Youth Criminal Defence Lawyer in Winnipeg

What are Youth Crimes?

Youth CrimesAnyone between the age of 12 and 17 charged with a criminal offence will have their matter dealt with under the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA). The YCJA sets out special rules and procedure for youths in criminal justice system. Due the immaturity and vulnerability of youth, they have greater legal protections than adults. Youth are treated differently from the time of their arrest to the resolution of their matters.

Some of the ways youth are treated differently than adults are:

  1. When arrested the youth has the right to have a guardian or legal counsel present when questioned by the police.
  2. A youth is entitled to have a lawyer at all stages, and will have one appointed if he or she cannot afford one.
  3. The grounds for denying a youth bail is more onerous for the Crown to meet than for an adult.
  4. Youth’s names or anything else that would identify the youth can be published during or after the case.
  5. When being sentenced, the judge is required to take into account their reduced level of maturity and capacity for moral judgment.
  6. Their are special rules regarding how long youth criminal records can be accessed.

Many criminal defense attorneys do not accept youth cases. It is important have a lawyer familiar with the YCJA and an understanding of the additional protections youth receive under the law.

Youth Sentencing

The YCJA provides the purposes of sentencing a young person is to hold a him or her accountable for an offence though the imposition of just sanctions that have a meaningful consequence and that promote his or her rehabilitation and reintegration into society. Further, the sentence has to be the least restrictive sentence capable of achieving the purpose of sentencing a young person.

There is a wide range of sentences available for youth crimes and only in certain circumstances can a youth be jailed. Under the YCJA, a youth sentence cannot be a greater punishment than an adult would receive if convicted of the same offence committed in similar circumstances.

Due to the rehabilitative focus of the youth justice system, often charges can be diverted outside the court process for resolutions through extra-judicial measures. This will usually require the youth to take responsibility for their actions, attend counselling or mediation, and perhaps complete community service work hours.

In the case of serious violent offences, the Crown may ask the court to sentence the youth as an adult. In order for the offender to be sentenced as an adult, the Crown must satisfy the court that a youth sentence is not long enough hold the youth accountable.

Defending Youth Crimes

I will thoroughly review the case to determine if there are any legal issues and available defences. I work collaboratively with parents and guardians throughout all stages of the court process.

In Winnipeg, out of custody youth matters normally appear at the Winnipeg Law Courts at 408 York Avenue. For youth in custody, their matters appear at the Manitoba Youth Centre at 170 Doncaster Street. Youth bail application are typically heard at the Manitoba Youth Centre.

Related Youth Crimes Topics

  1. How do youth criminal records work?

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