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Youth records

How does the seriousness of my crime affect my record?

In criminal law, crimes fit into one of the following 3 categories, depending on how serious they are:

1.Summary conviction offences (the least serious crimes)

These are less serious crimes. Some examples are making harassing telephone calls or trespassing on someone's property at night.

For committing these crimes, an adult could:

  • be fined up to $5,000,
  • go to prison for up to 6 months, or
  • get both of these sentencesA sentence is the punishment that the court gives you if you're found guilty.X .

A young person can't get a more severe sentenceA sentence is the punishment that the court gives you if you're found guilty.X for these crimes than an adult can.

2.Indictable offences (most serious)

These are more serious crimes. Some examples are stealing something worth more than $5,000, possessing stolen property that's worth over $5,000, breaking and entering, or robbery.

The sentenceA sentence is the punishment that the court gives you if you're found guilty.X is usually more severe for an indictable offence than for a summary conviction offence. For the most serious indictable offences, such as murder, a young person can be sentenced as an adult.

3.Hybrid offences (more or less serious)

These are crimes that the law can treat as either summary conviction offences or indictable offences. Examples of hybrid offences are possessing stolen property that's worth up to $5,000, stealing something that's worth up to $5,000, or assault.

Most offences are hybrid crimes. If you're charged with a hybrid offence, it is up to the Crown attorneyThe Crown attorney, who is sometimes called a prosecutor, is a lawyer who presents the case against you in court.X to decide whether to treat the offence as a summary conviction offence or an indictable offence. This decision affects how long your record will last if you're found guilty.

The type of crime can affect when your record closes

Sometimes, how long your record is open depends on what happened after you were charged and how serious the crime was.

If you're guilty of a summary conviction offence and your sentenceA sentence is the punishment that the court gives you if you're found guilty.X is probationProbation is a sentence where a probation officer supervises you and you have to follow certain conditions, such as reporting to the probation officer and staying out of other legal trouble.X or a more serious sentence:

If you're guilty of an indictable offence and your sentenceA sentence is the punishment that the court gives you if you're found guilty.X is probationProbation is a sentence where a probation officer supervises you and you have to follow certain conditions, such as reporting to the probation officer and staying out of other legal trouble.X or a more serious sentence:

In some very serious cases, you can be sentenced as if you're an adult. Then your record is treated as an adult record, not a youth record.

An adult record usually stays open and people can see it for your whole life.

(Reviewed August 2015)