How does sentencing work in youth criminal court?
After you're found guilty, the judge will decide what is appropriate at a sentencing . The hearing can happen:
- on the day you
- at the end of your
- on a later day scheduled by the judge
Sentencing for youth is different than for adults. In youth sentencing, the judge:
- must follow youth sentencing principles
- must give your parents a chance to speak if they want to say anything
- can arrange youth justice conferences to discuss your sentence with others, such as the police, the victim, your parents, your teachers, or community leaders
- can order medical or psychological reports about you
Jail is always the last option in youth court. But all youth sentences include a police record.
There are some sentences available for youth that are not available for adults.
The judge will decide your youth sentence by:
- following youth sentencing principles
- listening to the arguments made by your lawyer and the Crown
- listening to you if you want to say anything
- listening to your parents if they want to say anything
- reviewing any documents or information you or the Crown provided, such as letters of support or a
- reviewing any reports, such as a or medical/psychological report
- reviewing any recommendations from a case conference
If you need more time to prepare for your sentencing hearing, you can ask the judge to postpone the hearing. This is called asking for an “”.
Getting a lawyer
Youth sentencing can be complicated and in some cases you can get a criminal record that lasts your entire life. It's best to get help from a lawyer experienced in youth criminal justice. You may qualify for a legal aid certificate for a free lawyer.
If you don't get a certificate, you can ask the judge to order Legal Aid Ontario to give you a lawyer. This is called a Section 25 order. In certain situations, including at a or at a trial, the law says that a judge must make a Section 25 order if you want a lawyer but can't get one on your own. Once you ask the judge for a lawyer, they must consider your request. The judge usually gives you their decision right away.
You can also contact Justice for Children and Youth for help with your youth criminal case.