Community Legal Information Association of Prince Edward Island (CLIA PEI) - Legal Information for Youth


Crime and Justice

What happens if I commit a crime?

Crime and Justice

When a young person (aged 12 - 17) breaks the law, the Youth Criminal Justice Act encourages the use of out-of-court measures. The justice system uses out-of court measures as long as they are adequate to hold the young person accountable or responsible for his or her actions.

Some examples of out-of-court measures are:

  • Verbal or written warnings to the young person and his or her parents or guardians;
  • Referrals to programs in the community that might help the young person;
  • An agreement signed by the young person that outlines what the young person will do to repair the harm done by his or her actions;
  • A meeting and discussion between the young person, the victim and other people who were affected by the crime to talk about what happened and how to repair the harm done.

What the consequences will be depends on the crime and the young person's role in that crime. If a young person continues to commit more crimes, the consequences will become more serious.

If the young person refuses to take responsibility for the crime, some out-of-court measures cannot take place. In this case, the young person may go to youth court.

The goal of the Youth Criminal Justice Act is to hold young people accountable when they commit a crime; to repair the harm done by the crime; and to help young people get back into their communities in a way that is safe and healthy for the young person and the public.