Retaining a Youth Court Defence Lawyer
The first step in retaining a criminal defence lawyer is to book an appointment for a consultation. You need to have a good meeting face-to-face with the Youth Court lawyer who you hope to retain. You need to feel comfortable that the defence lawyer will do his or her best to help you even though the Youth criminal justice lawyer has other clients.
Many criminal law lawyers offer a twenty minute or thirty minute consultation for free. That's a good way to simply check out an office and get general information similar to what you can get from duty counsel at Court or with a lawyer over the phone.
However, a proper detailed consultation about the specific facts of the case or review of disclosure will require at least a one hour consultation. If you already have your disclosure and any statement DVD be sure to bring that with you so that the Youth Court lawyer can read the disclosure and watch the DVD. Then the lawyer can give you a proper opinion.
If you haven't been to Court yet but want a full consultation with a lawyer before getting disclosure I would also suggest booking a one hour appointment. That is very important if there are pending suspension/expulsion issues at school, immigration issues, or behavioural issues for your adolescent at home.
It is impossible for a Youth Court lawyer to give you a firm estimate of what the whole case will cost until the criminal law lawyer conducts a thorough review of disclosure and has met with you face-to-face.
Once you have met face-to-face with a Youth Court law criminal lawyer for a detailed consultation you can decide whether or not to "retain" that lawyer. Every Canadian charged with a criminal offence has the right to "retain and instruct" a lawyer. The word "retain" in section 10(b) of the Charter of Rights does not mean "hold on to", rather it means "hire". The word "instruct" in the Charter of Rights does not mean "teach", rather it means "tell the lawyer what you want him or her to do".
Most adolescents and many parents have no experience with "retaining" or "instructing" a criminal law lawyer. When you retain a Youth Court law lawyer, you are hiring a criminal law barrister. When you enter into a retainer agreement you are authorizing the lawyer to "go on record" as your barrister at Youth Court. When a criminal law lawyer goes "on record" for a client, the lawyer is giving a solemn undertaking to the Youth Court that he or she will follow through on Youth Justice Court attendances until the end of trial and sentencing (if there is a finding of guilt). That attorney commitment to the Youth Court is a serious and long-lasting matter and can only be accomplished if the lawyer has received a "retainer", a significant payment of money up front. Sometimes payment plans are possible, but you will need to come up with several thousand dollars to be placed in the lawyer's trust account as a retainer. Before you can instruct your lawyer a criminal law defence attorney needs to have a professional face-to-face relationship with you. The lawyer needs to make sure through multiple consultations face-to-face that you understand your options and are giving clear instructions. That requires a lot of care and patience on both sides of the relationship while the lawyer gets to know you, your family, your witnesses, and your best interests.