When a minor is arrested, they will typically be taken into custody by the police and transported to a juvenile detention facility. The police are mandated by the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA) to inform you of the arrest and provide information about where your child is being held.
Legal Rights of the Child
It is essential to know your child's legal rights during the arrest, interrogation, and trial process. Some key rights include the right to remain silent, the right to an attorney, and the right to due process. Make sure your child is aware of these rights and exercises them to avoid self-incrimination or violation of their legal protections.
Additionally, the YCJA states:
- The right to have parents/guardians and lawyer present during police questioning
- Parents/guardians notified upon arrest, detention, or court appearance
- Notification for extrajudicial sanctions
- Youth court can order parent/guardian attendance at hearings
- Parent/guardian can act as "responsible person" during bail hearings to potentially avoid youth detention
Parental Involvement and Responsibilities When Dealing With a Criminal Charge
Parents play a crucial role in supporting their child during the process. Maintaining open communication with your child and their attorney can help ensure that you are informed and involved every step of the way.
How Parents and Guardians Can Help:
- Help the young person get advice from an experienced criminal lawyer as soon as possible;
- Learn more about how the youth justice system works
- Understand the decisions that the young person will have to make and explain them to him or her;
- Help the young person understand and fulfil his or her obligations at different stages of the justice process; and
- Ask questions, and encourage the young person to also ask questions.
What Parents and Guardians Should Avoid:
- Do not try to fix the problem yourself;
- Do not make statements to the police without consulting a lawyer;
- Do not force the young person to make statements to the police; and
- Do not encourage the young person to waive his or her right to consult with a lawyer.
Common Legal Outcomes for Young Offenders
The Canadian legal system emphasises rehabilitation and reintegration of young offenders rather than focusing solely on punishment. Some of the legal outcomes for young offenders include:
- Diversion programs: May involve education, counselling, or restorative justice initiatives as alternatives to formal court proceedings.
- Probation: Supervising young offenders in the community and requiring them to follow specific conditions.
- Community service: Unpaid work for a specified number of hours
- Detention in a youth facility: Typically reserved for more serious offences or repeat offenders
Factors that determine the appropriate legal outcome include the nature and severity of the offence, age of the offender, prior criminal history, and any other relevant circumstances.
The Role of a Criminal Defence Lawyer
A skilled criminal defence lawyer will navigate the legal process, develop a strong defence strategy, and advocate for your child's best interests in court. Call us at (306) 585-1777 24/7 for a free consultation.