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Toronto Mischief Charges Lawyer

Youth Mischief Charges under Section 430 of the Criminal Code of Canada

Young offenders under age 18 are often charged criminally by the police with mischief (over and under $5000) in the Greater Toronto Area

I have been provided with a “Notice to Parent, Adult Relative or Other Adult” by the police saying my son/daughter is being charged with mischief. What does this mean?

When someone under the age of 18 is charged with a criminal offence, they are charged according to the rules of the YCJA (Youth Criminal Justice Act). Unlike when an adult is charged, the police are obligated to serve the parent or guardian in writing notifying them that their child is charged with a criminal offence under subsection 26(1), (2), and (4) of the YCJA. Mischief is a common offence that young persons are charged with.

What is criminal mischief?

Criminal mischief crimes are cases that involve damaging or interfering with the property of others without having a right to do so. It is perhaps the most subjective, open ended criminal offence as it can encompass a vast range of behaviour. In youth cases, the most common behaviours that lead to charges are:

  1. Tagging property and graffiti (painting, drawing, scratching, or in any way marking property they do not own)
  2. Damage to motor vehicles (keying cars, slashing tires, letting air out of tires, breaking mirrors, dents, broken windows)
  3. Damage to the homes or residences of third parties Fire related damage (may or may not include arson charges as well)
  4. Pranks and hooliganism in the community (Nicky Nicky Nine Doors, spray painting or otherwise marking on doors/windows, knocking over or damaging plants, damaging signs, TTC property, business property, etc.)
  5. School related pranks (smoke bombs, graffiti, etc)
  6. Damaging items in the house like mirrors, tvs, phones, furniture, etc. (in cases related to incidents that occur at home often with the young person’s family)

Why did the police criminally charge my child?

When property is damaged or interfered with, it is different than simple bad behaviour at school. It crosses an important line into criminal activity where there is a victim who suffers a loss (property owner). There seems to be a perception that the police use a lot of discretion and often just let these sorts of things go. In reality, they will almost always criminal charge someone (youth or adult) if they have grounds to believe an offence was committed. Mischief is one of the most common types of criminal charges in Canada.

How Police get involved

Unless the police witness the behaviour directly, most mischief cases start with a 911 call for police assistance. This can be from the victim themselves or a third party witness. For school related cases it is often the Principal that calls the police. In cases where a dispute at home gets out of control, it is often the parents, brother, or sister of the accused who makes this call.

Multiple and Co-Accused

Youth mischief cases often involve multiple and co-accused defendants. It is particularly easy for a young person to be hanging around with the wrong crowd when things get out of control. Group think and peer pressure can lead to an otherwise well behaved child participating in a crime because they feel socially obligated or afraid to walk away. Many youth, similar to adults, also don’t realize the behaviour is a criminal offence or that merely being present when their friends misbehave can get them charged with the same crime under participation laws. Even though your son or daughter may not be the mastermind or leader of the group, or the person who carried out the bulk of the acts, all participants will be charged regardless of their level of culpability.

Can a youth (YCJA) charge become part of a permanent adult criminal record?

Yes. YCJA cases have complex access to information periods and rules which in certain circumstances can result in an adult criminal record which can cause problems with immigration, U.S. travel, employment background checks, and other applications for the rest of the youth’s life.

A lawyer must do everything possible to reduce the likelihood of an adult criminal record in youth cases. This being said, the YCJA system is designed to be more forgiving than the adult system and does have far more protections in place than if the individual was 18 years or older.

Do US Customs allow people who they discover have been charged with mischief cross the border?

If you are not a U.S. Citizen, it is solely up to the border guard at the point of entry as to whether or not a person is allowed to cross the border. USCBP have given a very wide range of discretion to their officers to make these determinations. The U.S. Customs handbook deems mischief to be a crime of moral turpitude. In the U.S. the crime of mischief is often referred to as malicious destruction of property.

It is very important that your lawyer ensure your child’s case results in the shortest access to information period possible because this can dramatically decrease the likelihood of them having problems traveling in the future.

Will the Children’s Aid Society (CAS) get involved because my child has been criminally charged?

In almost all cases, the Police will notify CAS that a youth was charged. CAS will then conduct an investigation which often involves a visit to the child’s residence and/or school to determine whether the child is in any sort of danger. Every case is vastly different. Some youth offenders come from loving and supportive families. Others are kids who literally live on the streets.

Sometimes the parent is also involved in the crime (highly aggravating). CAS responses can range from closing their file after one home visit or phone call to apprehending the child and seeking a permanent foster parent.

Call us today

You don't have to jeopardize your future or waste thousands of dollars on excessive legal fees. We provide effective and affordable lawyer representation for those charged with mischief in the Toronto area.

Have a skilled criminal lawyer who focuses on mischief charges protect you and your future from the stigma and consequences of a criminal record and conviction.

    call us: 647-228-5969


  call us: 647-228-5969


Your case will be defended by a fully licensed Practicing Lawyer of the Law Society of Ontario. For more information about our lawyer, click here.

We provide our clients with:
  • Flat fee pricing
  • U.S. travel advice and information
  • Employment background check advice/services
  • Fingerprints and records destruction services
  • Clear goals of getting charges dropped and bail conditions varied without a trial
  • Help with related immigration issues
  • Vulnerable Sector records suppression help
  • Experienced, focused counsel

* Please note:

If you are not a paying client, we cannot answer questions and provide assistance with U.S. travel, immigration, employment background checks, and avoiding a criminal record. This includes those who have already retained other counsel and those whose cases have already been completed.

We only can take calls/emails relating to Ontario, Canada area cases. Please see our FAQ for a listing of the courthouses we service.

Are you a lawyer? If you are defending a mischief under or over $5000 related case and are looking for expert advice regarding possible defences, case strategies, and information release management call us at: 647-228-5969.

Please note: We do not accept legal aid certificate cases. All clients are handled on a private retainer only.


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        More Information:

  We provide:
  • Flat fee pricing
  • 99%+ non-conviction success rate
  • U.S. travel advice and information
  • Help with related immigration issues
  • Employment background check advice/services
  • Fingerprints and records destruction services
  • A clear goal of getting the charges dropped without a trial
  • Vulnerable Sector records suppression help
  • Timely resolutions
  • Lawyer/client privilege
  • Experienced, focused counsel