Can a Criminal Record Be Expunged?

A Criminal Record Suspension, Formerly Known As a Pardon, Involves Formal Application Process Which, When Successful, May Provide New Found Freedoms and Opportunities.

Understanding the Criminal Record Suspension (formerly a pardon) Application Procedures Including the Freedom Benefits

White Dove Released to Freedom Freed Legal Services recognizes that everybody has a background with the good, the bad, and even the ugly, details; however, the consequences for mistakes should eventually cease.  Freed Legal Services is also very aware that the after the debt to society is paid, the lingering affects of a criminal record continue by impairing the ability to freely travel, the employment opportunities available, and more. Freed Legal Services seeks to end the impairing affects of a criminal record.

The Law

In March 2012, the federal government the Safe Streets and Communities Act, S.C. 2012, Chapter 1, effected many changes to the Criminal Code of Canada, R.S.C. 1985, c. C-46, among other statutes, and included changes to the guidelines and procedures for obtaining a pardon, including change of the term pardon to the new term, criminal record suspension.  Among various changes, waiting periods were amended such that a record suspension may be available after five (5) years have passed since a summary conviction offence or ten (10) years since an indictable offence.

Expected Process

Applying for a record suspension may involve various complexities depending on the individual situation of the applicant as the application process requires various supportive documents be obtained from various sources and submitted collectively as a complete package with the primary application documents.  The various supportive documents include court records from the jurisdictions in which convictions were registered, finger print checks, among other things.  The process of gathering the required documents and preparing the properly complete package often takes a few months; and after the package of application document are submitted, a decision may take a few more months.  Overall, the entire process may take up to a year, and maybe more for highly complex situations.

Application Guidelines

When applying for a criminal record suspension you must be in law-abiding status subsequent to the end of your most recent sentence and be without any outstanding fines or fees due to the government such as monies owed for driving offences (traffic tickets), among other things.

Additionally, you must await expiry of the applicable waiting period.  The waiting period is five (5) years after completion of summary conviction sentences or ten (10) years after completion of a sentence for an indictable offence conviction.

Furthermore, persons previous convicted for sexual offences may have limitations applicable to a record suspension.  Persons previously convicted of three, or more, indictable offences involving prison sentences of two (2) years or more, as well as persons previously convicted for sexual offences inflicted upon minor persons are unable to obtain a record suspension (a few very rare exceptions may apply).

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