Sadly, youth offences are all too common in Canada. According to the International Youth Survey, 37% of youth reported having engaged in one or more delinquent behaviours in their lifetime, either acts of violence, acts against property or the sale of drugs.
There are a plethora of reasons for this alarming rate of criminal activity – poverty, addictions, and parental negligence, just to name a few.
Whatever the reason, at Dhanu Dhaliwal Law Group, we are certain of one thing – that kids deserve a second chance. This is why we fight for the rights of youths who have been charged with crimes.
If you, or a youth you support has been charged with a youth offence, contact Rob Dhanu, former Crown Prosecutor, today to get started with your case.
The Youth Criminal Justice Act
Youth offences are conducted under the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA). The YCJA came into effect on April 1, 2003, replacing the Young Offenders Act.
The YCJA changed the way criminal cases involving a youth (defined in the act as any individual aged 12-17) are handled.
Despite protections for children in the YCJA, all youths are charged in the same way as adults. This means that a child can be arrested and charged for crimes even as severe as murder.
The YCJA includes a particular emphasis on youth rehabilitation, making it easier for a child to fight charges than an adult, depending on the circumstances.
Our team of criminal lawyers have extensive experience with the YCJA, and use the law to benefit clients regularly.
Investigation of Youth Offences in British Columbia
Many criminal cases begin with an investigation by police. If the police suspect you or your child has committed a crime, they may contact you for a statement.
It is important to know that you do not have to provide the police with any information without your lawyer present, whether you have been arrested or not.
If you have been arrested, you retain the right to a lawyer, as well as the opportunity to contact an adult, be it your parent, guardian, or relative.
If you are to be held in jail for a prolonged period of time (more than a few hours) the police are obligated by law to notify a parent or guardian.
Punishment for Youth Offences in Vancouver
As mandated by the YCJA, sentencing and punishment for youth offences is different from that of adult criminal offences.
Youth offenders are considered to have “diminished moral blameworthiness,” meaning they are not accountable for a crime to the same extent as an adult.
Generally, youth offenders receive lighter sentences and less severe punishment.
The primary goal of the court in a youth offence case is not punishment but rehabilitation.
Still, in cases involving serious criminality, a child can be tried and sentenced as an adult.
Defending Youth Offences in Vancouver
It is extremely important to hire a criminal defence lawyer with a thorough understanding not only of the Canadian Criminal Code, but also the Youth Criminal Justice Act and youth offences in British Columbia, when dealing with youth charged with a criminal offence.
Unlike the Criminal Code, the YCJA emphasizes rehabilitation as the primary goal when dealing with young persons and has a very different set of rules when it comes to bail and sentencing.
We understand the YCJA and our main goal is to explore every possible opportunity for alternative measures or diversion in order to steer young persons outside of the traditional criminal justice system and to avoid any form of criminal record.
When it comes to youth, we not only deal with the criminal charges but also explore and address the underlying life issues that may have led to charges being laid in the first place, hence our motto: Real Life Legal Solutions.
Contact Dhanu Dhaliwal Law Group today to get started on your defence.