Criminal record – what is it, definition and concept

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

That is, they are the legal consequences determined in a firm judicial resolution, of a sanctioning order, which derives for an individual for his authorship of criminal acts. The legal consequences are recorded in an official registry for a certain time and with a marked control purpose.

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

Registration by the State of criminal records of those who have been convicted by a criminal court or tribunal fulfils a control function.

Characteristics of the criminal record

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

  • They are usually temporary and can be cancelled.
  • They must be determined by a final judicial decision handed down in the criminal jurisdiction.

Let’s look at each of the features carefully:

Cancellation of criminal records

As a general rule, the recording of criminal records is temporary, that is, they can be cancelled after a certain time and in conjunction with other requirements. The time it takes for the record to be cancelled generally depends on the type of crime, whether it is light or serious, for example.

They are usually necessary requirements for cancellation on having fulfilled financial responsibilities (payment of compensation and fines) and not having committed more crimes within the period
establish in the laws.

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

It is important to note that, once the criminal record, these may not be used in legal proceedings later. The background will be considered as nonexistent once completed the requirements established by law.

Only by final court ruling

The second characteristic is that only those facts that are declared in a final judicial decision issued within the scope of criminal jurisdiction may be entered in the criminal record. This means that it is not possible to register convictions issued in other jurisdictional areas, even if they are of a sanctioning nature, such as administrative sanctions or pecuniary convictions issued in the civil sphere.

Therefore, only after a conviction or resolution judicial order issued by the criminal judge, penalties or sanctions will be subject to annotation, as a personal antecedent of the convicted person. They are considered to be final sentences those against which there is no recourse or challenge, either for having exhausted the resources established in the laws or for the fact that the convicted individual has not made use of them.

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

Other considerations of criminal history

Public or reserved character

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

Repeat offender or habitual offender

A criminal record can – and should – be requested by the judicial authorities when judicial proceedings are initiated regarding a person. The objective is known if it is the first time that you commit a crime or, if not, if you are a repeat offender or habitual offender, which will have consequences, if a sentence is passed condemnatory, in order to increase the penalty that could be imposed.

The existence of a criminal record recurrence will imply the aggravation of the penalty to be imposed in the new procedure, for what the sentence will be higher with respect to those who have no record computable penalties.

Difference between police record and record penal

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

Consequence and effects of criminal records

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

Having a criminal record can be an obstacle insurmountable, for example, to participate in popular legislative initiatives, have access to social assistance, obtaining a weapons permit or power participate in guardianship, fostering or adoption procedures.

International agreement

It is contemplated and in this sense, there are international agreements by virtue of which a country can request from others the background criminals of a nation for the purposes of ongoing legal proceedings.

How do you know if you have a criminal record?

Criminal record

The criminal record certificate is a document officer stating the existence or not of a criminal record regarding a person.

Indeed, there are not a few laws that allow requesting the job seeker to provide the corresponding certificate of criminal record, which if they exist will possibly be a great obstacle to obtaining a job.

In some countries, it is admitted that the employer itself has access to the official registry 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, in a decisive manner, prohibit the existence of any type of discrimination in this regard when it comes to accessing a job.

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