Drugs & Law

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4. Verdict

Guilty or Innocent

  • If you are found innocent by the judge then there is no further action. The costs you have incurred such as lawyer costs or time missed from work or school is not recoverable.

  • If you are found guilty then you are subject to sentencing by the judge. When you are found guilty you will then have a criminal record.


Criminal Record

  • Criminal records are as a result of being found guilty of an offence. You do not receive a criminal record from being investigated by the police. When you receive a criminal record as a young offender, you keep the criminal record for five years from the date the judge found you guilty. On the fifth anniversary the record is automatically removed.

  • A criminal record can affect your life in many ways. It can affect your ability to get work, including part time jobs and also to be able to choose a career of your choice. Many careers require that you do not have a criminal record. It can also affect your ability to travel to other countries.



The judge has several options when sentencing. They are as follows:

  • Alternative Measures:
    • Alternative Measures is an opportunity to turn a wrong into a right. In many first time offences you will be offered a chance to apologize, or pay for damages if you vandalized. If you successfully do this, then the matter is forgiven and no criminal record is received.

    • Should you offend a second time, alternative measures are not likely to be offered.

  • Probation:
    • Most young offenders are given probation. Probation allows you to return to the community; however, the judge will give you a set of rules that you have to abide by for a stated period of time. These rules can include curfews, orders not to associate with certain people or go to certain places.

    • When you are on probation you will be required to attend and speak with your probation officer every week or two weeks. The probation officer’s job is to monitor your behaviour and ensure you are following any rules or orders given by the judge. If your probation officer or the police find you violating the conditions of your probation, you may be charged with the offence of “breach of probation.”

  • Community Service:
    • As a part of any sentence the judge may order community service. Community service is a stated number of hours where you will volunteer in an appropriate place in the community.

  • Custody:
    • The judge has the option of placing you in a secure custody facility. These are commonly known as group homes.

    • Open Custody:
      In an open custody facility you will live in the facility for the time period stated by a judge. In an open facility you are allowed to leave the facility to attend school or as directed by facility staff. Failure to return to the facility when stated can lead to subsequent charges.

    • Closed Custody:
      In a closed custody facility you remain in the facility for the time period stated by the judge. Your schooling would be done within the facility.


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Did you know...

Drugs Desciptions and Effects

Select a drug from the drop down menu to get more information from National Institute on Drug Abuse at drugabuse.gov :