What is a pardon/record suspension?
If you have been convicted of an offense and you have successfully completed your sentence you may be eligible for a pardon. To be eligible you need to have completed your sentence and demonstrate you are law-abiding citizens. Once the pardon is granted you can then you’re your criminal record kept separate and apart from other criminal records.
What is a criminal record?
A criminal record is a record of criminal activity, regardless of the outcome in court. Even after several years and, even if it concerns a minor offence, a criminal record does not disappear automatically. Having a prior criminal record can create issues to many important things in life, including travelling. You need to overcome this prior to enter Canada. If you have committed the offence in Canada, then you may need to apply for a Pardon.
How do I know if I have a criminal record?
If you have been charged with a crime, even if you were found not guilty, or were never convicted, you do have a criminal record. Getting an RCMP clearance might be your best bet to knowing what really is on your record.
How likely am I to be granted a pardon/record suspension?
Depending on your offense you either need to wait 5 or 10 years from the date you successfully completed the sentence which was imposed on you. Once you meet the requisite time period and by providing proper supporting documents of good conduct you may be granted a pardon.
Pardons/Record Suspensions are not granted if you have a sexual offence to a minor or if you have done jail time for over 2 years more than 3 times.
What happens if the Parole Board of Canada denies my application?
This is a very good question. Many clients come to us as they have been denied the pardon after they applied on their own. Many applications get denied because of lack of information or improper filing. It is therefore essential that there is full disclosure and that your documents clearly show you are rehabilitated. If an application is denied, then you can re-apply after one year.
How long does it take to get a pardon/record suspension?
It takes an average of 12-24 months for a pardon/record suspension application to be processed and granted. However, to prepare the pardon/record suspension application, many documents must be collected. Acquiring the proper supporting documents takes between 3-10 months. Therefore, it is a good idea to start preparing the application well in advance of your eligibility date. Please contact us for the complete list of required documents. We are here to help you.
What happens to my criminal record file after I have been granted a pardon/record suspension?
There will always be a record of all your criminal offenses. However, once a pardon/record suspension is granted, this records will be kept separate and apart with RCMP. Once you have been pardoned for your past offenses then the information pertaining to your past record will not be disclosed without the specific approval of the Minister of Public Safety.
Once I have my pardon/record suspension, if I am asked, “Have you ever been convicted of a criminal offence”, what should I say?
Usually the question will not be, “have you committed an offense.” Usually the question will be “Do you have a criminal record for which a pardon/record suspension has not been granted?” The answer to that question is NO.
Should the first question arise, then you can state “YES but I have been pardoned for my past offense.”
What happens if I have a pardon/record suspension and I get charged again?
That will be unfortunate as your pardon/record suspension can be revoked. If you are convicted of an indictable offence (more serious offence) your pardon/record suspension ceases and your past convictions will once again be on your criminal record. If you are convicted of a summary offence (less serious), or given a discharge, it will be dealt on a case-by-case basis. So it is important proper submissions are made so that your pardon is not revoked.
If I have more than one conviction, do I need more than one pardon/record suspension?
No. You will require only one so long as the requisite waiting period of 5 or 10 years have passed for each of your convictions, and if you have met all of the other requirements, you can apply to have all of your convictions pardoned/suspended at the same time.
What if my charges were withdrawn, stayed, dismissed, or I was acquitted?
This is another good question. Although you may not have been found guilty or convicted, your fingerprint number will be revealed in criminal record searches. So what you can do is usually have your record destroyed if you were not found guilty. This way, it will get rid of everything on your record.
My criminal record is from 15 years ago, and I was told that it automatically disappears. Is that true?
No. Criminal convictions are not automatically destroyed or sealed. The individual must take steps and apply to have their record removed.