How does sentencing work in youth criminal court?

5. Go to your sentencing hearing

The judge will decide your youth by:

  • following youth sentencing principles
  • listening to the Crown and your lawyer
  • listening to you if you want to say anything
  • listening to your parents if they want to say anything
  • reviewing any documents the Crown provided, such as a
  • reviewing any documents you or your lawyer has provided, such as reference letters or certificates from programs you have completed
  • reviewing any reports, such as a , Gladue Report, or medical/psychological report
  • reviewing any recommendations from a case conference

Even though the judge may get sentencing recommendations from your lawyer, the Crown, a report, or case conference, it's up to the judge at the sentencing whether to accept that recommendation.

It's important you understand that the Crown can ask for ancillary orders as well. An ancillary order is something ordered by the court as part of your sentence. It's a . Examples of ancillary orders include:

  • a DNA order
  • an order not to possess weapons
  • a forfeiture order to give back property related to the
  • a order to pay money owed to a victim of crime

Sentence review

After you get your sentence, you can ask for a sentence review. A sentence review is when a judge looks at your case again to decide if you can change your sentence. It's different than a sentence appeal.

In a sentence appeal, you go to a higher level court and ask a new judge to decide if the sentence you got was correct. The new judge can give you a higher or a lower sentence, or the judge can say the original sentence was correct.

In a sentence review, you go back to the same court that gave you the original sentence. The judge can either give you a lower sentence, change your sentence, or can say that the original sentence is still appropriate. But the judge cannot give you a higher sentence.

Before you ask for a sentence review, you must usually wait six months. You may be able to get the court's permission to bring an application earlier.

At a sentence review you're not saying that the original sentence was wrong. You're saying that things in your life are different than when you got your original sentence, and now a lower sentence is more appropriate.

For example, you may get a lower sentence at a sentence review after you complete counselling or a rehabilitation program, or you've made a significant improvement in your school work or your behaviour. Usually the judge at a sentence review asks for a progress report from people who know you, including your officer if you have one.

If you received a jail sentence, you can also ask the court to change the type of you're placed in to serve your sentence, or to release you earlier on conditional supervision.

If you're sentenced to custody for more than 1 year then your sentence will be automatically reviewed every year.

To make the best possible argument at a sentence review, you should ask a youth justice lawyer for help.

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