There are important differences between being charged with a summary> or indictable offence in these respects. The Criminal Code does not permit arrest of a person who is to be charged with a summary offence, unless there is a warrant for that person’s arrest or unless the officer witnesses that person committing the offence. In contrast, in the case of indictable offences, an officer can arrest a person who, on reasonable and probable grounds, is believed to have committed or is about to commit an indictable offence.
The Criminal Code obliges a police officer not to arrest a person for a summary offence, or an offence which may be prosecuted by summary proceedings or by indictment, or an indictable offence where there is a mandatory trial by a Provincial Court judge, unless the arrest is deemed necessary to safeguard public interest. Public interest is defined in the Criminal Code as meaning the need to establish the identity of the accused, to secure or preserve evidence, or to prevent continuation or repetition of the offence or another offence. An officer can also make an arrest where she has grounds to believe that the person will fail to attend court.
Booking procedures are essentially the same for summary and indictable offences. However, the usual procedure of an arrest for an indictable offence or an offence which may be summary or indictable is fingerprinting and photographing pursuant to the Identification of Criminals Act.
Often, after being arrested, a person will be given paperwork by the police instructing them to return to the police station on a different day to have their photograph and fingerprints taken. It is very important that this appointment is not missed because missing the appointment for fingerprinting will result in an additional criminal charge. A person accused of a summary offence is usually released on her own recognizance. This means that the Judge is allowing the accused person to go back to their normal life and trusting them to return to court on the set court date on their own. An accused person charged with an indictable offence, who has been denied bail, is entitled to automatic review of bail after he/she has been in custody for ninety days. In the case of a summary offence, the accused is entitled to an automatic review of bail if the trial has not proceeded within thirty days of the detention.