Young Offender Cases
Youth Criminal Defence Lawyer
Special rules apply to youth cases at every stage of the process, beginning with the investigation and arrest right through to the way youth cases are handled by police and the courts. Even the punishment for crimes is different for young people than their adult counterparts. There is even special legislation dealing with these cases, called the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA).
It is important to hire a criminal defence lawyer with specific expertise working with youth court cases. Daniel Brown is intimately familiar with the complexities of the YCJA including its application to bail proceedings for young persons. He has won countless cases for his clients ensuring that their adult records remain unaffected by their youthful mistakes.
For more information about the youth court process please read the following article. Those looking to speak with a lawyer about a youth court matter should call Daniel Brown to arrange a consultation at (416) 297-7200.
Frequently asked questions about youth matters:
Who does the YCJA apply to?
A person between the ages of 12-17 years old at the time a crime is committed is treated differently by the criminal justice system in Canada. People in this age group are called “young people” and they receive different treatment than adult offenders under the YCJA.
Where do youth cases take place?
Youth cases take place in special Youth Courts, presided over by Youth Court judges.
What are the differences between youth and adult cases?
There are many differences between youth and adult criminal processes.
Notification to Parents:
Unlike in adult criminal court, the police must notify a parent that their son or daughter is being prosecuted before a case can proceed in Youth Court.
The police are also limited in their ability to take statements from young persons. The YCJA gives the young person the right to speak to a lawyer and a parent or other adult before they decide whether or not to say anything to the police. The lawyer or an adult must be with the young person when they make a statement to police, unless the young person chooses not to have that adult with them. Any statement made by the young person to police that does not strictly adhere to these requirements cannot be used against the young person in court.
The YCJA also makes obtaining bail much easier for young people –especially for youth charged with non-violent offences.
Youth Sentencing Options:
There is a also a far greater range of sentences available in youth cases.
Before a youth can be prosecuted, both the police and prosecutor must consider whether a simple warning or caution will be a sufficient deterrent.
Another outcome available for a youth accused of a crime is “extra-judicial sanctions” (EJS). EJS requires the youth to do something to acknowledge his responsibility for a crime but it does not require him to formally plead guilty in court. Those who accept EJS will not have a criminal record if the complete their EJS program successfully. Instead, the result will be a withdrawal of the criminal charge upon completing EJS. Examples of extra-judicial sanctions include writing an essay, community service or counseling.
Even if a formal proceeding is commenced, Youth Courts look for alternatives to locking up a young person. The court can require community service, alcohol or drug treatment, or other measures to get the young person back on the right track.
In cases involving homicide or other serious crime of violence, the prosecutor may bring an application to both prosecute and sentence the accused as an adult.
For more information on youth sentencing and the impact a criminal conviction will have after the youth turns 18 years old, please readmy article on “Sealing Youth Court Records“.
Navigating the Youth Criminal Justice Act requires specialized knowledge of the particular rights and responsibilities that apply. A lawyer who is experienced with the Youth Courts can provide advice and assistance to help make it through this difficult time. Contact Daniel Brown to arrange a consultation at (416) 297-7200.