A teenager who is arrested by the police or charged with a crime can benefit from the services of a lawyer free of charge. The lawyer’s job is to defend the teen.
The right to consult a lawyer
A teen who has been arrested or detained has the right to speak to a lawyer. The lawyer provides the teen with initial legal advice.
The police must inform your child of this right and allow them to contact the lawyer of their choice. If the teen does not know any lawyer, the police must provide the phone number for legal aid, which offers the service of a lawyer “on call” 24 hours a day. This service is free of charge.
If the police wish to question your child, he or she has the right to consult you (the parents) or another adult in which the child has confidence.
The teen’s lawyer can also be present during police questioning.
Everyone, including teens, has the right to remain silent when arrested by the police.
Being represented by a lawyer
Teens suspected of committing a crime qualify for legal aid. They can be represented by a lawyer at all stages of legal proceedings. This includes representation regarding court proceedings , extrajudicial measures, and extrajudicial sanctions.
Legal aid is always free for teens facing criminal charges. If you live in Montreal or Laval, call 864-2111. In other regions of Quebec, contact the legal aid office for your area.
If, for any reason, your child is not represented, a judge can order that they be assigned a lawyer.
The lawyer acts for the teen, not the parents, even if the parents have hired a lawyer and are paying for their services. This means:
- 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.
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.