Maximum Youth Sentences

The Youth Criminal Justice Act sets out maximum penalties for some youth crimes. This means the judge cannot order a sentence beyond whatever that maximum is. The sentences are less severe than the maximum sentences given to adults for the same offence.

  • First degree murder – maximum 10 years (maximum six years in custody and remainder in the community with conditions and under supervision).
  • Second degree murder - maximum seven years (maximum four years in custody and remainder in the community with conditions and under supervision).
  • Serious indictable offences - maximum three years (for a crime where an adult might receive up to life in prison).
  • Most other offences (crimes) - maximum two years.

If you are 14 or older and have been found guilty of a serious crime (any crime that an adult could receive two years or more in jail for) the judge can give you an adult sentence. If you receive an adult sentence, the Youth Criminal Justice Act does not apply with respect to the maximum sentences above. For example, a youth aged 14 to 17 can be sentenced to prison for life for murder.