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Legal issues for young people

Did you know?

Legally, a child in NSW is a person under the age of 18. In some cases the law may make a distinction between a “child”, defined as a person under 16, and a “young person”, defined as someone aged 16 or 17. No child under 10 can be charged with a criminal offence in NSW.

Young people looking at a phone

What do I need to do if I crash my car?

There's a lot to do if you've crashed your car - sometimes you have to call the police, you need to get the other driver's details, you may need to negotiate who is going to pay for the damage. Sometimes you may even have to go to court.

Find out more in Crashed your car? Information on claims for damage to your car, in and out of court by Legal Aid NSW.

Find out about the legal rights and responsibilities of children in the Law Handbook.

Check the Lawstuff website to find information on lots of topics from alcohol to voting, grafitti to tattoos and contracts to parties.

What happens if I don’t pay a fine?

Check out Representing yourself - Fines for information about your options for dealing with a fine or penalty notice, including how to pay the fine, what to do if you disagree with it, what happens if you decided to go to court and what you can do if your drivers licence is suspended.

Fined out: a practical guide for people having problems with fines is an excellent practical guide to the NSW fines system. It includes information about how to deal with fines, young people and fines, demerit points and licences, and Work and Development orders (WDO).

Do I have to show ID to police?

You must give your real name to police if you are:

  • driving a car    
  • involved in a car accident    
  • under 18 and drinking alcohol in a public place              
  • suspected of being involved in or witnessing a serious crime          
  • on public transport; or            
  • suspected of being a defendant in an Apprehended Violence Order    

Find more information about what to do if you are questioned by the police in Get street smart: Under 18s: know your legal rights

Need more info?

Learn more about legal issues affecting young people or visit your local public library. Your local library has the Find Legal Answers Tool Kit, a collection of plain language law books to  answer everyday questions about the law.

The Children's Legal Service, Legal Aid NSW advises and represents children and young people under 18 involved in criminal cases and Apprehended Violence Order applications in the Children's Courts. They aim to ensure that children and young people have access to professional, face-to-face or telephone based legal advice at any stage of their legal proceedings.

Lawmail is a legal service for Australian children and young people, providing legal information, advice and referrals by email.

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