Juvenile law is an area of criminal law that deals with persons not of age being held responsible for criminal acts. Family court deals with juvenile delinquency. Unlike the criminal justice system which punishes adult offenders, the primary goal of the juvenile justice system is seeking rehabilitation. While juveniles under the age of 16 may be accused of the same crimes as an adult, with few exceptions, these cases are handled in family court. The court will consider more than just the crime involved, but will look at a juvenile’s family circumstance and school records and take all these matters into consideration in formulating an appropriate disposition.
The most common charges filed against juveniles are robbery, assaults, drug abuse, vandalism, burglary, petit larceny. Penalties for juvenile crimes can result in incarceration at a juvenile detention facility, a rehabilitation facility, probation, community service or an adjournment on contemplation of dismissal. If the defendant rejects a disposition, he certainly has the option of a trial. In the family court, there are no juries. The judge decides innocence or guilt and then rules accordingly.
• Suspension of the driver license or permit, whichever is applicable.
• Possible jail time in a juvenile detention facility, the period can vary depending on whether you are a repeat offender or not.
• The court may ask you to attend a mandatory alcohol treatment program.
• Restitution, i.e. you may have to pay for any damage caused as a result of an accident.
• Attending mandatory driving classes.
• Ignition Interlock device installation, which you will have to pay for yourself.
• Hours of community service, depending on the severity of your offense.
• Any possible fines that the judge may see fit to charge you.
Treatment as an Adult
The aforementioned penalties won’t be all that you may face if you are tried as an adult. In some cases, minors are charged as adults for their DUI offense and may face felony charges, which could have serious consequences. The likelihood of this scenario increases, if you have a previous criminal record or if your DUI resulted in an accident in which someone got hurt or lost their life.
Penalties for Youth Crimes in Ontario
Although normally not as severe as adult convictions, penalties can still be significant for youth crimes, including juvenile detention, heavy fines, and required counseling. Your child’s education may also be affected if they have been ordered to find an alternative school or have been expelled. Convicted juveniles also often encounter problems travelling abroad, renting property, getting a driver’s licence, obtaining credit, and finding gainful employment.
In many circumstances a skilled legal defence lawyer can negotiate an alternative to incarceration, or will seek to have the charges dismissed or withdrawn altogether, and save the young adult from a criminal record. This becomes more difficult for repeated offences, if it begins to appear to the courts that the youth’s history displays a lack of interest in avoiding a life of crime.
Criminal Defence Lawyers Representing Youth Crime Offenders
It is in your child’s best interest to consult with a professional, qualified legal advisor.
If your child is facing Youth Crime charges, they are depending on your support – to give them the best possible chance of a future. Get in touch with a criminal defense lawyer immediately so you can plan a strategy that will seek to protect your child’s rights, and an unhealthy impact on their future.