I HAVE BEEN CRIMINALLY CHARGED AS A YOUTH - NOW WHAT?
If you have been given notice that you must appear in Youth Justice Court, you may have been given an Appearance Notice, a Promise to Appear, or a Recognizance. These documents specify a date, time, and place that you must attend in court. It may also inform you that you have to go to a police station to be fingerprinted and photographed.
WHAT IS YOUTH JUSTICE COURT LIKE?
Youth Justice Court is a specialized court set up to handle only cases involving young persons. They take place in specially assigned courtrooms in the court house and are geared specifically to youth. While these courtrooms are open to the public, youth have especially protected privacy rights and there are only very limited circumstances when your name and other information that might identify you can be published and released.
A youth justice court judge will preside over the proceedings and is in charge of courtroom processes. There will also be a sheriff present at the front door. A court clerk at the front of the court handles the paperwork, in addition to reading the offences and preparing for any oaths. The job of the court clerk is generally to assist the judge.
In the courtroom you are called “the accused” and may have your parents with you or a suitable other to accompany you. Your lawyer is called “defence counsel”. Your lawyer or a representative from your lawyer’s office will try to be in court with you to provide assistance and guidance. The Crown prosecutor in Youth Justice Court is a lawyer employed by the government. In conjunction with the police, the Crown prosecutor is supposed to represent the interests of the public.
DO MY PARENTS NEED TO KNOW ABOUT MY CHARGES?
According to the Youth Criminal Justice Act (“YCJA”), which governs youth matters, your parents must be notified in writing of all legal proceedings as soon as possible. If you do not live with your parents or are estranged, then another adult relative or suitable adult may help.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN AT MY FIRST COURT APPEARANCE?
The Court Clerk will usually read your charges aloud and ask if you have a lawyer representing you. If you do not have a lawyer, the judge will ensure you that you have the right to a lawyer. If you have decided to ask a lawyer at Bernstein Law Group to represent you, then at this first appearance Robert Bernstein, Stephen Bernstein, or a representative from Bernstein Law Group will likely help your matter be adjourned a set number of days in order to provide time to arrange a resolution meeting with the Crown prosecutor in hopes to have your charges completely withdrawn or to arrange an agreement for the least harsh sentence possible. Whether you decide to plead guilty or not guilty, your lawyer has a duty to provide sound legal advice and help you understand options and consequences.
CONTACT A LAWYER AT YOUR EARLIEST OPPORTUNITY
Criminal charges of any kind are serious, and can have serious, life altering effects. For people who get in trouble with the law, it is important to retain competent, well-versed legal counsel that specializes in Criminal Law in order to avoid dire consequences. Bernstein Law Group is experienced to deal with your criminal charges. We believe your rights matter and are committed to your best interests at every corner and every step.
If you or a loved one has been criminal charged as a youth or as an adult, contact Bernstein Law Group for experienced and skilled legal representation.
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