I can’t make it for my court date. What do I do?

2. Find out what type of charge it is

If you can’t reschedule your court date and you can’t attend yourself, you will need someone to attend on your behalf. The rules about who can appear in court for you, and how they must do that, depend on the type of .

There are three types of offences:

  • a
  • a
  • an

Find out what type of offence you’re charged with

If you’ve received your Crown Screening form , it may tell you. This is also called a Charge Screening form. If you don’t have the Crown Screening form or it doesn’t tell you, you can ask when you’re in court.

Ask the Crown or if “the Crown has made their election“. When the Crown makes an election, they decide how your case will be handled.

If the Crown has not made an election, the Court will handle your case by until the Crown makes a decision.

Summary offences

Summary offences are the least serious criminal offences. They have a maximum of 2 years in jail, a $5000 fine, or both. Some examples of summary offences are:

  • causing a disturbance in a public place
  • trespassing at night

Hybrid offences

Most Criminal Code offences are hybrid offences. A hybrid offence is a criminal offence that can be treated as an indictable offence or a summary offence. The maximum sentence for some hybrid offences prosecuted is 18 months in jail.

The Crown decides how the offence will be treated. When the Crown makes this decision, they are said to have “made their election“.

Some examples of hybrid offences are:

  • theft under $5,000
  • fraud under $5,000

Indictable offences

The most serious crimes are called indictable offences. The maximum sentence for some indictable offences is a lifetime penitentiary sentence.

Some examples of indictable offences are:

  • theft over $5,000
  • breaking and entering
  • manslaughter
  • murder
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