Youth Matters

What Is A Youth?

A youth is a person between the ages of 12 and 17 (inclusive) at the time they are alleged to have committed a offence. Persons under the age of 12 cannot be convicted of a criminal offence, while persons between the ages of 14 and 17 (inclusive) may be tried as an adult in cases involving serious violence. If a youth commits a criminal offence, they will be prosecuted under the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA), in what is known as "Youth Court".

The Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA)

The YCJA provides special legal safeguards for youths to ensure that their rights are protected throughout all stages of the criminal process. Such safeguards include:

  • continuing reminders, from the stage of arrest through to trial, that the youth has the right to legal counsel;
  • obligations on the police to, as soon as possible, provide the youth’s parent(s) with notice of the youth’s arrest or detention, as well as any court date the youth must attend;
  • the right to have a parent present while the youth is being questioned by the police;
  • strict guidelines that must be adhered to in order for police to take statements from youth;
  • privacy rules preventing youths from being identified by their full name;
  • privacy rules preventing non-criminal justice officials from viewing the youths criminal records;
  • special types of sentences designed specifically for youths and focussed on rehabilitation (e.g. see Extra-Judicial Sanctions subsection below)

The YCJA discourages harsh criminal sentences that would hinder a youth’s chance at a bright future. Instead, the Act seeks to address the underlying causes of the youth’s behavioural issues. Specifically, the YCJA is founded on principles promoting:

  • Rehabilitating youths and reintegrating them into society, through measures intended to correct criminal behaviour rather than penalize it;
  • Reinforcing the youth’s respect for societal values as well as ethnic and cultural differences;
  • Enhancing the procedural protections afforded to youths, with an emphasis on fairness and rights;
  • Fair and proportionate youth accountability, with prompt court intervention

A jail sentence is imposed only as a last resort, reserved for serious violent crimes and repeat offenders. In other cases, the focus lies on giving youths a second chance and amending their mistakes.

Extra-Judicial Sanctions ("EJS")
The YCJA creates a special type of sentence designed specifically for non-serious youth offences, called Extra-Judicial Sanctions (EJS). EJS requires the youth to take responsibility for their actions, but it does not require a guilty plea or lead to a criminal conviction. The specific entailments of EJS will depend on the facts of the case and the nature of the charges. However, EJS generally requires the youth to do community service, apologize to any victims, write an essay, or otherwise amend for their actions. Upon completion of EJS, charges will generally be withdrawn and the matter will be finished. As such, EJS is a very positive and effective way to promptly deal with youth charges. Though every case is unique, Daniel Freudman has been successful in securing EJS for youths charged with possession of marihuana, theft, assault, mischief and even robbery.

How Daniel Freudman Can Help

Daniel understands that youths lack the experience and maturity of adults, and as a result, they are more prone to making mistakes. Youths are often charged with offences stemming from a temporary lapse in judgment, a simple misunderstanding, or associations with the wrong crowd. Regardless of how the charges arise, the criminal justice process can be very frightening for a youth and their families alike. The ramifications of a serious criminal charge could affect a youth’s education, employment prospects and the rest of their future. For these reasons, Daniel strives to avoid jail sentences and criminal convictions, and instead fights fervently to resolve the case in a manner best fitting the needs of the youth.

Toronto criminal defence lawyer Daniel Freudman has experience in dealing with a variety of different youth charges. He understands the complexities and special rules pertaining to youth matters, and is able to handle them in a sensitive yet effective manner. By devoting his time to discussing the case with the youth, Daniel is able to understand the youth’s side of the story and the reasons for their actions. With this understanding, Daniel can negotiate with the Crown, and very often reach resolutions which do not involve jail sentences or criminal convictions. In certain past cases, Daniel has been successful in persuading the Crown to withdraw youth charges of possession of marihuana, theft and assault. These positive outcomes will give the youth a second chance so that they can grow up to be successful and responsible adults, unburdened by their past mistakes.

The Criminal Court Process – Ontario Court of Justice

Call Daniel For a Free Initial Consultation at 647-771-2416

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