Definition - What does Summary Offense mean?
A summary offense is a law violation that is viewed as so small or minor that neither an official trial nor an indictment is needed. A such, summary offenses can be handled by a single judge.
Examples of summary offenses include disorderly conduct, petty theft, trespassing, public drunkenness, underage drinking of alcoholic beverages, and so forth. Game and wildlife offenses, such as hunting animals in the wrong season, can also qualify as a summary offense.
Justipedia explains Summary Offense
Summary offenses often have limitations for sentencing, such as 90 days in prison or a $300 fine. These offenses are considered to be some of the least serious that are dealt with by the criminal justice system. However, it is possible for these offenses to show up on a person's criminal record. So, committing a summary offense can still have significant negative consequences.