BSB Logo
416-365-3151 or

Criminal Code Offences

Home » Information Blog » Criminal Code Offences

The Criminal Code is a comprehensive legal document that outlines an array of charges that an individual may face. It also integrates various other statutes, such as the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, which further establishes criminal liability. The Criminal Code is our guiding document, and our Ontario-based criminal lawyers, with their vast experience, can assist you in understanding each section within it.

Felonies Vs. Misdemeanors And Indictable Offences Vs. Summary Conviction Crimes

The lawyers of Bytensky Shikhman bring to the table a wealth of experience in defending individuals facing a broad spectrum of criminal charges, ranging from minor allegations like shoplifting to serious charges like murder. This broad spectrum includes property offences, frauds, drug offences, and sexual assaults, among many other types of offences.

Many clients are perplexed by the nature of the crime they are charged with and wish to know if they are facing a felony or a misdemeanor. These are American terms that do not directly apply to Canadian criminal law or the Canadian Criminal Code, but they do have rough equivalents in our justice system.

In Canada, every charge in the Criminal Code can be divided into three categories:

  1. Summary Conviction Offences: These are minor crimes, akin to American misdemeanors. A summary conviction offence in Ontario carries a maximum penalty of less than two years in jail. These crimes are prosecuted before a Judge in the Ontario Court of Justice.

  2. Indictable Offences: These are grave crimes, comparable to American felonies. An indictable offence can lead to severe penalties, even life imprisonment in certain cases. Given the gravity of such offences, the accused has multiple choices for their mode of trial. They can opt for the Ontario Court of Justice with a Provincial Court Judge or choose a preliminary hearing in the same court. If a preliminary inquiry is selected, the trial will then be conducted in the Superior Court of Justice. These trials can be overseen by a judge alone or a combination of a judge and jury. The decision on the mode of trial involves intricate considerations, and our lawyers at Bytensky Shikhman, with their vast experience, will guide clients through the pros and cons of each choice, ensuring the best strategy tailored to their unique circumstances.

  3. Hybrid Offences: Many offences in the Criminal Code are termed as “hybrids.” This means the Crown Attorney has the discretion to decide whether to proceed with the case as a summary conviction offence or an indictable offence. This decision is influenced by factors like the offender’s previous criminal record and the specifics of the case. Given the significant implications on potential sentencing and other outcomes, our lawyers actively engage with the Crown from the early stages, advocating for a summary election whenever feasible.

A criminal lawyer will make every effort to answer your questions promptly and personally – you will not be shuffled around through layers of staff. When our lawyers are in court, our office staff will respond to your concerns immediately and professionally. Bytensky Shikhman welcomes the opportunity to be your Ontario Criminal Lawyer. Don’t waste time, call now to consult with us.


The term ‘disclosure’ is commonly used to describe all the information the Crown and police have about your case. The Crown is obligated to disclose all this information to you as part of your constitutional right to make full answer and defence to the charges you stand accused of. Disclosure contains items such as:

  • A synopsis of the allegations
  • Witness statements
  • Surveillance and CCTV footage
  • Police officer notebooks
  • Medical records
  • Financial records

A CPT is a crown pre-trial. A CPT is a meeting between your lawyer and a Crown attorney assigned to your case. In some jurisdictions, these are called Early Resolution Meetings. At a CPT the lawyers will discuss if there is any possibility of resolving your file or will begin to discuss trial issues, if your matter is likely to go to trial.

A JPT is a judicial pre-trial. A JPT is a meeting between your lawyer, the Crown attorney, and a judge. Judicial pre-trials are used to iron out the details of a trial if that is where your matter is headed. If there is a possibility of resolution but the lawyers cannot agree on a sentence, they may also seek the judge’s input on a potential sentence.

Crown counsel have an obligation to screen charges at every stage of the criminal process to determine:

  • If there is a reasonable prospect of conviction; and
  • Whether there is a public interest in proceeding

There will be no prospect of conviction where there are frailties in the Crown’s evidence such that the Crown could not win at trial. If there is no reasonable prospect of conviction, the Crown must withdraw the charges. 

Where there is a reasonable prospect of conviction, the Crown must still consider whether there is a public interest in pursuing the charges. To determine if there is a public interest in pursuing the charges, the Crown consider factors such as the seriousness of the charges, the vulnerability of the complainant, the length and expense of a trial in comparison to the seriousness of the charges, the accused’s criminal record if any, and whether the consequences of a conviction would be unduly harsh to the accused. Where there is no public interest in proceeding, your charges must be withdrawn.

A criminal record has many serious consequences. It can affect your ability to work, volunteer, and travel to other countries, especially the United States. If you are involved in family law proceedings, a criminal record may affect the Judge’s decision concerning custody and access to your children, particularly where you have been convicted of a domestic assault against your prior domestic partner. Additionally, if you are not a Canadian citizen, a criminal record can affect your immigration status and may even result in your deportation. It is important to speak to an experienced criminal defence lawyer to understand all the potential consequences before entering any guilty plea.

Table of Contents

Don’t delay – contact an experienced criminal defence lawyer with decades of experience to have the best chance of winning your case.

call us 24/7

What news do we have today?

Latest New & Blog

Are you looking for help from a lawyer?

Don't Let A Criminal Charge Destroy Your Life

Our service area

Get 1 Hour Consultation!

Register with us to schedule a free consultation