I’m under 18 and charged with a crime. What are my rights?

2. Understand youth diversion

Once your case gets to court, the Crown takes over responsibility for your case.

The Crown can offer you . Diversion is a word people use to talk about taking criminal charges out of the court and dealing with them in a more informal way. That means dealing with your charges without having a or pleading guilty. This allows you to take responsibility for your actions without going through the formal court system. In the youth criminal justice system this is called Extrajudicial Measures (EJM), Extrajudicial Sanctions (EJS), or informal diversion.

If you participate in EJM, EJS, or informal diversion, your court case is put on hold while you:

  • attend a program,
  • take a course, or
  • complete other tasks away from the court

These tasks help you take responsibility for your actions and show your interest in making things better. Once you finish your program, course, or other tasks, your court case will be closed.

If the Crown cannot prove their case against you, they should not be offering you diversion. Instead, they should withdraw your charges.

If the Crown offers you EJM, EJS, or informal diversion, you have the right to:

  • get advice from a lawyer before deciding whether to accept 
  • say “no” to EJM, EJS, or informal diversion
  • ask for a different type of diversion, for example asking for informal diversion instead of EJS, but the Crown can say “no”

Read more about some important things to think about when deciding if you want to accept EJM, EJS, or informal diversion.

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