What is a Summary Conviction Offence?

Summary conviction offences are the least serious type offences under the Criminal Code, punishable by lesser penalties and involving a more simplified trial procedure (no jury) than indictable offences.
General Overview of Summary Offences
  • Trials take place in provincial court with a judge only;
  • There is no option for a preliminary hearing or to be tried in a higher court;
  • The accused does not have to submit fingerprints or have their picture taken under the Identification of Criminals Act
  • An offender may apply to receive a record suspension three years after the sentence is complete.

It is important to note that an accused charged with a summary offence may choose to not appear in court and have their lawyer or paralegal represent them.  However there are situations where the judge may order the accused to appear.

Penalty for Summary Offences

The penalty for summary offences are less harsh, with a maximum fine of $5,000.00 and/or imprisonment of no more than two years served in a provincial institution.  Generally, most summary offences have a maximum of six months' imprisonment.

Common Summary Offences
  • Disturbances in a Public Place
  • Trespassing at Night
  • Unlawful Assembly
  • Public Nudity
  • Harassing phone calls
  • Soliciting Prostitution
  • Unlawful Assembly

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