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How to Understand the Criminal Offence Penalty Chart

The following criminal offence penalty chart has been published with permission from Ron Jourard, criminal lawyer. Determining whether a particular offence has been prosecuted by summary conviction or indictment requires a review of the actual court documents as the Criminal Code of Canada has been amended several times. Whether an offence is summary, indictable, or hybrid (meaning it can be tried summarily or by indictment), is determined by the law at the time the charge was laid. The Chart below offers a general guideline but may not apply to your particular situation.

If you were convicted of a hybrid offence, you will need to order your court document to confirm if your conviction was tried summarily or by indictment.  Alternatively, if your sentence exceeded the maximum penalty if tried summarily, then you know it was tried by indictment.  This also applies to Conditional Discharges.  Though most Provinces might deem a conditional discharge to be a summary offence unless an election is made, the United States authorities may determine it to be an indictable offence.

If you agree to accept a Conditional Discharge, technically, you are not convicted.  Accordingly, the courts or your lawyer may not think to ask the courts to make an election “summary” or make a notation on the court records that the offence is considered to be summary, even though you are NOT being convicted.  By default, it could be considered an indictable offence to US authorities even though you are NOT convicted.  Some Provinces may treat all discharges as summary offences, but this is not always the case.

What difference does it make if it was tried summarily or by indictment?  If convicted, it will affect when you are eligible to apply for a Canadian Pardon  (now called Record Suspension).   A determination of whether or not your offence OR discharge is summary may affect also your ability to travel to the United States.  If it is determined you are inadmissible to the United States, you will need a US Waiver for legal entry.  First, review the Criminal Offence Penalty Chart below.  Then review the following links:

For information on pardons, waivers, fingerprinting, background checks and immigration, please contact the Canadian Legal Resource Centre Inc. at 1-800-320-2477.


Criminal Offence Penalty Charts

Compiled by Ron Jourard

This article last updated February 16, 2012

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Criminal Offence Penalty Chart - Drug Offences

Criminal Offence Penalty Chart - Administration of Justice

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Ron Jourard, author of the above criminal offence penalty chart, is a Toronto criminal lawyer. He can be reached at (416) 398-6685 or toll free (Canada and U.S.) 1-888-257-0002, or by email at jourard@defencelaw.com.  For information on pardons, waivers, fingerprinting, background checks and immigration, please contact the Canadian Legal Resource Centre Inc. at 1-800-320-2477.

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