WHAT IS A YOUTH RECORD AND WHAT ARE THE CONSEQUENCES?

What Is A Youth Record

Many people believe that a youth’s criminal record is automatically destroyed when the youth turns 18 years old; however, this is not the case. In general, if you are found guilty of a summary conviction offence, your record will be kept for at least three years after you finish your sentence. If you are convicted of an indictable offence, your record will be kept for at least five years after you complete your sentence. But these guidelines are only relevant if you do not commit another offence during the time that your record is still open. If a person commits an offence while their record is still open, these timelines change. As a result, how long a record remains open depends on the offence committed, the sentence, and whether the person commits another offence while the youth record is open.

The duration for which a criminal record is open is called the access period. Generally, if an adult with an open youth record commits an offence, the youth record will become part of the person’s adult record.

WILL A YOUTH RECORD AFFECT MY ABILITY TO TRAVEL?

Generally speaking, other countries do not have access to youth records, except in very rare situations; however, while crossing a border the customs officer may ask you if you have a youth criminal record, which may lead them to becoming aware of it. A criminal record of any kind may prevent a person from crossing into another country. In general, the laws of each country are different and each country has various laws about who is permitted to enter it and about whether or not it permits entrance to people who have a youth record.

WILL A YOUTH RECORD AFFECT MY EMPLOYMENT OPTIONS?

A youth record may limit a young person’s employment opportunities. Generally, the police will not give any employer, except a government employer, information about a youth record; however, an employer can ask a young person to complete a criminal records check. While the young person can refuse to provide a criminal records check to an employer, it may jeopardize job opportunities and limit career options.

I HAVE BEEN CHARGED AS A YOUTH, SHOULD I PLEAD TO GET IT OVER WITH?

All things considered, it is certainly in a young person’s best interest to avoid any criminal record whatsoever. Pleading guilty is serious. It needs to be informed and considered. Even when a person decides to plead guilty, they have options and can benefit from legal advice. If you or a loved one has been charged as a youth, contact our law office to review your case. Criminal Defence Law is an important area of expertise at Bernstein Law Group.

HOW LONG DOES A YOUTH RECORD LAST?

How Offence Is Dealt With / Type of OffenceHow Long Before Record Will Be Sealed or Destroyed? (Access Period)
Youth is acquitted (other than verdict of not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder)Two (2) months after the time allowed to file an appeal, or, if an appeal is filed, three (3) months after all proceedings related to the appeal are completed
Charge is dismissed or withdrawnAfter two (2) months
Youth is found guilty and given a reprimandAfter two (2) months
Charge is stayedAfter one (1) year, if no further court proceedings have been taken
Extrajudicial sanction is imposedTwo (2) years after the young person has consented to the extrajudicial sanction
Youth is found guilty and given an absolute dischargeOne (1) year after the young person has been found guilty
Youth is found guilty and given a conditional dischargeThree (3) years after the young person has been found guilty
Youth is found guilty and sentenced for summary conviction offenceThree (3) years after the sentence has been completed (any subsequent offence will result in an extension)
Youth is found guilty and sentenced for indictable offenceFive (5) years after the sentence has been completed (any subsequent offence will result in an extension)
Murder, manslaughter, attempted murder, or aggravated sexual assaultRecord may be retained indefinitely
Certain scheduled offencesRecord will be retained for an additional five (5) years
Youth is found guilty and receives an adult sentenceRecord is treated as an adult record, and the rules applicable to adult records apply.
Person is convicted of an offence committed after he or she turns 18, while the access period for their youth offence is still openRecord for the youth offence will be treated as an adult record, and the rules applicable to adult records apply.

If you are unsure whether your youth record has been sealed or destroyed, check with your local police service to verify the status of the record.

Source: Department of Justice

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