An Overview of Important Factors Young Offenders
and Their Families Need to be Aware of While Facing Criminal Charges
Young offenders facing criminal charges can be a traumatic experience for their parents and families. In such situation it will be necessary to appoint a competent lawyer to represent such young offenders in the court so that most suitable and lenient sentencing option is selected for the offender. In this context we will go through some important details such as access period and pre-trial detention which you need to be aware of before your case comes up in court.
How long is the access period?
Access period refers to length of time for which a youth's record remains open. During this time period only select few people and authorities (such as court, police and few others as mentioned in YCJA) have access to such record. Let us go through details of access period of a youth's record depending upon nature of sentence young offenders receive.
- In case young offender is found guilty with sentence in the form of absolute discharge then access period is of 1 year after verdict is given in the case.
- If conditional discharge is the sentence after young offender is found to be guilty, the length of access period is 3 years.
- In case sentence given is something other than conditional or absolute discharge and it is a summary conviction offense then authorities can access your records for 3 years after young offender completes his or her sentence.
- If young offenders receive a sentence apart from conditional or absolute discharge and the offense falls in the category of indictable offense then in such situation the access period stretches to 5 years after young offenders complete their sentence.
- After receiving a youth record if young offender gets involved in other crimes then access period for previous crimes will remain open for a longer duration.
Additionally, if other crimes are committed within access period and young offender is over the age of 18 years then youth record of such offender becomes part of his or her adult record. Moreover, it will become a permanent record which would be accessible publicly.
Pre Trial Detention
It will be important for young offenders and their parents to consult a lawyer to know about criterion which court will check before allowing pre-trial detention. Let us go through the details here:
Seriousness of the Offense: Pre-trial detention will be allowed if young offender has committed a serious offense such as one which would result in jail term of 5 or more years for an adult or already has findings of guilt or other outstanding charges. Other Grounds for Detention: Detention will be allowed under following grounds:
- It is likely that youth will not be appearing in court once released.
- To protect public in general it will be necessary to detain the young offender due to likelihood of young offender committing other serious offenses upon his or her release.
- It is a serious offense and there are other exceptional circumstances justifying detention.
As we can see criminal offense can have serious consequences for young offenders but by hiring an experienced lawyer you can ensure that young offender has to face less severe sentence.