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Warnings and Formal Cautions

What offences can I get a caution for?

How are cautions issued?

What happens after receiving a caution?

How do cautions affect a young person’s criminal record?


Cautions


What offences can I get a caution for?


A police officer may give a caution to a young person if they have committed or are alleged to have committed a minor crime covered by the Act.

When a police officer is deciding whether or not to give a caution, any past offences and the seriousness of the offence will be taken into consideration.  A young person can still receive a caution if they have received a caution before.

A police officer may decide not to issue a caution if they think it is not in the interest of justice to do so.

How are cautions issued?


Cautions can be either oral or written.  The police officer must give the young person a caution certificate.  The caution certificate must include:

  • That the caution was given to the young person
  • The young person’s name
  • A description of the offence
  • The police officer’s name and rank
  • Where the caution was given
  • The names of all the people present when the caution was given
  • The nature and effect of the caution
  • A description of anything seized by the police officer in relation to the offence.


If the police have seized any goods which are not illegal they must make the goods available to be collected by an appropriate person (e.g. the young person or their parent) after 48 hours have passed since the caution was issued .

 

What happens after receiving a caution?


If a young person receives a caution, no further action can be taken against them in relation to that offence . The caution is given instead of any other criminal penalty.

 

How do cautions affect a young person’s criminal record?


A caution does not form part of a person’s criminal history, but the police will keep a copy of it and it might be mentioned in court if you are charged with another crime. A person who has received a caution will not have to tell any future employers that they have received a caution. 

This page was last updated 28 June 2015.

   
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