Canada has a Youth Criminal Justice Act that seeks to keep the youth out of jail particularly if the offense is not too serious. The law applies to the youth who are between the ages of 12 and 17 who are not considered as adults and mature enough in the eyes of the court. However, at age 18 and above, a person is considered an adult and can be tried in court.
There are instances when the police will issue a warning instead of arresting the young person. The goal is to prevent crime and help young people be responsible members of the community. In cases where the youth is arrested by the police and found guilty of a criminal offense, the sentence must be fair to the crime committed.
The Youth Justice Court is for criminal cases that involves youth below the age of 18 when the alleged crime occurred. A judge will listen to the evidence before deciding whether the accused is guilty or not. If guilty, the judge has to give sentence.
The youth’s right to lawyer is very important because he must have the opportunity to understand the criminal process. A judge must not allow the youth to plead guilty unless he understands the charge, his options and the fact that he will be given a sentence. When a youth is arrested and held at the police station, his parents have to be notified of the situation and their child’s right to have a lawyer.
If the youth pleads “guilty” to the crime, the judge will decide on the sentence and there will be no trial. However, before deciding on the sentence, the judge will ask will information from the parents, probation officer and other people concerned. If the youth pleads “not guilty” to the crime, the court will set a trial date.
If your son or daughter who is below 18 years old is accused of a crime, your best option is to call Donich Law for legal advice. The presence of a lawyer will ensure that the youth does not make any incriminating statements that will be detrimental to the case.