In Canada, young persons under the age of 18 and as young as 12 are prosecuted under the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA). The YCIA’s objective is to rehabilitate youth into adulthood. Therefore, the Act attempts to prepare the youth as they re-enter into society. The way youth offences are addressed differ from how an adult offence is handled. The Act contains several allowances for youth who are charged under the Act that adults do not get. For instance, if a child is charged under the YCJA, the police have to provide them ample time to speak with legal counsel, parent or other adult before issuing a statement to police. The Act was created to balance the interests of young offenders, while maintaining public safety.
When a youth is charged with an offense, there are various ways of addressing this within the criminal justice system including diversion and withdrawal.
The Sentencing for young offenders emphasizes youth rehabilitation and least restrictive sentences. Many youth charges are diverted to measures that require upfront work and eventual withdrawal of your charges.
In the event the youth is found guilty then sentences start from reprimand from the judge, to absolute/conditional discharge. Then to simply probation. Only for serious offences or for youth with considerable history of legal problems that court looks into sentences of deferred custody, and finally to secure custody. The letter being for serious offences.
Head Office : 2 County Court Blvd. 2nd Floor Brampton, Ont. Canada
(Up to 30 minutes)