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What is the Youth Criminal Justice Act?

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The Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA) protects the privacy and identity of young people found guilty of crimes. The YCJA governs the Canadian youth justice system, which has oversight over youth aged between 12 and a day less than 18. Originally enacted in 2003, the YCJA replaced the old Youth Offenders Act (YOA) statute.

The YCJA protects young individuals by restricting access to youth records.

What is a Youth Record?

Youth records contain all the information relevant to the young person’s identity, the crimes they were accused or found guilty of committing. Youth records may include evidence collected in the investigation into the alleged crimes committed by the youth.

Additionally, youth records may include information provided by family members, neighbors, school authorities, and the alleged victims.

How Long Does a Youth Record Last?

The extent to which a youth shall remain open will depend upon the alleged criminal offences committed, the court’s sentencing, and whether an additional subsequent was committed while the record was still in its active period (while it was open and active).

If the charge is dismissed or withdrawn, or if the youth is found guilty and given a reprimand, or if the youth is acquitted, the record will be sealed or destroyed after two months.

The record will be sealed or destroyed after one year if the criminal charge is stayed or if the youth is found guilty and given an absolute discharge.

The youth record will be sealed or destroyed after two years if an extrajudicial sanction is imposed.

The youth record will be sealed or destroyed after three years if the young person is given a conditional discharge or if the youth is found guilty and sentenced to summary conviction.

A record may be retained indefinitely if a young person is found guilty of murder, manslaughter, or sexual assault. Please get in touch with your criminal defense lawyer for more information about other criminal charges and sentencing.

What is a Record Suspension?

Those convicted of a crime who’ve completed their court-ordered sentencing may be eligible for a record suspension if they meet certain requirements. These requirements likely include proving to the authorities that the person has shown they’ve no intention of repeating the mistakes that landed them in trouble in the first place and that, instead, they have become upstanding members of society. If these criteria are met, the record could be suspended, disappearing from the Canadian Police Information Center’s database.

What is Expungement?

Expunged records are a special version of record suspension. Expungements can erase criminal records from public access. This has several benefits, including relieving concerns about future employment, immigration, and other factors that could be negatively affected by having a viewable criminal record.

What Part of the Government Handles Record Suspensions?

The responsibility of issuing, refusing, and revoking record suspensions is solely that of the Parole Board of Canada.

Who is Eligible for a Record Suspension or an Expunged Record?

A young person may be eligible for a record suspension if convicted of a criminal offence in Canada. The young person must have completed their sentencing, prison time, completed probation, paid all fines and compensation, and performed all community service (if any). After waiting out the necessary active period, the youth may apply for a record suspension. Certain exclusions may apply.

Only certain convictions are eligible for expungement. To learn whether your conviction qualifies and how you may apply for expungement, contact an experienced criminal defence lawyer.

Request a Consultation with an Experienced Toronto Youth Offender Lawyer

99% of employers review the criminal records of their new job applicants. If a criminal record shows up in your records, regardless of how long ago the criminal offence took place, it may cost you the opportunity of securing the job you’re after. Thus the importance of having your youth record removed from public access.

William Jaksa Criminal Litigation has years of experience helping young people and adults to get rid of the burden of their criminal records. To schedule a case evaluation, please call our law firm at 647-951-8078.

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