Youth justice - Getting a lawyer
Finding a lawyer. If your child is taken into custody or arrested, it is important to hire a lawyer immediately. Everyone is entitled to legal counsel, whether innocent or guilty and the decisions that will need to be made require the help of a professional who understands the process and the law.
If the first court appearance arrives and a lawyer’s services have not been secured, duty counsel will help get through that first appearance. Duty counsel are lawyers who give free legal help to people who are appearing in court and do not have their own lawyer. Duty counsel should not take the place of your own lawyer who will learn your child’s specific case and go through the whole process with your child and you.
You may already have a lawyer that has helped with the legal processes (i.e., house purchase/sale or writing of wills), but in the case of a criminal charge, a criminal lawyer is needed.
If you can’t afford to pay for a lawyer’s services, your child can apply for legal aid. In Yukon, Legal Aid can be reached at 867-667-5210. The after hours Legal Aid line is 867-633-7200.
Working effectively with a lawyer
Remember that your child’s lawyer works for your child. Even though you may be paying the bills, the lawyer’s client is your child and as such, confidentiality rules apply. Unless your child gives the lawyer permission to share with you what has been discussed, the lawyer is not able to tell you what they have talked about. You should always feel free to ask your child’s lawyer any question, they just might not always be able to provide an answer.
Understanding a lawyer’s role is important. A lawyer will:
- Help to prepare the defense (i.e., pleading innocent/guilty)
- Present your child’s case to the judge in court
- Ensure that the legal process has been followed and a fair trial is obtained
- Help your child get the best possible result
Some things to remember:
- Before your child tells the police anything, a lawyer should be consulted
- Lawyers will help to get the best result, even if your child is found guilty
- Lawyers understand the law and the legal system and will help your child and you to understand it as it relates to your child’s case
- Honesty is the best policy in dealing with your child’s lawyer – both for you and your child. There is nothing to be gained by not being completely honest and it may help your lawyer to better understand personal circumstances
Toll Free (Yukon, Nunavut and NWT); 1-800-661-0408 ext. 3610
Youth justice (H-9A)
Health & Social Services, Government of Yukon
Whitehorse, Yukon Y1A 2C6
Location: 305 Lambert Street | Whitehorse, Yukon [map]