Crimes and Tickets

Your Child's Right to a Lawyer


Teens suspected of committing a crime have the right to speak to a lawyer as soon as they are detained or arrested. The lawyer’s job is to defend the teen. The lawyer can also help the teen during the process that follows. This article explains these topics:

  • a teen’s right to a lawyer
  • how a teen can contact a lawyer
  • legal aid
  • why the lawyer acts for the teen, not the parents

When Arrested or Detained

Teens have the right to speak to a lawyer when the police arrest or detain them.

The defence lawyer’s role is to act in the teen’s interests. The lawyer also helps the teen during the process that follows the arrest or detention.

Important! Your child is brought to a police station and does not know any lawyers. The police must give your child the phone number of a lawyer on call at all hours. Your child can talk to this lawyer for free.

The teen’s lawyer can be present during police questioning.

The teen can also consult a lawyer in these situations:

Important! Everyone, including teens, has the right to remain silent when arrested by the police.

  • If the police are questioning your child, encourage her to talk to a lawyer before answering. This is your child’s right.
  • You can also speak to a lawyer before answering police questions.

Getting a Lawyer

Most teens suspected of committing a crime qualify for legal aid. It depends on their own income and savings, not those of their parents. Contact your local legal aid office to learn more.

Teens can hire their own lawyer instead of getting a legal aid lawyer. In this situation, the parents can help pay the lawyer’s fees.

Sometimes teens show up in court without a lawyer. This might happen if no lawyer wants to represent the teen. In this situation, the court can assign a lawyer to represent the teen.

Lawyer’s Role

The lawyer acts for the teen, not the parents, even if the parents are paying for the lawyer.

The parents cannot sit in on meetings with the lawyer if the teen does not want them to.

The lawyer cannot give any information to the parents without the teen’s consent. The lawyer must obey rules of confidentiality.

Important! The court can order your child to be represented by a lawyer who has no connection to you. This can happen if the judge thinks that your child’s interests conflict with yours.