Youth Crimes

Have you or your child been charged as a youth offender?

Specialised legal representation matters. At Muenz Criminal Law Firm, you will find a team of dedicated and experienced youth criminal defence lawyers ready to help.

Why Retain a Lawyer Privately?

The youth criminal justice act (YCJA)

Youth crimes are criminal acts perpetrated by people between the age of 12 to 17. In Alberta, the prosecution of minors for criminal offences is governed by the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA). By having a separate youth justice system, the law focuses on ensuring not only accountability and justice, but also timely intervention, rehabilitation, and integration. The YCJA recognizes the differences that exist between youths and adults and puts into place a justice system that treats all individuals fairly.

If your son or daughter faces a more serious criminal charge, it may be even more appropriate to hire a defence lawyer privately. If the charge(s) attract much more serious penalties, such as jail time, it is important to hire a lawyer with the expertise to deal with those charges.

Youth Criminal Defence Lawyer in Calgary

Despite following a different law, youth crimes are a serious matter and create a high amount of tension for individuals and families. If your son or daughter has been accused of a crime, ensure your child has the best defence team working for them.  Muenz Law Office will work with you to create the defence strategy best suited to your needs. Our lawyers have experience defending youths charged with murder, sexual assault, aggravated assault, assault causing bodily harm, as well as property offences such as serious fraud and theft charges in Calgary and the surrounding area.

Bilingual services available:

My firm's staff can translate and explain the legal process to you in Spanish and Italian.

Frequently Asked Questions

Because of differences in the maturity and developmental levels between young people and adults, youth crimes are treated differently. Under the YCJA, the law tends to be much more lenient with young people than with adults charged with the same criminal offences. Youths are dealt with separately from adults due to the commonly held belief that they are not yet fully morally developed. While young people may lack in decision-making, the YCJA still aims to hold them accountable for their offences, in a fair and proportionate manner.

Some of the most common offences for young people in Alberta include theft under $5,000, common assault, breaking and entering, uttering threats, and mischief. Punishment for these crimes can range from curfews, fines, and community service to transfers to detention centres and correctional facilities.

For more violent crimes, and depending on the level of severity of the offence, the youth can be tried as an adult. This is more likely for crimes like murder or attempted murder, manslaughter, and sexual assault.

All youths charged with a criminal offence have access to a legal aid-appointed lawyer in the province of Alberta.
However, a key distinction between a privately retained lawyer and a lawyer appointed by legal aid is that the legal aid lawyers are restricted in the type and amount of work they can do. As privately retained lawyers, we can go above and beyond the legal aspects of a case. We are also able to spend more time on a file and more time consulting with our clients.

If your son or daughter faces a more serious criminal charge, it may be even more appropriate to hire a defence lawyer privately. If the charge(s) attract much more serious penalties, such as jail time, it is important to hire a lawyer with the expertise to deal with those charges.

To simplify, young people charged with criminal offences have to appear in court and have their case heard by a judge. Once the charges are communicated, the youth offender may plead “ guilty” or “not guilty”. If they plead “not guilty”, the case will proceed to a trial at a later date, where the offender and witnesses will be questioned by the prosecution and defence lawyers about the crime. A “guilty” plea will proceed to assign punishment with no trial.

Yes, but all aspects of the crime will be taken into consideration before a youth is sentenced to jail. Violent offenders, previous criminal history, and severity of the crime are all accounted for when deciding the most appropriate punishment. Under the YCJA, youth sentenced to jail will not go to prison, but to correctional facilities and detention centres.