Young people are treated differently than adults by the criminal justice system. They are governed by the Youth Criminal Justice Act which governs crimes committed in Canada by those who are 12 to 17 years of age. If a youth under 18 commits an offence, they will be dealt with in youth court for that offence even after they turn 18.
The Youth Criminal Justice Act recognizes the important role that a parent or guardian play in a young person’s life. That is why the Act says that parents and guardians should be kept informed of their child’s involvement in the youth justice system. Parents and guardians of the youth must be notified on arrest and upon the detention of the youth. This notice is often in writing and is called a “Notice to Parent.”
It is important to know that your child has a right to a lawyer from the outset. The police must tell your child about this right upon arrest or detention. Your child has the right to consult a lawyer and to have a parent or other adult with them when being questioned by the police. If your child has to go to court, it is best to retain counsel prior to the first court appearance.
One of the most common misconceptions I encounter in my youth court practice is that many people believe a youth record automatically disappears when a young person reaches the age of 18. This is false. A youth record may stay open longer or may be closed sooner, depending on such factors as the type of offence, how the crown proceeds with the offence, and whether the youth commits another offence while the record is still open.
The reality is that your child may have to live with some long-term negative consequences as a result of his or her involvement in the youth criminal justice system even after he or she turns 18. If your child is in trouble with the law, it is best to seek professional legal advice as soon as possible.
Michelle Johal Practices Exclusively In The Area Of Criminal Law.
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