TORONTO YOUNG OFFENDERS LAWYER
Since April 1, 2003, young offenders have been subject to the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA). The YCJA replaced the former Young Offenders Act with the objective of reducing rates of incarceration and focus on rehabilitation and reintegration. From a police standpoint, deterrence was not generally used as a sentencing principle. There have, however, been some recent statutory amendments which impact how youths are handled in the criminal justice system. We have extensive knowledge and experience working with youths alleged of committing offences under the recent amendments.
On October 23, 2012, the amendments to the YCJA prescribed in Part 4 of Bill C-10, The Safe Streets and Communities Act became effective. This Bill amends the YCJA to alter the framework governing the imposition of an adult sentence; broaden the circumstances in which a youth custodial sentence may be imposed; revise the objectives of the youth criminal justice system; modify youth sentencing principles; and provide a framework for determining whether a young person should be denied bail. The overall nature of the amendments are more punitive towards youths.
We handle many situations where young people who attend school regularly, have no criminal record and come from good families, face serious allegations of assaults, sexual assault, assaulting police, theft, fraud, robbery, murder, weapon offences, driving and trespassing offences, home invasion and frequently mischief. Many of these individuals are not criminals, but were simply caught up in the wrong crowd.
In the Firm’s R. v. M.R. , Jordan Donich defended a young female charged with various Assault and Robery allegations at a public event. After obtaining all disclosure, it was revealed she not properly identified in a photo lineup by other youth witnesses, all charges were then withdrawn. Our primary objective in dealing with youths is to avoid any form of criminal record or penal sanctions. In contrast to the alleged behavior which forms the subject matter of the charge, we persuasively and strategically incorporate the actual character of the accused in context of the defence.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Young Person?
A young person is defined in the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA) as a person who is or, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, appears to be twelve years old or older, but less than eighteen years old and, if the context requires, includes any person who is charged under the YCJA with having committed an offence while he or she was a young person or who is found guilty of an offence under the YCJA.
What is a Serious Offence?
Bill C-10 set out new definitions within the Youth Criminal Justice Act. A serious offence is defined as an indictable offence under an Act of Parliament for which the maximum punishment is imprisonment for five years or more.
What is a Violent Offence?
Bill C-10 set out new definitions within the Youth Criminal Justice Act. A violent offences is defined as an offence committed by a young person that includes as an element the causing of bodily harm; an attempt or a threat to commit an offence; or an offence in the commission of which a young person endangers the life or safety of another person by creating a substantial likelihood of causing bodily harm.
What is a Serious Violent Offence?
Bill C-10 set out new definitions within the Youth Criminal Justice Act. A serious violent offence is defined as murder, attempted murder, manslaughter, or aggravated sexual assault.
When can a Youth be Subject to Adult Sentences?
For certain offences, the Attorney General, can make an application for the imposition of an adult sentence and bears the onus to satisfying the requirements to impose an adult sentence have been satisfied.
The Attorney General can apply for the imposition of an adult sentence if the youth has been found guilty of an offence for which an adult is liable to a term of incarceration of more than two years and where the offence was committed after the youth attained 14 years of age.
Youth crime is complex and prosecuted differently than adults. Many of the youths we handle, are not criminals, but were simply caught up in the wrong crowd. We have substantial understanding of youth law and its relationship to new statutory amendments. Ultimately, our objective is to provide these individuals a further chance, with no criminal record.