Hiring a Youth Criminal Lawyer in Alberta: What Parents Need to Know

Hiring a Youth Criminal Lawyer in Alberta: What Parents Need to Know

Criminal lawyer for criminal defense law in Edmonton, Alberta

When a teenager or child is arrested for a crime, regardless of the severity, parents are no doubt wracked with fear and concern.

If your child is currently facing youth criminal charges, you may be unsure how to proceed, what their rights are in a court of law, and how you can help them endure this stressful situation.

You can take the next steps in helping your child by hiring a skilled criminal lawyer who will help you and your child understand what will happen as they process your case.

That said, you may have a few questions about how teenagers and children are charged in Edmonton and the province of Alberta, which we can answer for you below, so keep reading to learn more.

How the Youth Criminal System Works

In Canada, when a minor is accused of or commits a crime, their case is processed under the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA).

This act was put in place with the understanding that young people are often immature, easily influenced, and do not have the same capacity as adults for making sound decisions.

Therefore, the goal of the YCJA is to help young people who are charged with crimes and reintegrate them into society. For this purpose, when young people are brought to court, this act requires that they are given the same rights as adults and treated as innocent until proven guilty.

If your child is under the age of 12 and has committed an offence, they cannot be charged. They may be reprimanded by the police officer who picked them up, who, in turn, will inform you of the action committed. In this case, it will be up to you to decide how to proceed.

However, if your child is between the ages of 12-17, they will be expected to appear in the Youth Justice Court.

The Youth Justice Court

The Youth Justice Court is a specialized court of law that deals with young people accused of a crime that they can be tried for as a youth.

This court is a stripped-down version of a regular court so as to prevent the child under accusation from being overly intimidated. The Youth Justice Court focuses on the needs and circumstances of the young person being tried and aims to leave incarceration as a last resort.

Your child will be granted the right to a criminal lawyer and a trial, throughout which the crown will have to prove beyond reasonable doubt that they are guilty of an offence.

If your child is found guilty, they may receive a Youth Justice criminal record. It will exist for a minimum of two months and will expire once they reach 18 years of age.

How Your Child Can Be Sentenced

There are a number of different sentences your child may receive, depending on the severity and circumstances of the crime committed. Common youth sentences include the following:

  • Community service
  • Reprimand
  • Probation
  • Absolute discharge
  • Conditional discharge
  • Pay a fine
  • Intensive support and supervision
  • Custody and supervision order
  • Intensive rehabilitative custody/supervision order
  • Restitution

In more serious cases, such as aggravated sexual assault or manslaughter, young people over the age of 14 are generally tried and convicted as adults in a regular court of law. In this instance, they may receive one of the following sentences:

  • imprisonment
  • probation
  • fine
  • conditional sentence
  • restitution

Young people who are convicted of more serious crimes will still receive shorter sentences than full-grown adults. For example, if a youth commits murder in the first degree, they can only be imprisoned for up to 10 years for that crime.

What Parents Can Do

Parents play a key role in youth offence cases, as they can help their children better understand not only the legal process but also the consequences of their actions in a meaningful way.

For this reason, one of the best things you can do for your child is to support and encourage them through the duration of their case. Hire a criminal lawyer as soon as possible, and work closely with them to ensure you remain fully informed of the details of the case.

Our team at Martin G Schulz & Associates would be happy to provide you with one of our top lawyers and offer your child the best criminal defence in Edmonton. We will do our utmost to help your child and reach a fair verdict that will put them back on the right path in life.

To enlist our legal services, contact us at 1-800-253-2105 for a free consultation.