glossary

summary offence

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:

  1. 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.
     

  2. 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.

The youth court process and youth sentences are different.

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