Young Offenders - Aitken Robertson Barristers & Solicitors

Criminal Lawyers for Young Offenders in Peterborough, Ontario Canada

The Canadian Young Offenders Act was enacted in 1984, bringing about a long overdue reform of Canada’s juvenile justice system. The main theme of the Young Offenders Act is that while young people should be held accountable for their actions, there are also special needs at work that require specialized efforts at rehabilitation.

Young Offenders and their Rights

The Canadian Young Offenders Act applies to those persons between the ages of 12 and 17 who are accused of crimes and any other offences that are spelled out in federal statutes. Those under the age of 12 cannot be convicted of such offences, and those who are over the age of 18 are required to answer for them in adult court. Young people 14 years of age and older may be remanded over to adult court in certain circumstances, depending on the interests of society and the young person’s needs.

Young people have the same rights and privileges that are afforded to adults charged with crimes, such as the right to bail, the right to a hearing based on the evidence in the case, the right to the services of juvenile lawyers, and a right to a determinate sentence and an appeal. There are also other safeguards for young people charged under the Act. These young people receive their trials through a special Youth Court, and, if imprisoned, are removed from adult prisoners in the inmate population. Access to a young offender’s court record is restricted, the young person’s parents have a right to be notified of their child’s arrest.

Punishment for Young Offenders

Under Canadian law, a young person’s sentences or punishment should be related to his or her specific needs and circumstance. Sentences may include a discharge, a fine not to exceed $1000, and an order to pay out compensation to the victim (through money or personal service), as well as the placement of the young offender on probation for a period of up to 2 years. Custody may also be an option, the duration of which may be anywhere from 2 to 5 years.

Custody as it relates to a young offender may be “open” (meaning that the young person may be placed in the custody of a residential center, a group home, child care institution, or wilderness camp), or it may involve incarceration at a correctional facility. The location will depend on the nature of the crime and its severity. A court may review a young person’s sentence in light of a change in circumstances of the offender or the services that are available.

Aitken Robertson: Defending Young People

The legal team at the law firm of Aitken Robertson has decades of experience in criminal law, with a solid track record of successful cases throughout Peterborough and Ontario. They offer a free initial consultation, affordable fees with flexible payment plans, and evening and weekend hours. They can defend you in any criminal matter, including drug offences, assaults, theft, and fraud, as well as bail hearings and criminal appeals. You can reach Richard Aitken and his team through any one of Aitken Robertson’s office locations or by calling (866) 762-9218.