1. Understand what’s in your youth records
Question & AnswerHow does having a youth record affect me?
Youth records are electronic or paper documents. They contain information about things that happened between you and the police, or between you and the court.
Youth records include more than just criminal charges
Your youth records include everything that has happened between you and the police. This is true even if you weren’t charged or . For example, if the police warned you about shoplifting, they may have a youth record about that even if they didn’t you.
The police will definitely have information about you in a youth record if you:
- were investigated for a crime, even if you don’t know about the investigation
- were stopped or “carded” by police
- were arrested or charged with a crime, or
- participated in extra judicial measures (EJM), extra judicial sanctions (EJS), or informal diversion, such as a community program or volunteer work
Youth records versus criminal records
In youth criminal court you do not get “” and you don’t get a “criminal record” like in adult court. Only adults get criminal convictions or criminal records. But in youth court, you can be “found guilty” and get a “youth court record”. The words are different on purpose.
Even if you’re found guilty as a young person, you won’t get a criminal conviction or a criminal record. Instead, you will have a finding of guilt and get a youth record.
Your youth records aren’t sealed or erased just because you turn 18.
If you were found guilty as a young person, you may still have an open youth record. If you have an open youth record, and then are convicted of a new crime as an adult, your open youth records will change. Any findings of guilt you had as a youth that are still on your open youth records will be changed into convictions on your adult criminal record. But if your youth records are sealed, then they will not be changed into adult convictions.
What happens if you get an adult sentence
In very rare situations, a judge can give a young person an adult . If you get an adult sentence as a young person, the finding of guilt counts as a criminal conviction. That means you will have a criminal record.