Youth’s right to a lawyer when arrested

While everyone has the right to speak to lawyer when arrested as guaranteed by section 10(b) of the Charter, youths under the YCJA have further rights.

Youths, as defined by law, are anyone between the ages of 12 to 18. Anyone under the age of 12 is not governed by either the Criminal Code or the YCJA.

Youths, when arrested, have a number of rights. They have the right to:

  • remain silent, and be told of this right
  • be informed of the charges, and be told of this right
  • the right to speak to a lawyer, or a parent or trusted adult, and be told of this right
  • right to have the parent or lawyer present with him during police questioning, and be told of this right.

These rights must be explained to the youth, and explained in a manner that the youth can understand.

The right to have the person contacted present during any questioning by police is unique to youths, it does not exist for adults. This is to ensure that vulnerable children have their rights protected and fully understand what is happening.

The Youth Criminal Justice Act is available online.


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