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CRIMINAL LAW

THREE TYPES OF OFFENCES

CRIMINAL LAW
Criminal Laws are considered to be offences against society.
Criminal Law is intended to maintain order in society. Criminal Law emphasizes prevention and penalties. The criminal justice system focuses on rehabilitation and retribution.

CRIMINAL LAW
As with any effective set of laws, criminal law is constantly evolving with the ever changing needs of society. As values and beliefs change within a society, so to do the laws. Examples include:
Decriminalization of homosexuality. Euthanasia Gun control Abortion Pornography

CRIMINAL LAW
Certain conditions must exist for an act to be considered criminal:
The action must be considered harmful to other people, and society as a whole. The action must violate the basic values of society. There must be a procedure in place within the justice system to deal with criminal transgressions.

CRIMINAL LAW
The Criminal Code is the main source of criminal law in Canada. The Controlled Drugs and Substances Act is also a body of criminal law. The Youth Criminal Justice Act is also a body of criminal law. No criminal law can conflict with The Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

TYPES OF CRIMINAL OFFENCES


There are three types of criminal offences:
Summary Convictions Offences

Indictable Offences
Hybrid Offences

SUMMARY CONVICTION OFFENCES


Are minor criminal offences. People charged with these offences can be arrested and summoned to court very quickly. The maximum penalty for a summary offence is $2000 and/or six months in jail. Example: The maximum penalty for possession of a narcotic is $2000 and/or one year in jail.

EXAMPLES OF SUMMARY OFFENCES:


Communicate for the purpose of obtaining the sexual services of a prostitute Cause disturbance Harassing telephone calls

INDICTABLE OFFENCES
Are the more serious criminal offences, and carry more severe penalties than summary convictions. There is a maximum penalty for each offence up to life imprisonment (eg. Homicide). The Trial Judge decides the actual penalty.

Some indictable offences also have a minimum penalty (eg. Impaired Driving can range from $600 fine to five years behind bars depending on the number of previous offences)

EXAMPLES OF INDICTABLE OFFENCES:


Offences which involve a weapon. Sexual offences Fraud Forgery of currency Proceeds of crimes Trafficking narcotics

HYBRID OFFENCES
Are those where the Crown attorney has the right to proceed summarily, and impose a less severe punishment, or to proceed by indictment.
Theft is an example of a Hybrid Offence. Everyone who commits theft:
is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years, where the value of what is stolen exceeds $5000; or is guilty of an indictable offence not exceeding two years, or punishable on summary conviction where the value of what is stolen does not exceed $5000.