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Toronto Threats Charges Lawyer

Uttering Threats Charges for YCJA Youth (under 18) accused in Canada pursuant to Section 264.1 of the Criminal Code

Youths that are charged for uttering threats face serious potential consequences including probation, jail, an adult criminal record and problems travelling to the United States.

It is a criminal offence in Canada to utter a threat against another individual or their property. Similar to adults, youth (under age 18) are often charged with Uttering Threats under Section 264.1 of the Criminal Code of Canada. Youth cases are governed by the YCJA (Youth Criminal Justice Act) which stipulates certain procedural requirements such as that the Police serve a Notice to Parent under subsection 26(1), (2), and (4).

The YCJA requires that the police notify the youth’s parent or guardian that they are facing a criminal charges. The Notice to Parent is supposed to be personally served on the parent.

The threats uttered do not need to be an actual death threat. Any threat of bodily harm (assault) or damage to property (mischief) is sufficient for the Police to charge.

Similar to adults charged for the first time for uttering threats, most youth (and their parents) are unaware that it is a crime to make certain statements to other people. They may recognize that a death threat is a criminal act, but not that practically any threat of violence including to cause damage to property is enough to be charged. Threats can be spoken, written or passed indirectly through a third party such as a friend. All it takes is for someone to claim that your child said a threatening remark to someone, or passed along a threatening message, and your child can be charged if it is reported to the police by a parent, a teacher, a schoolmate, or anyone else.

Social media, text messages, etc.

In youth cases the threatening remarks are often made via text message or through social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, or Snapchat and the post is screenshotted/recorded and provided to the Police. The use of social media and cell phone text messages as evidence is very commonplace in the Ontario Court of Justice.

Many times the accused admits to the Police, a teacher, CAS worker, or someone else that it was them who wrote the message prior to being arrested. Such confessions are often admissible and limit the defendant’s ability to later claim that someone else had access to the device or that the recording of the message itself was fake.

Youth cases also often involve a dispute at school in which one child is being bullied, or their friend is the victim of bullying and a threat is made. While the youths themselves rarely report these incidents to the Police, they will often tell their parents, a teacher, CAS, or some other authority figure who will then file a Police report.

Parents often ask: if nobody was actually physically hurt why is my child being charged?

The Police take uttering threats charges extremely seriously because the last thing they want is to have an act of violence occur after a report of a threat is filed (especially involving children). They do not want to risk being perceived as having done nothing despite having prior knowledge of the risk of violence. As such they operate under extremely strict policies that require them to charge in all instances that could possibly support a conviction at trial.

These situations are not handled at the school level, they are handled through the criminal justice system. While public safety is the number one reason the police take uttering threats allegations so seriously, it is also reasoned that receiving a threat is victimizing in itself because it can cause the victim to experience fear and mental anguish.

Release after arrest: Criminal Undertaking (Form 11.1), Promise to Appear (Form 10), Recognizance of Bail

Once the youth is arrested pursuant to the YCJA and the Notice to Parent is provided, they will be released on either a Form 11.1 Criminal Undertaking and a Form 10 Promise to Appear or held for a show cause hearing and later released on a Recognizance of Bail requiring them to have no contact, either direct or indirect with the alleged victim.

All youths charged with uttering threats offences will be fingerprinted and have their mugshot taken by the Police which is distributed to all law enforcement agencies in Canada and the US including US Customs and Border Protection. Sometimes the fingerprinting process will take place prior to the accused’s release (particularly if they are held for a bail hearing), or they will be given a fingerprinting date to attend before their first court appearance date. Most youth released directly from the police station on an undertaking and a promise to appear will be given a future date for their fingerprints/mugshot to be taken.

The Criminal Undertaking or Bail may include clauses limiting the places they can go which can cause problems with schooling

The youth may also be prohibited from attending places the alleged victim is known to be at, such as a particular school, sporting facility, neighbourhood, etc. This can be problematic because the accused youth may be required to change schools or abandon current extracurricular activities in order to abide by their release conditions.

This is can very difficult socially for the child (teenager) because it forces them apart from their friends/social group and puts them into a new, foreign environment. It may also force them to give up certain extracurricular activities such as sports, music, etc. It can also put stresses on family resources because switching schools can lead to logistical problems in getting the child both to and from school depending on the neighbourhood they are from.

Being on release conditions (Undertaking or Bail) leaves the accused highly vulnerability to subsequent arrests and charges while their case is before the courts.

For youths that do not have to switch schools they find themselves extremely vulnerable to being accused of breaching or failing to comply with their Criminal Undertaking or Bail release because all it takes is the “victim” to say contact was made, even if through a third party (indirectly), and the Police will arrest them again and charge them with Failing to Comply with their release conditions.

Sometimes it is not even the victim themselves but their friend, parent, or some other person in their lives who claims a breach occurred. Their motives can range from trying to “do the right thing” to intentionally and maliciously attempting to harm the accused youth (and their family) even more. Given the dramatic social environment that occurs between youths, their parents, and their teachers, it is not that unusual to find obsessed parents filled with anger and an axe to grind.

The young person can also be criminally charged for breaching their undertaking or bail by engaging in simple bad behaviour.

Since every person charged with uttering threats will be released on either bail or a criminal undertaking while their case is pending before the courts, they will all be subject to a general release condition to “keep the peace and be of good behaviour”.

In YCJA cases, this means that the youth could also be charged criminally for other common “bad” behaviour that would not otherwise normally attract criminal charges such as underage drinking, possession of small amounts of marijuana (as of 2017 this still does attract charges for adults but rarely in youth cases), causing a disturbance, and other youthful indiscretions. This means that instead of having the Police take the youth back to their parents to be punished at home and perhaps given a small provincial fine, they will be held in custody for Bail and charged criminally for Failing to Comply.

Potential punishments and life consequences for Youth (YCJA) offenders

Young offenders are subject to the same forms of punishment as adults such as jail, probation, and a criminal record. While there are certain protections in place for youth, they can be subject to adult criminal records which can become permanent. Furthermore they are being fingerprinted and having their mugshot taken by the Police which is accessible to all Police forces in Canada, the RCMP, the FBI, and US Customs and Border Protection. Youth charges can lead to permanent problems for the child travelling to the United States throughout their lives.

Everything does not get erased when a youth turns 18

It is simply not true that everything gets erased when a youth turns 18 years old. This common misconception encourages youth crime as it leads many young persons to feel a certain false sense of invincibility. It also causes them to confess to crimes they did not commit and sometimes to lie to the police to protect their “friends” who are 18 or older.

Even if an accused is under 18 at the time they are charged it can still negatively impact their freedom, employment, and ability to travel long after their 18th birthday.


Call us today.

You don't have to jeopardize your future or waste thousands of dollars on excessive legal fees. We provide effective and affordable lawyer representation for those charged with uttering threats in the Toronto area.

Have a skilled criminal lawyer who focuses on threats charges protect you and your future from the stigma and consequences of a criminal record.


    call us: 647-228-5969

    contact@torontothreatslawyer.ca


  call us: 647-228-5969

  contact@torontothreatslawyer.ca

Your case will be defended by a fully licensed Practicing Lawyer of the Law Society of Ontario. For more information about our lawyer, click here.

We provide our clients with:
  • Flat fee pricing
  • US travel advice and information
  • Employment background check advice/services
  • Fingerprints and records destruction services
  • Clear goals of getting charges dropped and bail conditions varied without a trial
  • Help with related immigration issues
  • Vulnerable Sector records suppression help
  • Experienced, focused counsel


* Please note:

If you are not a paying client, we cannot answer questions and provide assistance with US travel, immigration, employment background checks, and avoiding a criminal record. This includes those who have already retained other counsel and those whose cases have already been completed.

We only can take calls/emails relating to GTA area cases. Please see our FAQ for a listing of the courthouses we service.

Are you a lawyer? If you are defending an utter threats related case and are looking for expert advice regarding possible defences, case strategies, and information release management call us at: 647-228-5969.

Please note: We do not accept legal aid certificate cases. All clients are handled on a private retainer only.


         

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  We provide:
  • Flat fee pricing
  • 99%+ non-conviction success rate
  • US travel advice and information
  • Help with related immigration issues
  • Employment background check advice/services
  • Fingerprints and records destruction services
  • A clear goal of getting the charges dropped without a trial
  • Vulnerable Sector records suppression help
  • Timely resolutions
  • Lawyer/client privilege
  • Experienced, focused counsel
  We provide:
  • Flat fee pricing
  • 99%+ non-conviction success rate
  • US travel advice and information
  • Help with related immigration issues
  • Employment background check advice/services
  • Fingerprints and records destruction services
  • A clear goal of getting the charges dropped without a trial
  • Vulnerable Sector records suppression help
  • Timely resolutions
  • Lawyer/client privilege
  • Experienced, focused counsel