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Criminal Charges. Indictable, Summary & Hybrid Explained

Types of Criminal Charges

When an individual is arrested, they receive a set of criminal charges. Charges mean that the individual has been accused of committing an offence contrary to the Criminal Code, and that they could be facing sanctions such as probation, a fine, or jail time. There are three main types of criminal charges (offences): summary, indictable, and hybrid.

What do Summary, Indictable and Hybrid mean?

Summary offences are offences that carry a maximum of 6 months in prison, or a fine of up to $5000, or both. Generally these offences are less serious than indictable offences. The charging document for summary offences is called an information. Indictable offences can carry punishments that include fines over $5000 or more than 6 months in prison, or both. The charging document for an indictable offence is called an indictment, and when an individual is facing charges related to an indictable offence, they can elect whether to have a trial with or without a jury. Hybrid offences are offences that can either be summary or indictable, depending on what the Crown elects. Most offences in the Criminal Code are hybrid offences, and the offence will be deemed indictable until the Crown makes the election.

The Smordin Law Approach

In Ontario there are two courts that hear criminal matters: the Ontario Provincial Offencese, and the Superior Court of Justice. The Ontario Provincial Offences hears both summary and indictable offences, but the Superior Court of Justice only hears indictable offences.

The lawyers at Smordin Law have years of experience dealing with all types of criminal offences. If you or someone you know are facing criminal charges for any type of offence, contact Smordin Law to discuss your options.

Criminal Code, RSC 1985, c C-46, ss. 469, 787.

Interpretation Act, RCS 1985 c I-21, s. 34(1)(a).

Smordin Law Criminal Lawyers
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Hamilton, ON
L8R 1A2
Tel: 1 (905) 525-0005
Toll Free: 1 (844) 525-0005
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Victim Surcharge. What you need to know.

A victim surcharge is an additional – financial – penalty that convicted individuals face upon sentencing. The money collected helps to fund programs for victims of crime. If there’s a fine, the victim surcharge is an additional 30% of that fine. If there isn’t a fine, convicted individuals have to pay $100 for summary offences and $200 for indictable offences.

Judges find ways to get around Victim Surcharge

In October of 2013, the federal government made victim surcharges mandatory. In the years since then, several judges came up with creative ways to get around imposing the surcharge or have ignored it all together. Many judges object to imposing fines on impoverished offenders. For example, in 2014, an Ontario Court of Justice judge, David Paciocco, found that a $900 fine was grossly disproportionate that it would outrage the standards of decency. The offender was impoverished, Inuit, and had addiction issues. Justice Paciocco found that fining the offender $900 was cruel and unusual punishment.

Several other judges have followed Justice Paciocco’s example but recent appeals decision have upheld the victim surcharges as constitutional. This past September, Ontario Superior Court Justice Laurie Lacelle overturned an Ontario Court of Justice decision that found that the surcharge was unconstitutional. Justice Lacelle found that fining the offender $700 was not cruel and unusual under the Charter, even though the offender makes $136/month.

Although there are many judges and lawyers criticizing victim surcharges, at this point, they remain mandatory. That means that, in addition to potential jail time and a criminal record, convicted individuals can face steep victim surcharges depending on the number of offences. This is particularly troubling for low-income offenders.

The risk of an additional financial penalty on sentencing highlights the importance of having a lawyer to be on your side in court. Smordin Law accepts Legal Aid certificates and the lawyers have experience and sensitivity representing low-income offenders.

victim surcharge