Jan 26, 2017
Committing a crime in Ontario can have a long-lasting impact that goes beyond the penalties assessed in the court of law. In fact, even being charged with a crime and not being convicted, can have a significant, negative impact on your life.
Your criminal record will be maintained in the RCMP’s database for all or nearly all your life (the record will stop being held when you turn 80, or for some serious offences, 100.)
Having a criminal record will affect you significantly in two key areas:
Having a criminal record can have serious negative consequences for your ability to become employed, stay employed and advance your career. While police background checks are required in some industries, such as banking and the government, it is now commonplace for employers to require a criminal background check from all applicants. Many employers will refuse to hire anyone with a criminal record. Even if you’re self-employed, a criminal record could be a barrier to signing new contracts or new clients. Even some volunteer organizations or committees may restrict those with criminal records from participating.
Your ability to travel outside of Canada may be severely restricted if you have a criminal record. Many countries will not allow you to enter if you have a criminal record in Canada. For example, it is illegal to attempt to enter the United States of America if you have a criminal record. In order to travel, you will need to remove your criminal record or apply for a special entry waiver.
Even if you were found not guilty in a criminal court, your criminal record does not necessarily get removed. In this case, you will need to apply to have the record, any photographs and copies of your fingerprints destroyed. And if you were found guilty, you will require a record suspension.
You’re only eligible for a record suspension after a period of time following paying the penalties associated with your conviction (i.e. jail time, fines, restitution and/or probation.) For less serious or summary offences, you must then wait five years to apply for a record suspension. For serious or indictment offences, the waiting period is ten years.
There are two parts to having a criminal record removed: collecting the criminal record information and making the application for it to be destroyed or removed. Collecting all the necessary documents, fingerprints, police records and court records for each offence can take up to 18 months and most will require you to pay associated fees. Then, you will need to decide on the type of removal process to apply for and when you’re eligible to apply.
Because the process to remove a criminal record is lengthy and requires making the right decisions on applications, it is best that you speak with a criminal law lawyer first. The rules for destroying criminal records vary by police jurisdiction, as well.
Is your criminal record hurting your employability or ability to travel? Talk to an experienced Niagara criminal lawyer about removing your criminal record today and be on the path to to putting your criminal record behind you.