The Youth Criminal Justice Act (“YCJA”) governs young persons between the ages of twelve and seventeen years old who have been charged with criminal offences. The YCJA offers additional protections to young persons as compared to adult accused persons; for example, young persons have the right to have a lawyer and parent present while being questioned by police and (in many cases) the right not to have their identity published. Having a lawyer engaged from the earliest opportunity and throughout the court process ensures that all protections are afforded to a young person in contact with the criminal justice system.
While it is true that youth criminal records are treated differently from adult criminal records and can only be accessed by certain people, there is often a misconception that youth records are erased or sealed automatically once a person turns eighteen. Although young offenders records may be sealed or destroyed after a certain period of time, this is not necessarily at the age of eighteen. Further, if a person with a youth record is convicted of a criminal offence as an adult within a certain period of time following their youth finding of guilt, then this will convert their youth record into an adult record. This means that criminal offences committed by young offenders could follow them into adulthood and affect employment opportunities later in life.
Our lawyers have years of experience representing young persons charged with a wide range of criminal offences. If you know a young person in need of excellent legal representation, please contact us as soon as possible to ensure we can get involved at the earliest stage in the process.