What Is a Youth Record?

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You were caught by the police because they thought you committed a crime. When the police stop you, they create a file or record about you. Later, other people who are part of the youth justice system will probably also keep information about you.

This article explains who can keep information about you. You will also learn that some files are not automatically closed when you turn 18.

Youth Record or Criminal Record?

What is the difference between a youth record and a criminal record? Usually, only adults can have a criminal record. Teens under 18 who committed a crime will usually have a youth record. But teens who get an adult punishment will have a criminal record.


Information in Many Places

Police officers must create a police report when they stop someone they think committed a crime. A record of the report is kept at the Centre de renseignements policiers du Québec or CRPQ (Québec police intelligence centre ). Police all over Quebec can see the records kept at the CRPQ.  

Information about you might be kept in other places. Here are some examples:

  • at the Organisme de justice alternative or OJA (alternative justice organization). This is a community organization that helps youth who are given extrajudicial measures or sanctions.
  • at a youth centre
  • with the criminal and penal prosecuting attorney. This is the government lawyer, often called a prosecutor, who takes people accused of crimes to court in criminal cases.
  • at youth court if your case goes through a traditional court process
  • with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP)

Important! Not all of these places will necessarily keep information about you. It will depend on what happens in your case.


Information About You and the Crime
Your youth record contains a lot of information about you and the crime:  
  • name
  • date of birth
  • fingerprints
  • photograph
  • what happened when the police stopped you

Depending on what happened in your case, your record will contain other information. For example, the crime you were accused of, any extrajudicial measures or sanctions used in your case, the punishment you were given, and information the police obtained during their investigation.


Can Anyone See Your Record After You Turn 18?

Only a few people are allowed to see the information in your record, and only for a specific length of time. After that time has passed, no one can see the information in your record. We say that your record is closed. The length of time before your record is closed depends on your case. It has nothing to do with turning 18.

How long it takes before your record is closed depends on what happened in your case. This table shows how long it takes for different situations:

Situation or Sentence Length of Time
An extrajudicial measure or an extrajudicial sanction was used in your case 2 years, starting from the time you agree to the measure or sanction
You were found not guilty after a trial 2 to 3 months
The accusation against you was dismissed by a judge or withdrawn 2 months
You got a reprimand from a judge 2 months
You got an absolute discharge from a judge 1 year
You got a punishment other than a reprimand or absolute discharge 3 or 5 years, and sometimes up to 10 years

Don’t understand all the situations?  Find out by reading our articles on extrajudicial measures, extrajudicial sanctions and punishments for teens .


Important! Your youth record can become a criminal record.

You’re 18 or older. Your youth record is still open and you commit another crime and are convicted. In this case, your youth record will become an adult criminal record, with all the effects of having a criminal record.


You Can Check Whether Your Record Is Closed

Your record should be closed after the length of time shown in the chart above. This means no one can see the information it contains. You can make sure it’s closed. Just go to your local police station and ask the officers to check. You’ll have to show ID.

You can ask your lawyer to help you.

Having a Record Has Consequences

Having a record has consequences. To learn more, see our article The Impact of Having a Youth Record.



Have you committed a crime? Learn what can happen.

Caught by the Police? What Happens Next?
Suspected of a Crime? You Have Rights

Alternatives to Court

Extrajudicial Measures: The Police Decide
Extrajudicial Sanctions: Instead of a Trial

Going to Court

Appearing in Youth Court
Steps in the Youth Court Process
Youth Sentences
Can Teens Be Sent to Prison?
Can Teens Get Adult Punishments?

Criminal Records

What is a Youth Record?
Impact of Having a Youth Record

Important !
This article explains in a general way the law that applies in Quebec. This article is not a legal opinion or legal advice. To find out the specific rules for your situation, consult a lawyer or notary.