More than 3 million Canadians have a criminal records but, despite this, there is still an alarming number of people who do not understand what this means for their future or how long this criminal record can affect their lives. There are three main categories when it comes to police records. These are: conviction, non-conviction (with a finding of guilt), or non-conviction (without a finding of guilt).
If you are convicted, it means that you were found guilty of a crime and you either received a sentence or discharge. You might be required to serve time behind bars, pay fines, serve a conditional sentence with community service or a suspended sentence with probation. These kinds of convictions will remain on your record for life, unless your record suspension or pardon application is successful.
A non-conviction with a finding of guilt includes instances where the person is found guilty or pleads guilty. They might receive a conditional or absolute charge but this is not a criminal conviction. Those who receive an absolute or conditional charge are not able to apply for a pardon. That said, as per the Criminal Records Act, conditional charges are to be sealed after three years and absolute charges are to be sealed after one year. That said, basic criminal checks will reveal that the person received a discharge.
There are also cases where the person is not convicted and there was no finding of guilt. Being subject to investigation for a number of reasons can result in certain information appearing on police record checks. Some examples include mental health apprehension, police surveillance, acquittals, charges withdrawn, or a stay of proceedings.
Another important point to consider is the difference between youth and adult records. The age of the offender is of great significance in Canada and this will determine how it will affect your future. When a minor commits a crime, the record of this offense will be sealed after the necessary waiting period. Provided there are no further indiscretions. Once the record is sealed, there is no need for a pardon. If the person commits a crime as a minor and again as an adult, before the youth record is sealed, a pardon will be needed for both offenses.
Adult criminal records last longer than a youth conviction. The main difference is that the expiration date for adult offenses is significantly longer than that of youth offenses. In most cases, the offense remains on your record for decades unless you apply for a record suspension.
Another important point to remember is that a record suspension does not make your criminal record disappear. It will be sealed which means that the general public will not be able to access your record. Your record can still be accessed by legal agencies if the need arises.
Simply put, a Canadian criminal record usually lasts until you are at least 80 years old. Youth records are subject to some other terms and they are sealed after a set waiting period. Of course, if you receive a pardon, you will not need to worry about your criminal record coming up whenever you want to move forward with your life. Call Federal Pardon Waiver Services at 1 (800) 543-2137 for professional pardon application assistance today.