What happens at an arraignment hearing depends on the type of offence (crime) you’re charged with.
Types of offences
There are three types of offences:
• Indictable Offences (generally more serious) - More serious crimes proceed “by indictment”. For most indictable matters, you have the right to choose (“elect”) the court you will be tried in.
• Dual or Hybrid Offences - Many crimes are “dual procedure” or "hybrid" meaning the Crown prosecutor chooses whether it will proceed summarily or by indictment.
People charged with indictable offences have three choices:
• trial or guilty plea in the Supreme Court of BC, before a judge without a jury (if this is your choice, you or the prosecutor may also request a preliminary hearing in Provincial Court)
• trial in the Supreme Court of BC, by a judge and jury (if this is your choice, you or the prosecutor may also request a preliminary hearing in Provincial Court)
If you are charged with an indictable offence you will be asked at your arraignment hearing how you elect (choose) to be tried. This choice is called “making your election”. If you elect to be tried in the Supreme Court of BC, and you or the prosecutor requests a preliminary hearing in Provincial Court, a judicial case manager will set a date for it.
If you are charged with a summary offence or you elect to be tried in Provincial Court you will be asked at your arraignment hearing whether you plead guilty or not guilty. If you plead not guilty, a judicial case manager will set a date for your trial. If you want to plead guilty, you will appear before a judge to make your plea and have a sentencing hearing.
This website provides general information only and should not be used as a substitute for legal advice.
Updated February 2020