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Ontario Young Offenders: Pleas of Gulty & Sentencing in Ontario

If you were under 18 years old on the date of the alleged offence, before you plead guilty there are a few things you must realize.

1. You need to realize that you have a right to a trial to force the Crown to prove its case. By pleading guilty you are giving up that right.

2. You need to understand that by entering a plea of guilty you are admitting that the facts alleged against you are correct.

3. The choice to plead guilty is yours and yours alone. No one can force you to plead guilty.

4. The Judge will listen to what we have to say about sentencing and what the Crown says. Judges will often follow joint submissions, but the final decision as to sentence is solely up to the Judge.

Ontario Young Offenders: Sentencing

Under the Youth Criminal Justice Act (“the YCJA”), courts have many options in dealing with a youth charged with an offence. Unlike with adult convictions, custodial (jail) sentences are to be used only for the most serious of crimes or for repeat offenders. Youth Courts have available the use of extrajudicial measures which operate to prevent a future criminal record. Additionally, youths (like adults), may have the benefit of diversion programs and, in some cases, a police officer may choose whether to exercise discretion in laying a charge by issuing a warning, caution, or referral to a community agency that may assist the youth in preventing further criminal behaviour. As you can see, youth matters are treated with a greater focus on rehabilitation rather than deterrence, and more on reparation than on retribution. Importantly, while youth and adult justice systems differ, the effects of a criminal record, for however long, will still haunt that youth until such a time that the record is closed and RCMP and other police records are either destroyed or rendered inactive.

Minimum Sentences

There are no minimum sentences in youth matters so even if the Criminal Code creates a minimum penalty, such as impaired driving,  it does not apply to youths if the youth has a lawyer bring the proper application to the Court.

Youth Records & Close Your Record

Youth Records

Age (i.e., 18th birthday) is NOT determinative of when a youth record is closed. Several factors affect when a youth record is closed (effectively “erased”): The seriousness of the offence; the final outcome of the matter; and, subsequent convictions while the youth record is open. It is not uncommon for a youth record to last into a person’s twenties and, in some cases, the youth record may become permanent. For example, someone who is charged after turning eighteen and is subsequently convicted of an offence, while his or her youth record is still open, will have his or her youth record become permanent.


Though it is true that police services will not disclose youth records to private employers, this does not mean a youth record can never be discovered by an employer (actual or prospective). Many employers may require the youth to personally provide evidence that they have no record. As well, once discovered, an open youth record can be a valid reason for refusing to hire someone, or for firing the youth.

Ensuring Your Youth Record Is Closed

Once a youth record is closed, it is equivalent to not having a record. As mentioned above, a youth record consists of court and police records. Once your youth record is up for closing, ensure that the RCMP record is destroyed. Local police can check RCMP records to see if any records pop up. Local police are not required to “destroy” the files, but they must remove them from their active files and, in any cases, only reveal the files under court order.

Fight Your Ontario young offender charges! Call our lawyers at 1-800-668-1657 or visit one of our offices to get a free 30-min consultation.

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Some of Our Google Reviews

I had my first trouble with law couple of months and we found Edmund Chang. He helped me through all the process professionally moreover, he really cares about my best interest, he will check if I comfortable with all decisions we were going to make and if not, he will not push it. Other things that really stand out, he is approachable as well as responsive to follow up. In the end, we settled the case and I can move more
Krystal Stacy
17:19 15 Jun 18
I was charged with over 0.80 and Impaired Driving charges. I didn't think I had any chance, but Justin Marchant managed to get me out with a careless driving charge. Thanks to him, I don't have a criminal record!!! Very friendly, sharp, professional, and dedicated individual. He did a great job prepping me for the trial, and prepping for the case. I highly recommend this firm, as if it wasn't for them, I'm not sure what would have happened to my life. I made a nasty mistake, one which I will never ever make again. Some lessons have a big price to be more
Sean Jamali
15:20 07 Jun 18
Recently I was charged with over .80, Justin Marchand help me WIN this charge, from the moment I contacted him, he was very professional and upfront, He always responded to my calls and answered all my questions, He prepared me really well before trial. I would 100% recommend him and his team, Job Well done… “Sometimes good people make mistakes”read more
17:16 07 Jun 18
Mr. Marchand is an amazing lawyer. He is very personable and professional. My case was a very long and drawn out case, but Mr. Marchand always kept up with everything and I was always well informed. I really appreciated that he would take the time to fully explain his thought process/strategy and was never condescending. Even though this was a stressful time, Mr. Marchand made it a great experience and took care of more
Rochelle Jenifer
17:30 15 Jun 18
Once again amazing ! I am writing this review as I always refer my friends to this firm. THEY ARE THE BEST ! My friend was pulled over at the us border on a random check and in turn got charged with a refusal. My friend did not know that refusing to take a breathalyzer was a criminal offence. In fact as soon as he realized it he asked the officers to take it but they refused him. In turn he was charged with a refusal. Aitken Robertson specializes in DUI and cases such as this.. so it was an immediate call to them that i put in for him. Right then and there they took over. As usual, they offered a payment plan and of course they took care of everything all the pre-trial meetings etc. Justin was the laywer for him and not only is he the MOST thorough he is the most out for justice. He found the errors that the officers made and he used it to my friends advantage. He went above and beyond to find the best resolution with the crown. He went above and beyond to give my friend all his options. And the best part is that NO CRIMINAL CHARGES. It was reduced basically down to a speeding ticket as a result of Justins hard work. The whole firm is stellar. They take time to go through your disclosure to confirm any and all details are correct.The justice system is a corrupted one and im thankful these lawyers know how to find a way to help us through that. Justin once again did an amazing job. Susan at the firm is great she helps out with payment plans etc. Brenda is great. Robert of course its just a great team of laywers. Do not go anywhere else ! I will recommend them time and time more
19:28 26 Jun 18
When my daughter's boyfriend had a problem I looked up Jordan Tekenos-Levy. Jordan did an amazing job defending this young man. He showed compassion and care in a very sensitive issue. Jordan is a great lawyer, he fights hard for his clients and ensures their loved ones are kept in the loop during the entire process. He is honest and doesn't sugar coat the situation. I would highly recommend his services. We owe him a huge debt of gratitude and I wish him all the best in the more
Laurene Smith
02:58 16 Nov 18
I was falsely accused of a crime and I sought out representation. I did not know exactly where to go, I was in a panic as I've never seriously run afoul with law enforcement. Mr. Nathan Baker and his staff were assigned to my case, and I am thankful that they were. Knowing I was innocent I still was worried about how everything was going to play out as I wondered 'how could this even be happening'. Mr Baker and his staff helped walk me through the court process that was completely unfamiliar to me, besides what Id seen on television. It was a two year process, and every step of the way all my questions and inquisitions were answered and put at ease. I give this Firm my full endorsement, they believed in me, supported my case and followed through on every detail pertaining to it, and defended me to a correct Not Guilty verdict. For that I will be forever grateful. I've never had the need for an attorney to represent me before the false accusation, and I hope I never need it again. But if I do, I'd want this firm to represent more
Zak Piva
03:06 28 Oct 18
I would like to thank the lawyers at Aitken Robertson especially Philip Stiles and Lavina Inbar for helping me thru this most difficult time.Everyone i was in contact with were very polite and professional.Being a very high stress time of my life i could not have been happier to hear a "Not Guilty " verdict.I will always recommend Aitken Robertson to anyone i hear of needing a good lawyer.Thank you all very muchMauriceread more
Maurice Flight
20:22 31 Oct 18
Justin provided thorough and caring representation for my friend who had a court proceedings. I would recommend Justin and the Aitken Robertson team to anyone in a similar situation. Thanks!
Rexy H
19:26 08 Sep 18
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