Classifying Offences: When Can A Paralegal Represent You In A Criminal Matter?

There are three categories under the Criminal Code in respect to criminal offences: summary, hybrid and indictable.

Summary Offences:

  • Trials are held in provincial courts before a judge alone
  • No provision for a jury trial
  • Penalties- maximum $5000 and imprisonment for six months
  • Both a fine and a jail sentence can be imposed

**These offences can be handled by a paralegal.

Hybrid Offences

  • Can be tried as either summary/indictable offences
  • If the Crown elects to proceed with a summary conviction then they proceed accordingly
  • If the Crown elects to proceed with an indictable conviction the accused can choose to proceed by a judge in the provincial or superior court with/without a jury

** If these offences proceed as summary offences then paralegals can represent you in such matters.

Indictable Offences

  • Most serious offences including murder, treason, driving while disqualified, keeping a bawdy house or keeping a gaming/betting house
  • Can be heard before a judge, jury or both

**Paralegals cannot represent you in these matters.

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