offence or indictable offence. Even if what you’re charged with is a “hybrid” offence, the Information will set out whether the prosecutor is proceeding with your charge “summarily” or as an “indictable” offence.

Tip from the Pros

Sometimes, people chose to hire the lawyer after being provided with the paperwork by the prosecutor. If you belong to this category, and are looking for a Toronto criminal defense lawyer:

  1. When you schedule your consultation, it’s a good idea to take your paperwork with you so the lawyer with whom you consult can review the particulars, and
  2. Take you through the type of offence you’re facing as well as provide your rights and/or legal defences going forward.

Conclusion

Knowing the law is really important and there is no excuse if you violate any rules and regulations just because you don’t know them. With all the basic information available here, now all you need is, find the right lawyer to represent you in the court.