Youths are not excused from abiding by the law. They can be charged with the same criminal offences as adults including, but not limited to:
- Uttering Threats
- Sexual Assault
- Domestic Assault
- Drug Offences
- Weapons Offences
- Criminal Driving Offences
- Impaired Driving
However, the law has clearly defined how youths are to be treated in relation to their criminal offences as detailed in the Youth Criminal Justice Act or YCJA. This Act applied to youths who are aged twelve to seventeen. Essentially, there is a higher focus on rehabilitating young offenders rather than on mandatory imprisonment.
In addition, the YCJA outlines the procedures used at each stage of the criminal process after a youth has been charged and arrested. For instance, the police cannot question a youth and use their testimony in court against them, unless they have an adult representative present along with one of our youth criminal lawyers in Brampton.
Furthermore, youths are rarely detained by the police pending the outcome of their criminal offences. Rather, they are normally released on their own recognizance and placed in the care and supervision of their parent or legal guardian.
In Ontario there were 2,667 youth criminal cases filed in Youth Courts in 2015. Part of the reason for the small number of actual cases filed is law enforcement officers will typically give youths a stern warning for minor offences. Part of this warning can include requiring the youth to apologize to the alleged victim for their actions.
Even if your child has been charged with a youth criminal offence, there is still a high likelihood of a positive outcome and not being found guilty. In 2015, about 56% of the 2,667 cases resulted in a not guilty outcome because the youth had obtained assistance from a skilled youth criminal lawyer, like from our criminal denfence lawyers in Brampton at Manbir Sodhi Law.
With the focus on rehabilitation, the types of sentences youths could be given include reprimands, extrajudicial measures and special punishments. Most sentences do not involve mandatory jail time at a youth detention facility.
Reprimands are where a judge will remind the youth of the seriousness of the crime and their actions. While reprimands occur after a finding of guilty, they do not result in a permanent criminal record for the youth. Extrajudicial measures are actions taken in cases where the youth has acknowledged their crime and is willing to take steps to repair and resolve the harm they caused.
However, it is important to keep in mind the sentence is often comparable to the severity of the offence. If the youth injured or killed another person, either intentionally or accidently, then they may face varying periods of detention.
If your child has been charged with a criminal offence, it is imperative you speak to our youth criminal lawyer in Brampton at Manbir Sodhi Law as soon as possible for a FREE consultation.