For youth charged with misdemeanor or felony offenses and their families, the Criminal Justice System can be a scary thought. The fear for potential penalties as a result of the alleged crime is undoubtedly overwhelming. However, some of this fear may be alleviated with a bit more understanding of Juvenile Justice System In Canada, created specifically to provide rehabilitation and oversight to youth (generally under the age of 18) faced with criminal offenses.
It states that the juvenile justice system was established to:
** Provide judicial and other procedures to assure due process and fair hearings by a respectful court and ensure that public safety is still being protected.
** Create an environment that fosters healthy social, emotional, intellectual and physical development for the well-being of children in the state’s custody or care.
** Provide a comprehensive assessment of a child’s needs and administer control, discipline, punishment, and treatment accordingly, with the protection of society and community in mind.
** Provide restitution to the victim of the child’s criminal offense if possible.
** Help strengthen the child’s ties to family or remove the child from their parental custody if the child’s welfare or security of the public cannot be safeguarded. If the child is removed from his or her parental custodian temporarily, the juvenile justice court will care for and discipline the child after securing custody. However, if the child is permanently removed, the court will determine alternative placement, which may include an adoptive home, independent living program, approved family home or other options.
A person below 18 years of age can be charged under the juvenile justice system if he or she has committed a crime. This system provides for various forms of rehabilitation and punishment in order to make these children aware of their crimes.
There are different kinds of crimes that juveniles may commit. Some of the most common charges are for disorderly conduct, traffic offences like reckless driving, possessing a fake ID, possessing a controlled substance, and underage driving.
The Process of the Juvenile Justice System In Canada
The first thing that will happen if your child is accused of something is that they will be taken to a Juvenile Detention Center in order to be assessed by the officials present there.
The minor will then be interviewed and the parents will also be asked a series of questions, usually regarding the general behavior of the child and the family life. The charges are framed, taking into consideration how severe the crime is as well as how the child should be rehabilitated. The officials will then provide a recommendation on whether to put the minor into a diversion program or whether to charge them.
In some severe cases, it may also be decided to treat the minor as an adult and charge them under the regular criminal system. However, the final decision of how to charge the person will remain with the State Attorney.
The diversion program gives the minor an opportunity to get all the charges dropped by satisfying certain requirements. Usually, these children are then sent for rehabilitation, given community service or sent for mandatory counseling. Once they complete the required program, the charges get dropped and they no longer have a criminal record.
Possible Punishments for Juveniles
If your child has not been given an opportunity to enter the diversion program, there are various punishments that may be handed out. These punishments have been designed in order to rehabilitate the individual, make them learn from their mistakes and then allow them to return to society as a good citizen.
Jail time is not the only punishment that is given. In some cases, a civil litigation is carried out for the individual and they may have to undergo community service, counseling, payment of restitution, drug tests and continuous monitoring of school reports as a punishment. If the child has committed a serious crime, he can be tried as an adult under the Youthful Offender Act. This Act provides for community supervision as well as incarceration of the individual.
The Need for a Good Attorney
Criminal defense charges cannot be fought on your own. You need a good lawyer who will sit down and explain everything to you and your child and give you the different options available to fight this charge. A criminal record can follow your family around and it can be a big burden when it comes to various opportunities for your child in the future. By fighting the charge now and getting the case dismissed, you son or daughter’s future will be a lot easier.
The case is dismissed if the court finds that the child has not committed a delinquent act in violation. However, if the court finds that the child did indeed commit a crime, it may enter an order stating the facts and finding, but withhold adjudication of delinquency. This means that the court has found the child delinquent, but will not convict the child unless he or she violates certain terms.
The child may then be placed in a probation program under the supervision of the Department of Juvenile Justice System In Canada or another court-appointed agency. This may also include restitution to the victim of the crime, community service, curfew, drug testing, driver’s license suspension, and other punishments deemed appropriate such as substance abuse treatment.
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