Can I avoid a criminal record?

Feb 21, 2017

In Ontario, a criminal record can follow you for life. It may affect your ability to be employed and to travel outside of the country. When a person is convicted of a criminal charge, a criminal record is generated. There are a number of ways in which a lawyer can help an individual avoid a criminal charge, these are discussed below.

How to avoid criminal record:

Acquittal at Trial

To avoid a criminal charge through court proceedings you must be found not guilty in trial. During a trial, the Crown must prove their case beyond reasonable doubt, if they fail to do so you will avoid a criminal record. If your case is proceeding to trial, hiring a criminal lawyer is your best defense.


The Crown Attorney determines a person’s eligibility for diversion; after a file is processed by the police department, it is screened by the Crown Attorney. Typically, the accused learns of this decision in Court.  Factors that influence the Crown’s decision to grant eligibility include past criminal history, cooperation upon arrest, the seriousness of the offence, the impact of the criminal record, the cost of prosecuting and the wishes of the victim.

If a file is at first deemed ineligible for diversion, an experienced criminal lawyer can assist in avoiding a criminal charge through negotiations with the Crown Prosecutor.


During sentencing, if the judge determines it is in the best interest of the accused and not contrary to public interest, he or she may impose discharge. Discharge absolves you of any convictions on your record, but it still means that you’ve been found guilty of an offence. A discharge will remain on your record for a period of time. You may be granted an absolute discharge or a conditional discharge. These will affect you differently.

  • Absolute Discharge – remains on your record for a year with no probationary term;
  • Conditional Discharge – remains on your record for three years with requirement of probation.

Peace Bond

A peace bond is a type of criminal court order. When imposed, a peace bond protects the safety of the victim or property by setting out conditions for the accused to follow, if the conditions of the peace bond are breached it will often result in criminal charges. Peace bonds are used in cases pertaining to domestic violence.

Finding your Niagara Criminal Lawyer

It is important to retain a Niagara Criminal Lawyer no matter the severity of the charge. To retain the legal counsel of Chown Cairns team of Criminal Defense Lawyers please follow the link below.