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Criminal Offences Chapter 9. Chapter Overview -Levels of Offences -Offences Against the Person -Offences Against Property -Other Criminal Code Offences -Drug Offences. Canada’s justice system handles various criminal offences differently depending on the seriousness of the crime.

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Chapter Overview

-Levels of Offences

-Offences Against the Person

-Offences Against Property

-Other Criminal Code Offences

-Drug Offences


Canada’s justice system handles various criminal offences differently depending on the seriousness of the crime.

The type of offence has a bearing on custody issues, bail requirements, trail procedures, and sentencing.

The three levels of crimes include:

  • Summary Conviction Offences
  • Indictable Offences
  • Hybrid Offences
summary conviction offences
Summary Conviction Offences

A summary conviction offence is a minor offence that carries a relatively light penalty.

A person convicted of such a crime will be fined up to $2000 and or imprisoned for up to six months.

Usually dealt with it quickly and simply.

Examples: Public nudity or streaking, pulling a fire alarm, causing disturbances, joyriding, etc.

indictable offences
Indictable Offences

An indictable offence is a serious crime and carries a heavier penalty than a summary conviction offence. The criminal code establishes maximum penalties for indictable offences, ranging anywhere from two years’ imprisonment for committing a common disturbance or up to life imprisonment for sexual assault.


Millhaven Institution in Bath Ontario Maximum Security

  • Sometimes the Code sets a minimum penalty for an indictable offence, such as four years for robbery where a firearm is used or life in prison for murder.
  • The method for trying an indictable offence differs according to the severity of the sentence that the offence carries.

For offences with a maximum penalty of less than five years, the trial will be heard in Provincial Court or the Supreme Court before a judge alone.

  • For offences with a maximum penalty over five years, the accused can be tried by judge and jury or judge alone.
  • The most serious indictable offences, such as murder and treason, must be tried in Supreme Court.
hybrid offences
Hybrid Offences
  • Hybrid Offences is an offence that the Crown can try either as a summary or indictable offence.
  • The criminal code makes it clear when an offence is considered hybrid.
  • Treated as indictable until charges are laid in court, then the Crown must decide how to treat the offence.
  • Decision depends on the circumstances of the case.
fast fact
Fast Fact
  • Theft under $5000
  • Impaired driving
  • Sexual assault
  • Are all examples of hybrid offences
case study 224
Case Study224

R. v. Quinlan

Crimes in the Criminal Code are classified under different categories according to the type of offence.
  • Offences against the person and reputation, includes violent crimes in which the victim is threatened, injured, or killed.
  • Across Canada, police reported 291, 000 incidents of violent crime in 1999.
  • This may seem like a lot, but it is worth noting that violent crime declined in Canada between 1993 and 1999 after 15 years of increases.
Contained in Part VIII of the criminal code, it includes crimes in which the victim is threatened, injured or killed.
  • Violent crime is actually decreasing in Canada, but it is of course considered very serious and therefore carries with it the highest penalties.
  • Here are some examples of offences against the person…
  • Homicide is the killing of another person, directly or indirectly.
  • It can be culpable homicide, which means the accused can be held legally responsible or non-culpable homicide, death caused by an unforeseeable accident.
  • Murder, the intentional killing of another human being, is a form of culpable homicide.
The Criminal Code classifies murder into two categories, first degree and second degree.
  • First-degree murder includes a killing that falls in any one of the following situations:
  • It is planned and deliberate
  • One person hires another to commit murder
  • The victim is a peace officer, prison employee or other person employed for the preservation and maintenance of the public peace.
  • The murder is caused while committing or attempting to commit another serious offence.

Second-degree murder is defined as any murder that does not fit into one of the four situations listed under first-degree murder.

Both first and second-degree murder have a minimum sentence of life imprisonment. The difference is when they can apply for parole; after 25 years for first degree and usually, after 10 for second-degree.
  • Infanticide, the killing of a newborn infant by the child’s mother, is also culpable homicide. For the crime to be considered infanticide, the accused must be the natural mother of the victim, the victim must be less than 12 months old and at the time of the killing, the accused must have been suffering from a mental disturbance caused by not being able to recover from giving birth to the victim.
  • Maximum penalty is five years.
Manslaughter is any culpable homicide that is not murder or infanticide.
  • The Actus Reus of the offence consists of killing someone through a wrongful act, even if the killing was not intentional.
  • The Mens Rea is that any reasonable person could have foreseen that the wrongful act would pose a risk of bodily harm that was neither insignificant or temporary.
  • Can also be criminal negligence causing death, but not both!
  • Sometimes a charge of murder can be reduced to manslaughter if the accused can show provocation, words or actions that could cause a reasonable person to behave irrationally or lose self control.
  • Note that there is no cooling off period!
case study pg 229
Case StudyPg 229

R. v. Turner


The most common form of violent crime in Canada.

Assault comprises any one of the following actions:

Intentionally applying force to another person, either directly or indirectly, without that person’s consent.

Attempting or threatening, by act or gesture, to apply force

Accosting or impeding another person, or begging, while openly wearing or carrying a weapon or an imitation of a weapon.

The criminal code classifies assault according to three levels of severity:

Level 1 – hybrid offence, carries max. of 5 years. Touching without consent or threatening a person with violence.

Level 2 – assault with a weapon or causing bodily harm, injuring a person in a way that has serious consequences for the victim’s health or comfort.

Level 3 – Aggravated assault, which involves wounding, maiming, disfiguring or endangering the life of the victim.

fast fact1

In Canada 1 in 10 people have a criminal record

sexual assault
Sexual Assault
  • Touching of a sexual nature that is not invited or consensual. It also has three levels:

Level 1 – A hybrid offence, the most common and the one where the victim suffers the least physical injury. 97% of all cases of sexual assault. Max penalty of 10 years.

Level 2 – Sexual assault with a weapon, threats to a third party or causing bodily harm. Basically involves weapons, threats or physical injury. Max. sentence of 14 years.

Level 3 – Aggravated sexual assault, which involves wounding, maiming, disfiguring or endangering the life of the victim.


I think cops cause more accidents than they prevent. When you’re driving and see a cop ahead, what do you do? Slam on the breaks and struggle to get your seatbelt on. Next to every accident you always see a police car. Coincidence? I think not”!

dangerous operation of a motor vehicle
Dangerous operation of a motor vehicle

Thecrown must prove that the safety and lives of others were endangered because the driver failed to exercise the same care a good driver would have exercised under the same conditions.

This is a hybrid offence.

failure to stop at the scene of an accident
Failure to stop at the scene of an accident

“I just saved a bunch of money on my car insurance by switching…..

my car into reverse and driving away from the accident”!


Failure to stop at the scene of an accident

Any one involved in an accident who doesn’t stop, offer assistance and give their name and address, is presumed to show intent to escape civil or criminal liability. Commonly known as “hit and run”, it is a hybrid offence.

impaired driving
Impaired Driving
  • It is an offence to operate a motor vehicle while the amount of alcohol in the bloodstream exceeds 80 milligrams in 100 milliliters of blood or .08
  • Police can demand that anyone, who they have reasonable grounds to believe is operating or has operated a motor vehicle, take a breathalyzer test. A blood sample can be given in place of a breath sample. Refusing to provide a breath sample is an offence.
  • This is a hybrid offence.

You know you drank too much if you swerve to miss a tree than realize it is the air freshener hanging from your mirror

case study pg 234
Case StudyPg 234

R. v. Taylor

offences against property
Offences Against Property

A thief broke into a mad man's house and stole a TV. He took off and started running.The mad man also ran after him.The faster he ran, the faster the mad man also ran after him. Finally he got tired and stopped, the mad man also stopped.Then, the mad man told him "Take this, you forgot the TV remote"


Theft – taking property permanently or temporarily, without the owner’s permission.

  • The item must be taken without color of right, that is, the honest belief that a person owns or has permission to use the article in question. You can also commit theft by conversion, such as keeping money mistakenly deposited into your account.
  • Robberyis theft with the use or threat of violence.
  • Breaking and Entering – breaking or opening something in order to enter the premises without permission with the intent to commit an indictable offence. Punishable by up to life in prison if the B and E took place in a dwelling house.
fast fact2

Did you know that Auto theft in Canada costs the Canadian insurance industry over $600 million each year? When you factor in additional costs to the medical, law enforcement, and judicial systems; auto theft costs the Canadian economy over $1billion dollars annually.

other offences
Other Offences
  • Mischief – willfully destroying or damaging property or data, interfering with the lawful use of property or data, or interfering with any person in the lawful use of data or property. i.e. Vandalism. Hybrid offence!

Public Mischief – providing false information that causes the police to start or continue an investigation without cause. i.e. Falsely reporting a stolen car.


Prostitution – the act of engaging in sexual services for money. Actually, it is not illegal in Canada, but soliciting is, communicating for the purpose of prostitution, in a place open to public view. Keeping a “bawdy house”, a place kept, occupied or used by a person for the purpose of prostitution or the practice of indecent acts.

Gambling – not a criminal offence itself, but keeping a “disorderly house” is, a common bawdy, betting or gaming house.

drug offences
Drug Offences

“Controlled Drugs and Substances Act”

  • Possession – knowledge and control. A person must know what the item is and have some measure of control over it. They may be found in possession even if he or she gave the item to another person. Finally, you may be found to be in possession by consenting to its possession by someone else.
  • Trafficking – a criminal offence that involves selling, giving, transporting or distributing a controlled substance or an authorization for a controlled substance. The crown must prove that the accused possessed the controlled substance with the intention of trafficking.
  • Money Laundering – transferring cash or other property to conceal its illegal origin.


Take out a piece of paper

Write down something you learned about Criminal Offences! Hand in to me!