Provincial Offences are non-criminal or quasi-criminal laws made by the Province of Ontario; however, the responsibility for the Provincial Offences Courts has been transferred by the province to municipalities across Ontario.
(Criminal law can be enacted only at the federal level. Please see the Criminal Code of Canada).
Provincial Offences Notices are primarily laid by the police, including those committed under the following:
Highway Traffic Act - such as speeding, careless driving, or not wearing your seat belt
Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act - such as failing to surrender your insurance card, or possessing a fake or invalid insurance card
Liquor License Act - such as being intoxicated in a public place; selling alcohol to a minor or to a person who is intoxicated or selling alcohol without a license or selling alcohol with a suspended or revoked license
Trespass to Property Act - such as entering premises when entry is prohibited or failing to leave the premises after being directed to do so
City by-laws - such as infractions under noise, smoking, taxi and animal care by-laws
There are three different types of provincial offence notices.
A Part I notice is a ticket that is issued to an individual, a Part II notice is a parking infraction, and a Part III notice is a summons (including a court date).
It's the responsibility of the Charging Officer or the Crown Prosecutor to determine whether an offence is too serious to be charged as a Summary Conviction Offence.
This deliberation is contingent upon factors such as whether or not bodily harm or aggravated assault occurred during the commission of the offence.If those elements are present, the Charge will be laid as an Indictable Offence and the accused will be tried in the Superior Court of Ontario before a Judge or a Judge and Jury.
Summary Conviction Offences carry a maximum punishment of 18 months in jail and these charges are heard before a magistrate in the Ontario Court of Justice, while Indictable Offences carry maximum sentences of either 5, 10, 14 years, or life in jail.
Licensed Paralegals can represent you where the penalty is up to a maximum of 6 months.
Theft under $5000.00 is a Summary Conviction Offence, while theft over $5000.00 is an Indictable Offence.
Theft is a Hybrid Offence because it can be charged either way.