A criminal offence which is normally tried in a magistrates’ court and which is generally considered to be less serious than other types of offences. The sentencing powers for summary only matters are more limited although there are some which are punishable by way of imprisonment and/or unlimited fines. There are also time limits for commencing summary only proceedings.
Summary only offences should be contrasted with indictable only offences, which must be heard in a Crown Court by a judge and jury, or either-way offences which can be heard in either the magistrates’ court or the Crown Court. Certain summary only offences may be tried in the Crown Court if linked to an indictable only offence.