Different Types Of Criminal Offences

Crime exists in different forms and shapes, and every place have its own reasons to segregate them into different categories. If you talk about different types of criminal offences in Canada, there are 3 basic categories:

  • Purely Summary Offences,
  • Purely Indictable Offences, and
  • Hybrid Offences

These types of offences have been outlined in the Criminal Code of Canada. While you can always learn about them in detail by consulting Toronto criminal defense lawyer, this post shares basic information on each of them. If you have been charged with a criminal offence, contact J.Hershberg Lawyer Toronto for legal advice as well as professional assistance in the court.

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  1. Purely summary conviction offences

You can find out the list of summary conviction offences in section 553 of the Criminal Code of Canada. The list mostly consists of minor charges and penalties as compared to other relatively severe crimes. Examples include theft (under $5,000) and mischief charges.

Purely summary conviction offences are processed and heard only in Provincial Court. This means that an accused doesn’t have the option for a jury or a preliminary inquiry.

  1. Purely indictable offences

Contrary to summary offences, indictable offences are the most serious criminal offences. You can go through section 469 of the Criminal Code of Canada and learn about these offences in detail. Examples of indictable offences include murder and treason.

Purely indictable offences are processed and heard only in Supreme Court. The default trial mode is judge and jury; however, if the accused and prosecutor consent, the trial may be heard by the judge alone.

  1. Hybrid offences

The offences that are not listed in either section 553 or 469 of the Criminal Code, but they fall into the category of offences, are hybrid offences. In fact, the majority of the criminal offences fall in this particular category.

What hybrid offence means is the prosecutor can choose whether to classify an offence as the summary conviction or indictable. How a charge is classified determines how a charge is processed through the criminal court system.

  • If a charge is a hybrid offence, and the prosecutor classifies it as indictable, then the accused can choose whether to have the case processed and heard in Provincial Court or Supreme Court.
  • If the prosecutor chooses to classify and proceed by indictment (i.e. indictable offence), then the accused chooses whether to have the case heard in Provincial Court or in Supreme Court by judge alone or judge and jury.

Difference Between Summary Offences and Indictable Offences

The two categories of offences differ on the basis of court process as well as the maximum punishment.

In British Columbia, criminal cases are processed and heard provincial courts and supreme courts. All trials in Provincial Court are heard by a judge alone, whereas trials in Supreme Court may be heard by a judge alone or judge and jury.

When the criminal lawyer Toronto has the option to choose (i.e. hybrid offence), the summary conviction maximum punishments are often less severe than indictable classification.

For example, an impaired driving charge (aka operating while impaired) is a hybrid offence where the prosecutor can choose to proceed summarily or by indictment. As an indictable offence, the maximum punishment is 5 years in jail; as a summary conviction offence, the maximum punishment is 18 months.

Paying Your Criminal Defense Lawyer

In the first place question anybody would ask to a criminal lawyer is, “What amount do you charge?” Criminal defense lawyers charge in various way and there are sure elements on which they base their expenses. These are:

Level of Complexity:

By and large, defense lawyers charge higher expenses for crimes when contrasted with wrongdoings for clear reasons. Lawful offenses require more appearances in court and may take more time to determine.


Everyone might want to have an accomplished attorney protect his case. Subsequently, they charge higher expenses since they have a vast rundown of customers. They’re encountered enough to have the capacity to safeguard your case effectively. For instance, in the event that you live in Calgary, and are looking for specialists, www.gracialawfirm.ca/ has the best criminal lawyers Calgary.


In a few spots, particularly urban communities and business center points, criminal defense attorney charge high expenses.

The charges may vary from spot to put. Any Calgary criminal law firm will charge you in the scope of $1500 to $2000 to guard your case, yet, it might change in view of aforementioned elements. There are three regular techniques in which criminal defense lawyer can be paid:

Hourly Fees

You may be billed for hourly fees. If they charge you hourly then you can expect to pay $150 per hour. Plus, other expenses like subpoena fees, copying fees or any other expenses will also be paid by defendants.

Hourly billing is beneficial for those people whose case concluded quickly. On the other hand, any complication would mean additional time for research and preparation. If the case is easy, and requires just a phone call, criminal defense attorney sets minimum retainer fee for that.

Most experienced defense lawyer inform their clients how much time they require to conclude the case. Mostly, the case is resolved before the anticipated time informed.

Case Billing

You may be charged with a fixed amount. Most criminal defense lawyers Calgary set a fixed amount for DUI cases. In this situation, the fee remains unchanged no matter how long your lawyer works on the case.

The benefit is, you will have an idea of how much to pay your lawyer. It is the responsibility of your lawyer to spend extra time if any complication arises. On the other hand, if the case was resolved sooner than your expectations, you might think you have over-paid your lawyer. In some situations, lawyer return certain portion of their fees.


Defense attorneys want their defendants to pay certain amount upfront, whether they charge hourly fees or fixed amount. Retainer is a kind of guarantee which indemnifies lawyers if the client replaces him for someone else.

A lawyer who charges hourly fees may ask you to deposit the amount for 20 hours up front. The lawyer normally sends statements showing the number of hours spent and the kind of work done. He would also inform his clients as to how much of the deposited amount has been used so far.

Before the amount finished, the lawyer informs his client to deposit more amount for certain number of hours to be able to continue his case.

The Duties Of A Criminal Lawyer In Toronto

The code of Conduct for all lawyers including every criminal lawyer Toronto is adopted as a set of principles on which it is need to manage lawyers in their work. They are in accordance with the general principles of ethics previously accepted and developed.

Failure to comply with the rules and principles of the Code of Conduct for lawyers, legal associates and legal interns make a violation of discipline.


The duty of all lawyers is to take care of the proper application of this Code and any violation of professional ethics means they will have to face the consequences.

The attorney as provider of legal assistance should provide legal help to represent or defend clients when they turn to him for that purpose.

A lawyer cannot refuse the providing of legal assistance or help for an unknown cause, but he can do it in case of a bad health condition, a possibility of losing the case, inability of the party to pay the costs, irresponsible clients etc.…

The refusal to defend a client in criminal cases (defense) should be assessed by strict criteria. It is allowed only in exceptional cases, in particular, from an objective and subjective nature, such as Alzheimer’s disease. It should be taken into account that the accused can be left defenseless.
In case of a party that is unable to pay the fee of the lawyer in the full amount, it cannot affect the fact that everyone deserves to be given a legal help or because this is a traditional and honorable task of law profession.

If the lawyer accepts public authorizations, giving legal assistance, he is obliged to remain faithful to their party and to work with them to establish a relationship of trust. He can refuse representation, defense or giving legal advice for some certain reasons. But in this case the lawyer is obliged to represent their party until they provide another legal representative. The deadline for this can be up to 30 days.

A lawyer must not take public authorizations or representation of co-litigants or defendants if their mutual interests are opposed. If such an event occurs during the representation or defense, the attorney is obliged to refuse the representation or defense of a party.

When assembling the two-sided legal matters (contracts, etc.) the lawyer is obliged to diligently protect the interests of both parties, regardless of which of them requested legal assistance paid by the prize. If a dispute arises between the parties about the agreement made by the lawyer, then he/ she should not appear as a representative of any of the parties.

The lawyer is obliged to diligently represent and defend his client, while using all necessary means permitted by law or other regulations. However, the lawyer should avoid unnecessary submission of money or gifts or any other unnecessary proposals. He/ She should seek all the evidence and facts and concentrate in a smaller number of submissions. The lawyer should not be identified with their party, but should remain on the high level of his powerful position – representative or counsel to the clients.