You’re under 18. The police stopped you and said you committed a crime. This doesn’t always mean you will have to go through a traditional court process. You might get an “extrajudicial measure” instead.
This article explains what an extrajudicial measure is and what it means for your future.
Extrajudicial Measures: The Police Decide
Extrajudicial means outside the court. An extrajudicial measure is a way of holding you accountable for your actions without going through a traditional court process.
When the police stop you, they decide whether an extrajudicial measure is the best way to deal with your case. If they decide on an extrajudicial measure, you will not have to go to court.
These are the extrajudicial measures police can take, depending on what you’ve done:
- They can do nothing further. Doing nothing is still an extrajudicial measure.
- They can give you a warning.
- They can refer you to an Organisme de justice alternative or OJA (alternative justice organization).
|Your Rights with the Police
If you are stopped by the police, they must tell you about these rights:
To learn more, see our article Your Rights When Arrested or Detained.
You have other rights too. It’s important to know your rights and how people must respect them during the steps that happen next.
You Will Have a Record
Whether the police decide to deal with your case through an extrajudicial measure or make you go to court, you will have a record. Even if the police decide to do nothing.
The police must record what happened in a database kept by the Centre des renseignements policiers du Québec (CRPQ). This means that, for the next two years, police officers throughout Quebec will be able to see that the police caught you for doing something wrong and how they decided to deal with your case. If you commit another crime, the police will know that an extrajudicial measure was taken against you in the past.
See our article Impact of Having a Youth Record to learn more about what it means to have a record.
Referral to an Organisme de justice alternative (OJA)
An Organisme de justice alternative or OJA (alternative justice organization) is an organization that serves the community. One of the OJA’s roles is to work with teens who are in trouble with the law and people who have been victims of crimes.
If the police refer you to an OJA, a professional who works at the OJA will contact you within a few weeks. The professional will recommend that you take part in an activity or program that is meant to help you.
You will usually have to go to information and awareness sessions. They last about two hours. Your parents will be asked to go with you.
At the end of the activity, your case will be over. You will not have to go to court.
What if the police do not take extrajudicial measures in your case?
The police might decide that extrajudicial measures are not the best way to deal with your case.This could happen if your crime is very serious or if you say you didn’t commit the crime.
If this is your situation, the police will send your case to the criminal and penal prosecuting attorney. This is a government lawyer, often called the prosecutor, who brings cases to court against people accused of crimes. The prosecutor will decide what will happen next.
Have you committed a crime? Learn what can happen.
Alternatives to Court
Going to Court
This article explains in a general way the law that applies in Quebec. This article is not a legal opinion or legal advice. To find out the specific rules for your situation, consult a lawyer or notary.