When a minor is arrested, they are usually taken into custody by the police and transported to a juvenile detention facility. The police are required by the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA) to inform you of the arrest and provide information about where your child is being held.

The Child's Legal Rights

Understanding your child's legal rights during the arrest, interrogation, and trial process is crucial. Key rights include the right to remain silent, the right to legal representation, and the right to due process. Ensure your child is aware of these rights and exercises them to prevent self-incrimination or infringement of their legal protections.

Moreover, the YCJA stipulates:

  • The right to have parents/guardians and a lawyer present during police questioning
  • Parents/guardians notified upon arrest, detention, or court appearance
  • Notification for extrajudicial sanctions
  • Youth court can mandate parent/guardian attendance at hearings
  • Parent/guardian can serve as a "responsible person" during bail hearings to potentially avoid youth detention

Parental Involvement and Obligations

Parents play a vital role in supporting their child throughout the process. Keeping open communication with your child and their legal representative can help ensure you stay informed and involved at each stage.

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.

Source: If Your Child is in Trouble with the Law

Typical Legal Outcomes

Canada's legal system prioritises the rehabilitation and reintegration of young offenders over solely focusing on punishment. Some legal outcomes for young offenders include:

  • Diversion programs: May involve education, counselling, or restorative justice initiatives as alternatives to formal court proceedings.
  • Probation: Supervision of young offenders in the community with specific conditions to follow.
  • Community service: Unpaid work for a predetermined number of hours.
  • Detention in a youth facility: Generally reserved for more severe offences or repeat offenders.

Factors influencing the appropriate legal outcome include the offence's nature and severity, the offender's age, prior criminal history, and any other relevant circumstances.

The Importance of a Criminal Defence Lawyer

An experienced criminal defence lawyer will guide your child through the legal process, formulate a robust defence strategy, and advocate for your child's best interests in court. Contact us at (855) 585-1777 24/7 for a free consultation.

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