In a recently published report from Statistics Canada on Youth Crime in Canada, using data from 2014, youth aged 12 to 17 were more than twice as likely to be charged with a crime in 2014 as people aged 25 and older. In 2014, there were 101,000 youth aged 12 to 17 charged with a criminal offence. While youths ages 12 to 17 make up 7% of the Canadian population, they accounted for 13% of individuals charged in 2014. This, however, is a decrease in the youth crime rate, which has been declining since its peak in 1991, and since 2000 has fallen 42%. Despite its continual decrease, youths are charged at a disproportionate rate. The criminal justice system is daunting to most people, and that is only exasperated by a youth’s age.
There are some differences to the Criminal Justice System for youths, the main one being that there matters are dealt with under the Youth Justice Act. This Act provides for different rules for youths, including access to funding for lawyers if needed, less likely to be held in custody pending trial, and less strenuous sentences upon conviction.
Being charged with a crime as a youth can only have immediate consequences, but can often have a long term impact on obtaining education and employment. No matter how trivial the charge may appear, it is always best to consult with a lawyer for any charge and get legal advice.