Youth Sentences

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Teens found guilty of crimes usually get special punishments that are lighter than adults would get for the same crimes. Judges take into account the teen’s situation when deciding on a punishment.

This article explains the most common punishments (sentences) for teens.


Getting an Adult Punishment
In some cases, teens 14 or older get punishments that are as strict as adults would get for the same crime. But these cases are rare.


1. Reprimand

A reprimand is a very strong warning given by a judge.


2. Absolute or Conditional Discharge

Teens can be given an absolute discharge. The result is the same as if the teen had been found not guilty.

They might also get a conditional discharge. This means the judge has ordered the teen to obey some conditions. For example, a teen could be ordered to write a letter of apology to the victim or do volunteer work.

Teens must comply with the punishment.

It’s a crime to disobey the punishment a judge ordered.


3. Fine up to $1,000

A fine is an amount of money that a teen has to pay to the community, not to the victim. The money is usually given to a community organization. The fine cannot be more than $1,000.


4. Repair the Harm Suffered by the Victim

A judge can order teens to repair the harm they caused the victim. Here are some examples:

  • Pay an amount of money to the victim.  
  • Return stolen property.  
  • Compensate the victim by working for her (up to 240 hours over a 12-month period).  


5. Do Volunteer Work

A judge can order teens to do volunteer work in the community to make up for what they’ve done (up to 240 hours over a 12-month period).


6. Probation: Conditions to Obey

Being on probation is one of the most common sentences. It means that the teen is not in custody and continues to live in the community. But the teen must obey the conditions ordered by the judge.

These two conditions apply automatically:

  • The teen must be on good behaviour and obey the law.
  • The teen must go to court when ordered to.

A judge can set other conditions. For example, the teen might have to stay away from some people, be home before dark, go to school, or find and keep a job.


7. Hardest Sentence: Custody and Supervision

Teens under 18 are never sent to an adult prison. Instead, they are sent to rehabilitation centres run by some youth centres. The teen can usually live in the community for part of the sentence under conditions set by a judge.

To learn more, read our article Can Teens Be Sent to Prison?  


Will a teen have a record?

The teen will have a record no matter what punishment is given. The information in a teen’s record can be seen only for a limited length of time. The length of time depends on the particular case.

To learn more, read our article Impact of Having a Youth Record.



Have you committed a crime? Learn what can happen.

Caught by the Police? What Happens Next?
Suspected of a Crime? You Have Rights

Alternatives to Court

Extrajudicial Measures: The Police Decide
Extrajudicial Sanctions: Instead of a Trial

Going to Court

Appearing in Youth Court
Steps in the Youth Court Process
Youth Sentences
Can Teens Be Sent to Prison?
Can Teens Get Adult Punishments?

Criminal Records

What is a Youth Record?
Impact of Having a Youth Record

Important !
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.