Responsibility for Crimes: Age 12 and Up

Design Pics / Thinkstock

Even though you’re under 18, you are still responsible for your actions.

In Canada, young people can be held responsible for a crime as of age 12. So the police can arrest you if they think that you committed a crime (for example, theft, assault, drug possession and trafficking).

But the law treats teens under 18 differently than adults.

In some cases, you might get an extrajudicial measure  or an extrajudicial sanction . If so, you might not have to go through the usual court process. In other cases, you might be officially accused of a crime and have to go to court .

Responsible before age 12?

A young person can do something wrong, but it is not always a crime. An example is breaking a window while playing baseball. The young person can be held responsible for these acts from age seven onwards. But in these situations, we are talking about civil responsibility, not criminal responsibility .

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.