Summary and minor offences

Summary offences are generally minor matters that are dealt with by a Magistrate in the Local Court. Matters dealt with in this way usually proceed through the Court system much faster than indictable offences.

Summary offences include traffic offences and drug possession. Many indictable offences are also dealt with summarily, for example assault, minor supplies and some sexual offences.

Summary offences have a maximum penalty of two years’ imprisonment and there is an automatic right of appeal to the District Court, so it is important to have your matter dealt with summarily if possible.

Indictable offences

Indictable offences are generally the more serious crimes and are dealt with before a Judge and sometimes a Jury in the District Court or Supreme Court.

The major difference between summary offences and indictable offences are the maximum penalties that can be imposed and the absence of a right of appeal.  Matters dealt with on indictment also take much longer to be finalised, often more than 12 months.