When a person under the age of 18 is charged with a criminal or drug offence special rules apply in Ontario. The Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA) sets out the special considerations and rights that the justice system affords young persons. These special rules start at the investigation and bail hearing stages, and continue through to the trial and even to sentencing where necessary.
Serious Consequences for Youth Findings of Guilt
Young offenders can receive custodial sentences for serious offences. Even when jail is not a realistic outcome for a young person there are long-term consequences for findings of guilt.
There is a misconception that criminal findings of guilt for young persons have no impact once the person becomes an adult. This is not correct. A young person’s record does not cease to exist when the individual turns 18. If the person becomes an adult and re-offends before the “non-disclosure period” has passed, the young person’s record can be used in court.
When the young person becomes an adult and tries to get a job there can be issues. If the job requires security clearance which must be granted by the government, a youth’s criminal record may be disclosed. Private employers may also ask a person to make a request to the police for their youth record.
A finding of guilt for a youth can also make travel to the United States or other countries difficult or impossible altogether, which can negatively affect employment and educational opportunities.
A Comprehensive Approach to Youth Cases
Part of Brett McGarry’s defence strategy is to facilitate access to social services for the young person’s benefit. Aside from goal of helping young people, taking advantage of these social services can often result in withdrawal of the charges or a reduced sentence.
GET HELP NOW
If your child or family member is facing criminal charges, contact Brett McGarry for a free initial consultation at 613.884.8576 or at email@example.com. He would be pleased to provide your child with excellent legal representation and assist them in moving forward in a positive direction.