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  • Writer's pictureNilima

Most common criminal offenses

Updated: Jun 3, 2021

A criminal offense can be defined as any felony offense that involves a combination of one or more incarceration. These are generally crimes that involve an element of violence and are common or dangerous to society. Criminal offenses also include some of the most punishable types of crimes a person can commit, such as homicide in the first degree and murder.

The different types of offense

There are different types of offense, which includes:

  • An offense; punishable by summary conviction

  • An offense; punishable by indictment

  • Mixed offenses

An offense punishable by summary conviction

Summary reporting means it's quick and easy. The judge hears these cases in Provincial Court and there is never a jury. Usually, the maximum penalty is a fine of $ 2,000 or less, imprisonment for six months or less, or both.

These offenses are generally less serious crimes. Disturbing the peace, taking a vehicle without permission, committing an indecent act in public are examples.

An accused person does not have to appear in person in court. A lawyer or agent may appear in their place unless the judge requires the accused to appear in court. The officer could be a friend, family member, or someone hired to attend court.

There is a six-month limitation period for an offense punishable by summary conviction. An individual cannot be charged more than six months after the events.

An offense punishable by indictment

Indictable offenses are more serious crimes than summary conviction offenses. The procedure depends on the seriousness of the offense. Some offenses must be tried by a judge and some very serious offenses, such as murder, must be tried by a judge and jury unless the attorney general and the accused individual agreed to have a trial without the need of a jury.

A person charged with an indictable offense must appear in court. The accused can introduce himself or use the services of a lawyer. There is no statute of limitations for indictable offenses. This means that the police can charge an individual years after the offense.

Mixed offenses

Hybrid offenses can be dealt with in court as offenses punishable by summary conviction or by the indictable offense. The Crown attorney makes this decision. The court that will hear the case and the possible penalties depend on the Crown prosecutor. Indeed, it depends on whether the prosecutor decides to prosecute as an offense punishable by summary conviction or as an indictable offense. Usually, the Crown attorney decides to treat less serious hybrid offenses as summary conviction offenses. The Crown Attorney may decide to treat the hybrid offense as an indictable offense when the accused has a criminal record or the circumstances of the crime are more serious.

The Criminal Code provides for many hybrid offenses: assault, theft under $ 5,000 and impaired driving are common hybrid offenses.

Fight against criminal charges

The criminal justice system divides offenses into two categories: misdemeanors and serious offenses. Both types of crime are criminal and result in sanctions. However, crimes are more serious than minor crimes.

In most cases, an offense will only result in a few days in jail but can land you in jail for a full year. On the other hand, being convicted of a crime will result in a minimum of one year of imprisonment, but you also have the option of life imprisonment, parole, or the death penalty. Crimes are charged according to the type of crime and the criminal record of the accused.

Most Common Felony Offenses in the United States

Below is the list of the most common felony offenses that happen in the United States. This list is in no order.

Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs

In some states, this can be a felony charge. Although not all DWI and DUI are considered a felony offense, some of them can.


Although the legalization of Cannabiod has drastically reduced arrest related to drugs, however, having possession of harmful drugs is still considered a felony offense. Drugs like heroin, meth, cocaine others are common in the US and are illegal.

Disorderly Conduct

Depending on the situation, disorderly conduct can still be considered a misdemeanor. You should do your best to always be on your best behavior.

Violent Crimes

Rape, murder, kidnapping, gang war, and other violent related crimes are common and occur daily.


Vandalism can result in a felony charge. There are different types of vandalism, such as breaking windows, graffiti, destruction of private and public properties, etc.

Property Crimes

This involves damaging or stealing off other people’s properties. This can be arson or grand theft auto. It can be regarded as a felony offense, depending on the situation.


This is similar to theft, but they are not the same. Theft involves forcefully taking another person’s property, or bigger properties, while larceny involves taking without force and intangible items for personal use.


Fraud is stealing people’s money, identity, or properties by illegal means. The internet has the highest rate of fraud worldwide. Fraud also includes falsifying documents.

Weapons Charges

Having in possession of unlicensed firearms can be regarded as a felon. Discharging a weapon or firearm without having a license to do so is also regarded as a felon, and you can be charged with a felony.


This is at the top of most common crimes in the United States. Assault happens daily from general fighting or domestic issues.

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