When you are charged with a crime or convicted, it’s easy to consider the immediate effects. If you are found guilty, you might be required to pay a fine, serve time behind bars or serve your sentence in another way. Once this sentence is complete, you might be tempted to get on with your life and put everything behind you. Unfortunately, your conviction will remain on record and will show up during criminal record checks unless you follow the necessary steps to obtain a pardon.
One of the most important things to remember when requesting a pardon is that you need to wait for a certain period of time. This time will begin once the sentence is completed in full. If you have more than one conviction, you can obtain a pardon for all convictions provided the waiting period has passed for all of them. Below you will find details for each type of charge and the waiting period that applies to these convictions.
If the charges are withdrawn, this means that the case did not go to trial. If the case was dismissed, this means that there is usually not enough information or evidence. If you are acquitted, it means that you were found innocent. In each of these cases, you will need to wait 5 months before you can request a file destruction. File destructions are only for charges and not convictions.
An absolute discharge is when your case goes to trial and you are found guilty but you are not punished by the judge. Stayed charges are when there isn’t enough information at the time but the case is not thrown out since evidence might come to light in the future. The case remains open for 1 year. A peace bond is when the charges are withdrawn in court and the case does not go to trial. In many cases, this applies to domestic disputes where a person is instructed to stay away from another person if the case was one related to harassment. In these cases, a waiting period of 1 year applies.
A conditional discharge is when you go to court and you are not convicted but you are found guilty. This usually carries a punishment of a fine, community service or something similar. The waiting period that applies in such cases is 3 years.
A summary conviction is considered a less serious offence. In other words, it would include offences like shoplifting. The waiting period is 5 years.
Since these are more serious offences, the waiting period is 10 years. While shoplifting is often considered a summary offence, theft of over $5,000 can be considered to be an indictable offence.
There are also certain offences that will make you ineligible for a pardon. These include any sexual offence against a minor. You will also be deemed ineligible if you have 3 or more convictions where you received a sentence of more than 2 years of jail time in each case.
As you can see, different waiting periods apply to different types of convictions. As previously mentioned, if you have more than one conviction, you need to make sure that the waiting time for both of them has passed. That way, you can apply for a single pardon to seal those records so that you can make the most of every opportunity that comes your way. At Record Free, we specialise in pardons Canada, file destructions and U.S. entry waivers. Contact our expert team at +1 (866) 928-3260 and steer your life in the right direction once again!