When a child is charged with a crime, it has a tremendous impact on the entire family. Parents must take time off work to meet with lawyers and attend court hearings. The child might experience a dip in grades as he worries about the consequences he faces in court. Although young offenders are charged with the same crimes as adults under the Criminal Code of Canada, the Crown prosecutes them under a separate justice system created by the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
Because the law governing young people is complicated, it is important to work with a knowledgeable criminal defence lawyer who understands how the justice system deals with children. The skilled defence lawyers at Hobson & Reeve have extensive experience with youth justice issues and can help your family through this challenging time.
In Canada, children between the ages of 12 and 17 are prosecuted under the Youth Criminal Justice Act. Children 14 and older who commit violent and serious crimes can also be prosecuted as adults under certain circumstances. The Act was created with the idea that, although children should be held responsible for their crimes, the main focus of a youth criminal justice system should be fundamentally different from that of adults. As a result, the Act is geared toward providing additional procedural protection while promoting rehabilitation and reintegration into society. At Hobson & Reeve, we use our in-depth knowledge of this niche area of law to obtain the most favorable result in your child’s case.
One of the defining provisions of the Act is the protection of youth records. To give young people an opportunity to make a fresh start after a poor decision, the Act requires that a young offender’s name remain confidential. To enforce this, law enforcement personnel and court employees are prohibited from disclosing the names of young offenders.
Although youth records are generally private, they can turn into adult records under certain circumstances. Young people who receive an adult sentence also receive an adult record. Additionally, an open youth record can become an adult record if the child later commits a crime as an adult.
Depending on the severity of the crime, the penalties for youth offenders can range from fines to jail time. In general, youth crimes can be broken down into two types: summary conviction offences and indictable offences. Summary conviction offences include relatively minor crimes, such as shoplifting and breaching the peace. These convictions generally carry lower penalties that range from minor fines to short prison sentences. By contrast, indictable offences are serious crimes, such as murder and assault. When a child is found guilty of an indictable offence, the penalties involve much longer prison sentences. Without a lawyer well-versed in criminal defence, your child’s future is in jeopardy. With so much riding on a positive outcome, you can’t afford not to get expert assistance. Call us at the earliest opportunity to discuss your child’s case.
The legal team of Hobson & Reeve, Barristers has over 60 years of collective criminal law experience. Our lawyers have worked hard to establish themselves as formidable litigators in court as well as efficient negotiators on matters such as plea bargains. Both David Hobson and Dennis Reeve have served as Crown Prosecutors; this experience gives them invaluable insight into each case’s unique strengths and weaknesses and helps them choose the best strategies for protecting their clients. They are dedicated to impeccable preparation, fierce yet professional advocacy, and providing the best possible defence for each client. Hobson & Reeve look forward to bringing their decades of legal experience to your case, protecting your rights, and providing the advice and representation you need. If your child has been charged with a youth offence, call them at 866.619.9646 for a free initial consultation.