Types of Summary Offences Explained

Types of Summary Offences Explained

Types of Summary Offences Explained

Overview of Summary Offences

Summary offences, also known as petty crimes or minor offences, are criminal offenses that are less serious than indictable offenses. They are typically punishable by fines, probation, community service, or short-term imprisonment. Unlike indictable offenses, summary offences are usually heard in a lower court without a jury.

Examples of summary offences include public intoxication, disorderly conduct, trespassing, theft under a certain value, simple assault, and minor drug possession. These offenses are generally considered less harmful to society and carry lighter penalties compared to more serious crimes.

It is important to understand the nature and consequences of summary offences, as they can have an impact on your criminal record and future opportunities. By familiarizing yourself with the different types of summary offences, you can better navigate the legal system and make informed decisions.

Common Types of Summary Offences

 Some common types of summary offences include:

  • Disorderly conduct: Engaging in offensive, disorderly, or disruptive behavior in public places.
  • Public intoxication: Being intoxicated in a public place and causing a disturbance or endangering oneself or others.
  • Trespassing: Entering or remaining on someone else’s property without permission.
  • Theft under a certain value: Stealing property or goods that fall below a specified monetary threshold.
  • Simple assault: Physically or verbally attacking someone without causing serious harm.
  • Minor drug possession: Possessing a small amount of illegal drugs for personal use.

These are just a few examples, and the specific types of summary offences can vary depending on the jurisdiction. It is important to consult the relevant laws and regulations in your area to understand the exact nature and penalties associated with each offense.

Penalties for Summary Offences

A police car with lights on, driving down the street, enforcing the Provincial Offences Act.

 Common penalties for summary offences include:

  • Fines: Offenders may be required to pay a monetary fine as a punishment for their actions. The amount of the fine can vary depending on the severity of the offense.
  • Probation: Offenders may be placed on probation, which involves regular check-ins with a probation officer and adherence to certain conditions, such as attending counseling or community service.
  • Community service: Offenders may be required to perform a certain number of hours of community service as a way to give back to the community and make amends for their actions.
  •  Short-term imprisonment: In some cases, offenders may be sentenced to a short period of imprisonment, typically in a local jail or detention center.

It is important to note that the penalties for summary offences are generally less severe than those for indictable offenses. However, repeated offenses or more serious summary offences can lead to increased penalties and potential long-term consequences.

Legal Defences for Summary Offences

 Some common legal defenses for summary offences include:

  • Mistaken identity: Claiming that you were wrongly identified as the person who committed the offense.
  • Lack of intent: Arguing that you did not have the intention to commit the offense or that it was an accident.
  • Self-defense: Asserting that you acted in self-defense to protect yourself or others from harm.
  • Duress: Claiming that you were forced or coerced into committing the offense against your will.
  • Necessity: Arguing that you had no choice but to commit the offense to prevent greater harm.

It is important to consult with a legal professional to understand the specific defenses available to you based on the circumstances of your case. They can guide how to build a strong defense and protect your rights.

Impact of Summary Offences on Record

Summary offences can have an impact on your criminal record and future opportunities. While they are generally considered less serious than indictable offenses, they can still be visible on background checks and may affect certain aspects of your life, such as:

  • Employment: Some employers may conduct background checks as part of the hiring process. A summary offence on your record could potentially affect your chances of securing employment, especially in roles that require a certain level of trust or responsibility.
  • Education: Educational institutions, particularly those that involve working with vulnerable populations, may consider a summary offence when evaluating applications for admission or enrollment.
  • Travel: Certain countries may have restrictions or entry requirements based on an individual’s criminal record. A summary offence could potentially affect your ability to travel to these countries.
  • Licensing: Some professional licenses or certifications may require individuals to have a clean criminal record. A summary offence could impact your eligibility for obtaining or maintaining such licenses.

It is important to understand the potential long-term consequences of summary offences and take steps to mitigate their impact. This may include seeking a pardon or record suspension, which can remove the summary offence from your criminal record and improve your chances of employment, education, travel, and other opportunities.

The Process of Obtaining a Pardon

The process of obtaining a pardon involves submitting an application to the Parole Board of Canada (PBC) and providing relevant documents such as court records, police reports, and references. In order to be eligible for a pardon, individuals must have completed all sentences and fines associated with their
offence and must demonstrate that they have taken steps toward rehabilitation.

Individuals convicted under the Provincial Offences Act in Canada might find it advantageous to secure a pardon. A pardon, which is a legal document granted by the government, can alleviate the effects of a criminal record, thereby facilitating the search for employment, housing, and various other opportunities.

Although a pardon does not completely remove a criminal record, it can greatly enhance an individual’s ability to move forward from past transgressions. Should you or someone you know to be convicted of a summary offence in Canada, it may be worthwhile to consider the possibility of securing a pardon to better prospects.

Benefits of Obtaining a Pardon for Summary Convictions under the Act

Individuals convicted under the Provincial Offences Act (POA) may benefit from obtaining a pardon, as it can help remove the criminal record related to their conviction. This can provide access to employment, travel, and other opportunities that are often restricted for individuals with criminal

In addition, obtaining a pardon for a summary conviction under the POA may also reduce or eliminate fines and jail time associated with the conviction. It can also restore an individual’s right to possess firearms and volunteer in various capacities.

Finally, obtaining a pardon may help restore an individual’s sense of dignity after being convicted of a criminal offence. Overall, obtaining a pardon for summary offences under the POA can have numerous benefits for individuals looking to move forward from their past convictions.

Differences Summary Offences and Indictable

In Canada, summary offences are considered less serious than indictable offences. Summary convictions have a maximum sentence of six months imprisonment and do not have the right to trial by jury, unlike indictable offences. Those convicted of summary convictions may be eligible for a
criminal pardon under certain criteria. It is important to note that these types of offences should not be taken lightly as they can still result in a criminal record, which could impact future job prospects and travel opportunities. Understanding the differences between summary convictions and indictable
offences is crucial in navigating the Canadian justice system.


In conclusion, Summary Offences are a serious matter and can have long-lasting consequences. However, obtaining a pardon can help individuals move on from their past mistakes and rebuild their lives. The process of obtaining a pardon may seem daunting, but it is worth exploring for those who want to clear their records and start fresh. Remember that there are differences between summary
convictions and indictable offences, so it’s important to understand the details of your case before proceeding. If you or someone you know needs help with obtaining a pardon for summary convictions under the Provincial Offences Act, consult our experts today.




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