Criminal record


The criminal record is the temporary record in an official record of the sanctions imposed on a person by virtue of a final judgment, issued by a criminal court or tribunal.

That is to say, they are the legal consequences determined in a firm judicial resolution, of a sanctioning order, that derive for an individual for his authorship of criminal acts. The legal consequences are recorded in an official record for a specified time and with a marked purpose of control.

The criminal record, in addition to the conviction itself received in the final judgment, will in many cases have a negative influence on other aspects of life, especially work, an influence that will depend on the legislation of each country.

The registration by the State of the criminal records of those people who have been convicted by a criminal court or court fulfills a control function.

Characteristics of the criminal record

The annotations of the antecedents in the registry have the following characteristics:

  • They are usually temporary and can be canceled.
  • They must be determined by a final judicial sentence issued in the criminal jurisdiction.

Let's take a closer look at each of the features:

Cancellation of criminal records

As a general rule, the annotation of criminal records is temporary, that is, they can be canceled after a certain time and in conjunction with other requirements. The time that must pass for the record to be expunged generally depends on the type of crime, whether it is minor or serious, for example.

The necessary requirements for cancellation are usually having satisfied financial responsibilities (payment of compensation and fines) and not having returned to commit more crimes within the term established by law.

The cancellation of the criminal record is a right of the convicted person once the sentence imposed by the judge has been completed.

It is important to bear in mind that, once the criminal record has been canceled, it cannot be used in subsequent legal proceedings. The antecedents will be considered non-existent once the requirements established by law have been met.

Only by final judicial sentence

The second characteristic is that only those facts that are declared in a final judicial sentence issued in the field of criminal jurisdiction may be entered in the criminal record. This means that it is not possible to record sentences handed down in other jurisdictional areas, even if they are punitive in nature, such as administrative sanctions or financial sentences issued in the civil sphere.

Therefore, only after a conviction or final judicial decision issued by the criminal judge, the penalties or sanctions will be noted, as personal antecedents of the convicted person. Final judgments are considered to be those against which there is no recourse or challenge whatsoever, either for having exhausted the remedies established in the law, or for the fact that the convicted individual has not made use of them.

The annotation of the criminal record usually contains the information regarding the subject (their identification data), the criminal offense committed, the length of the sentence and the court or sentencing court and is sent directly by the court or sentencing court.

Other Considerations of a Criminal Record

Public or reserved character

We must also bear in mind that criminal records are accessible, as long as they remain valid, for the interested party, for judicial and police authorities and, in some cases (according to different national laws), for third parties such as employers, which we leads to consider that there is no unanimity in the different legislations in order to consider the public or reserved nature of the information contained in the criminal records.

Repeat offender or habitual offender

The criminal record can - and should - be requested by the judicial authorities when legal proceedings are initiated with respect to a person. The objective is to know if it is the first time you commit a crime or, if not, if you are a repeat offender or habitual offender, which will have consequences, if a conviction is handed down, in order to increase the penalty that may be imposed.

The existence of the criminal record - recidivism - will imply the aggravation of the penalty to be imposed in the new procedure, so the sentence will be greater than those who do not have a computable criminal record.

Difference between police record and criminal record

The police would also have access to the criminal record, being necessary to differentiate it from the police record, which would be those collected by the police forces during the investigation of the allegedly criminal acts and prior to judicial intervention.

Consequence and effects of the criminal record

In addition to the logical consequences in the criminal justice field, the existence of a criminal record may have a negative influence on its holder in other areas of life, especially in the world of work and social reintegration.

Having a criminal record can be an insurmountable obstacle, for example, to participate in popular legislative initiatives, have access to social benefits, obtain a weapons permit or be able to participate in guardianship, foster care or adoption procedures.

International agreement

It is contemplated and in this sense there are international conventions by virtue of which a country can request from others the criminal record of a national for the purposes of ongoing legal proceedings.

How do you know if you have a criminal record?

Criminal record

The criminal record certificate is an official document in which the existence or not of a criminal record with respect to a person is stated.

Indeed, there are many laws that allow the jobseeker to be requested to provide the corresponding certificate of criminal record, which if they exist will possibly be a major obstacle to obtaining a job.

In some countries it is admitted that the employer himself has access to the official register to request this information. On the contrary, there are countries that prohibit taking into account criminal records as long as they are not relevant to the type of work in question. There are also countries that, decisively, prohibit the existence of any type of discrimination for this concept when accessing a job.

Among other assumptions, to access a public position in the public administration, the first thing that is requested is the certificate of criminal record. It is one of the causes for which an application for nationality, residence or work for foreigners can be denied.

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