Most criminal offences are “hybrid” offences. This means the Crown uses the specific facts of each case to decide if to prosecute the case as a summary offence or as an indictable offence:
Summary offences are considered less serious. They go to the Ontario Court of Justice where the court process is simpler and faster. There is never a jury. A judge decides the case on their own. The maximum sentence is 2 years in jail, or a $5000 fine, or both.
- Indictable offences are considered more serious. They go to the Superior Court of Justice where the court process is more complicated and takes longer. Some cases are decided by a jury and some by a judge. The maximum sentence is often longer than 2 years in jail.