Crime and Justice
- Your Parents and Lawyers
- What happens if I commit a crime?
- Youth Court
- Criminal Records
- Who Can Help?
Records must be kept about any case under the Youth Criminal Justice Act by the justice system. When a young person aged 12 through 17 commits a crime, a record will be opened.
Many people think youth criminal records are closed once the young person turns 18. This is not correct. Records can be kept open for up to 5 years from the completion of a sentence, depending on how serious the crime was, whether out-of-court measures or court was used, and whether the young person commits any more crimes.
Also, if a young person's record is still open when he or she turns 18 and the young person is convicted of another crime, their youth record will become part of their permanent adult criminal record.
On the other hand, if the young person does not commit any more crimes, once the youth criminal record closes, it will remain closed. Once a record is closed, it is either destroyed or sent to the National or Provincial archives to be stored.
Having a record can affect a person's ability to travel or move to other countries, to get a job, to volunteer and can have other consequences in a young person's life.