The Criminal Code of Canada defines three types of offences. These are known as a summary offence, an indictable offence and a hybrid offence.
Summary offences are the less serious offences. Examples of summary offences include trespassing at night, breaching a condition of probation and causing a disturbance.
Indictable offences are more serious offences. Examples include robbery, break and entry to someone’s home and theft over $5000.
A hybrid offence means that the crown prosecutor has a choice as to whether the case will proceed as if the offence was a summary offence or an indictable offence. Examples of hybrid offences include theft under $5000, dangerous driving and mischief to property.
Once the police have apprehended a young person, they have a number of choices. The police can decide not to lay a charge and use an extrajudicial measure instead. If the police have decided to lay a charge, they can give the young person a form that explains where and when the youth must appear in court. This form can be an appearance notice, a promise to appear, a summons, an undertaking or a recognizance before an officer in charge. The form may also advise the youth that they are required to appear at the police station to be fingerprinted and photographed.
A young person who fails to appear in court or to be fingerprinted and photographed as directed may receive additional charges.
The police can also decide that they do not want to release the youth. This action will result in a number of additional steps.