1. Know if the YCJA applies to you

The YCJA applies to youth from age 12 to 17.

YCJA for people 18 or older

If you’re being charged for something you did before you turned 18, then the YCJA still applies to you. For example, if you’re 22 years old and being charged with hurting someone when you were 16, the YCJA applies to you because the incident happened before you turned 18.

If you’re 18 or older and you’re being charged under the YCJA, there are certain parts of the YCJA that may apply differently to you. For example, if you’re sentenced to jail you may be placed into jail with other adults.

YCJA for people 11 or younger

If you’re 11 or younger, the YCJA does not apply to you. You can still get into legal trouble for things you do. And there are government agencies that might get involved in your life if your behaviour is causing trouble, such as a Children’s Aid Society or a mental health organization. But you cannot be charged with a crime for anything you do before you turn 12.

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