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A summary or petty offence is a
violation Violation or violations may refer to: * Law violation * Violation (basketball), the most minor class of an illegal action in basketball * Bipolar violation, when two pulses of the same polarity occur without an intervening pulse of the opposite ...
in some
common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law Case law is the collection of past legal decisions written by courts and similar tribunal A tribunal, generally, is any person or institution with authority ...
jurisdictions that can be proceeded against summarily, without the right to a
jury trial A jury trial, or trial by jury, is a lawful proceeding in which a jury A jury is a sworn body of people (the jurors) convened to render an impartial Impartiality (also called evenhandedness or fair-mindedness) is a principle of justice h ...
and/or
indictment An indictment ( ) is a criminal accusation A criminal accusation is the process of declaring one's belief A belief is an attitude Attitude may refer to: Philosophy and psychology * Attitude (psychology) In psychology Psycholog ...
(required for an
indictable offence In many common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi-judicial tribunals by virtue of being stated in written opinions. ''Black's Law Dic ...
). In the
law of the United States The law of the United States comprises many levels of codified and uncodified forms of law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unifie ...
, petty offences are typically those that carry the lightest maximum penalty.


Canada

In
Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of North America North America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, ...

Canada
, summary offences are referred to as summary conviction offences. As in other jurisdictions, summary conviction offences are considered less serious than indictable offences because they are punishable by shorter prison sentences and smaller fines. These offences appear both in the federal laws of Canada and in the legislation of Canada's provinces and territories. For summary conviction offences that fall under the jurisdiction of the federal government (which includes all
criminal law Criminal law is the body of law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its env ...
), section 787 of the
Criminal Code A criminal code (or penal code) is a document that compiles all, or a significant amount of, a particular jurisdiction's criminal law Criminal law is the body of law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interactin ...
specifies that, unless another punishment is provided for by law, the maximum penalty for a summary conviction offence is a sentence of 2 years less a day of imprisonment, a fine of $5,000 or both. As a matter of practical effect, some common differences between summary conviction and indictable offences are provided below.


Summary conviction offences

* Accused must be charged with a summary conviction within 1 year after the act happened. Limitation periods are set out in the Criminal Code. * The police can arrest under summary conviction without an arrest warrant if found committing a summary offence notwithstanding s. 495(2)(c) of the Criminal Code. * If the police do not find committing a summary offence, an arrest warrant is required. * Accused does not have to submit fingerprints when charged under Summary Conviction. * Appeals of summary conviction offences go first to the highest trial court within the jurisdiction (e.g., provincial superior court in Alberta is the
Court of Queen's Bench The Queen's Bench (; or, during the reign of a male monarch, the King's Bench ('), is the superior court in a number of jurisdictions within some of the Commonwealth realms. The original Court of King's Bench (England), King's Bench, founded in ...
). * After Provincial Superior Court a further appeal would go to the Provincial Court of Appeal (e.g., the
Court of Appeal of Alberta The Court of Appeal of Alberta (frequently referred to as Alberta Court of Appeal or ABCA) is a Canadian appellate court. Jurisdiction and hierarchy within Canadian courts The court is the highest in Alberta, Canada. It hears appeals from the A ...
), and then finally to the
Supreme Court of Canada Supreme may refer to: * Supreme (brand), a clothing brand based in New York * Supreme (comics), a comic book superhero * Supreme (cookery), a term used in cookery * Supreme (film), ''Supreme'' (film), a 2016 Telugu film * Supreme (producer), hip-h ...

Supreme Court of Canada
, but as a practical matter very few summary convictions are ever heard by the Supreme Court of Canada. * Accused convicted under summary conviction are eligible for a pardon after 5 years provided the accused is not convicted of any further offences during that period. * Always tried in a provincial court (cannot be joined with an indictable offence in a superior court).


Indictable offences

* There is no time limit to when charges can be laid, such that an accused can be charged at any time after an act has occurred. The exception to this point is
treason Treason is the crime In ordinary language, a crime is an unlawful act punishable by a state or other authority. The term ''crime'' does not, in modern criminal law, have any simple and universally accepted definition,Farmer, Lindsay: "Cr ...

treason
, which has a 3-year limitation period. * Police do not require a warrant to arrest under an indictable offence: see S.495(1)(a) Criminal Code * Accused has to submit fingerprints when required to appear to answer to an indictable offence. * Appeals always go to the Provincial Court of Appeal first, and then on to the Supreme Court of Canada. * Accused convicted under an indictable offence can apply for a pardon after 10 years.


Hong Kong

In Hong Kong, trials for summary offences are heard in one of the territory's
Magistrates' Court #REDIRECT Magistrates' court#REDIRECT Magistrates' court A magistrates' court is a lower court where, in several jurisdictions Jurisdiction (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch o ...
s, unless the defendant is accused with other
indictable offence In many common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi-judicial tribunals by virtue of being stated in written opinions. ''Black's Law Dic ...
(s). Typical examples for summary offences in Hong Kong include possession of simulated
bomb A bomb is an explosive weapon that uses the Exothermic process, exothermic reaction of an explosive material to provide an extremely sudden and violent release of energy. Detonations inflict damage principally through ground- and atmosphere-tr ...

bomb
, drunkenness, taking photograph in courts, careless driving and pretending to be a
public officer Public administration is the implementation of public policy, government policy and also an academic discipline that studies this implementation and prepares civil servant, civil employees for working in the public service. As a "field of inquir ...
.


United Kingdom

In relation to
England and Wales England and Wales () is a legal jurisdiction covering England and Wales, two of the four countries of the United Kingdom, parts of the United Kingdom. England and Wales forms the constitutional successor to the former Kingdom of England and follows ...

England and Wales
, the expression "summary trial" means a trial in the
magistrates' court #REDIRECT Magistrates' court#REDIRECT Magistrates' court A magistrates' court is a lower court where, in several jurisdictions Jurisdiction (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch o ...
. In such proceedings there is no jury; the appointed judge, or a panel of three lay magistrates, decides the guilt or innocence of the accused. Each summary offence is specified by statute which describes the (usually minor) offence and the judge to hear it. A summary procedure can result in a summary conviction. A "summary offence" is one which, if charged to an adult, can only be tried by summary procedure.The
Interpretation Act 1978 The Interpretation Act 1978 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the supreme legislative body A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deli ...
, section 5 and Schedule 1 (in the headin
"construction of certain expressions relating to offences"
, as amended by section 170 of, and paragraph 59 of Schedule 15 to, the
Criminal Justice Act 1988 The Criminal Justice Act 1988 (c 33) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the supreme legislative body A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetin ...
, and by section 154 of, and paragraph 169 of Schedule 7 to, the
Magistrates' Courts Act 1980 The Magistrates' Courts Act 1980 (c. 43) is an Act of Parliament, Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It is a consolidation Act.The Public General Acts and General Synod Measures 1980. HMSO. London. . Part IV. Pages ''i'', ''j'' and i. ...
.
Similar procedures are also used in Scotland. Certain offences that may be tried in a Crown Court (by jury) may be required to be tried summarily if the value involved is small; such offences are still considered
either way offence A hybrid offence, dual offence, Crown option offence, dual procedure offence, offence triable either way, or wobbler is one of the special class offences in the common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, ...
s, so are not thereby "summary offences" in the meaning of that term defined by statute. Contrariwise, certain summary offences may in certain circumstances be tried on indictment along with other offences that are themselves indictable; they do not thereby become "indictable offences" or "either way offences" but remain "summary offences", though tried by jury. Sir
William Blackstone Sir William Blackstone (10 July 1723 – 14 February 1780) was an English jurist A jurist is a person with expert knowledge of law; someone who analyses and comments on law. This person is usually a specialist legal scholarnot necessaril ...

William Blackstone
, in his
Commentaries on the Laws of England The ''Commentaries on the Laws of England'' are an influential 18th-century treatise on the common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law Case law is the collection of past legal decisions writ ...
(1765–1769), described summary offences thus: In the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shorth ...

United Kingdom
, trials for summary offences are heard in one of a number of types of lower court. For
England and Wales England and Wales () is a legal jurisdiction covering England and Wales, two of the four countries of the United Kingdom, parts of the United Kingdom. England and Wales forms the constitutional successor to the former Kingdom of England and follows ...

England and Wales
this is the
Magistrates' Court #REDIRECT Magistrates' court#REDIRECT Magistrates' court A magistrates' court is a lower court where, in several jurisdictions Jurisdiction (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch o ...
. In
Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba Alba (Scottish Gaelic Scottish Gaelic ( gd, Gàidhlig or Scots Gaelic, sometimes referred to simply as Gaelic) is a Goidelic language (in the Celtic languages, Celtic branch of the Indo-European ...

Scotland
, it is the
Sheriff Court A sheriff court is the principal local civil Civil may refer to: *Civic virtue, or civility *Civil action, or lawsuit *Civil affairs *Civil and political rights *Civil disobedience *Civil engineering *Civil (journalism), a platform for indep ...
or
Justice of the peace court A justice of the peace court is the least authoritative type of criminal In ordinary language, a crime is an unlawful act punishable by a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a mon ...
, depending on the offence (the latter being primarily for the most minor of offences).
Northern Ireland Northern Ireland ( ga, Tuaisceart Éireann ; sco, label=Ulster-ScotsUlster Scots, also known as Scotch-Irish, may refer to: * Ulster Scots people The Ulster Scots (Ulster-Scots The Ulster Scots (Ulster Scots dialects, Ulster- ...

Northern Ireland
has its own Magistrates' Court system.


United States

In
law of the United States The law of the United States comprises many levels of codified and uncodified forms of law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unifie ...
, "there are certain minor or petty offenses that may be proceeded against summarily, and without a jury (citations omitted) (emphasis added) These include
criminal citation A criminal citation is used by police The police are a constituted body of persons A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason Reason is the capacity of consciously applying log ...
s. Any offense that is punishable by the controlling law for more than six months of
imprisonment Imprisonment (from , via French language, French , originally from atin, arrest, from , , "to seize") in law is the specific state of being physically incarcerated or confined in an institutional setting such as a prison. When it comes to iss ...
must have some means for a jury trial. ("Petty offense defined"); Some states, such as
California California is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper i ...

California
, provide that all
defendant In court proceedings, a defendant is a person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason Reason is the capacity of consciously applying logic Logic is an interdisciplinary fi ...
s are entitled to a jury trial (irrespective of the nature of their offenses). Some states provide that in all cases the defendant may demand a jury trial. Under section 316 of the
Immigration and Nationality Act The U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act may refer to one of several acts including: * Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 (), also known as the McCarran–Walter Act, codified under Title 8 of the U ...
(INA), , a person convicted of a petty offense can be
naturalized Naturalization (or naturalisation) is the legal act or process by which a non-citizen of a country may acquire citizenship or nationality of that country. It may be done automatically by a statute, i.e., without any effort on the part of the in ...
as a
citizen of the United States Citizenship of the United States is a legal status Legal status is the position held by something or someone with regard to law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act ...
.INA section 101(f), ;
Contempt of court Contempt of court, often referred to simply as "contempt", is the offense of being disobedient to or disrespectful toward a court A court is any person or institution, often as a government A government is the system or group o ...
is considered a
prerogative In law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by it ...
of the court, as "the requirement of a jury does not apply to contempts committed in disobedience of any lawful writ, process, order, rule, decree, or command entered in any suit or action brought or prosecuted in the name of, or on behalf of, the United States There have been criticisms over the practice. In particular,
Supreme Court A supreme court is the highest court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal disputes between Party (law), parties and carry out the administration of just ...

Supreme Court
Justice
Hugo Black Hugo Lafayette Black (February 27, 1886 – September 25, 1971) was an American lawyer, politician, and jurist who served as a U.S. Senator The United States Senate is the upper chamber of the United States Congress The United S ...

Hugo Black
wrote in a 1964 dissent, "It is high time, in my judgment, to wipe out root and branch the judge-invented and judge-maintained notion that judges can try criminal contempt cases without a jury."


See also

*
Misdemeanor A misdemeanor (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of variety (linguistics), varieties of the English language native to the United States ...
*
Indictable offence In many common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi-judicial tribunals by virtue of being stated in written opinions. ''Black's Law Dic ...
*
Summary execution A summary execution is an execution Capital punishment, also known as the death penalty, is the state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Departmen ...
*
Hybrid offence A hybrid offence, dual offence, Crown option offence, dual procedure offence, offence triable either way, or wobbler is one of the special class offences in the common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, ...


Notes and references

''This article is partially based on
law of the United States The law of the United States comprises many levels of codified and uncodified forms of law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unifie ...
, including
statutory A statute is a formal written enactment of a legislative A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kind of collective) ...
and latest
published Publishing is the activity of making information, literature, music, software and other content available to the public for sale or for free. Traditionally, the term refers to the creation and distribution of printed works, such as book A ...
case law Case law is the collection of past legal decisions written by courts and similar tribunal A tribunal, generally, is any person or institution with authority to judge, adjudicate on, or determine claims or disputes—whether or not it is calle ...
.''


Further reading

* *


External links

* * {{DEFAULTSORT:Summary Offence
Criminal law {{CatAutoTOC Public law Common law, Criminal law Law by issue, Criminal law Criminal justice, Law Law by type ...
Crimes