Does a Pardon Provide a Person With a Clean Slate?

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 [Legal Firm's Name] understands that people make errors in judgment; however, the consequences of those mistakes should eventually, within reason, come to an end.  Unfortunately, after penalties as a debt to society are paid, adverse affects may continue for many years by way of reduced freedom to travel, loss of work or volunteer opportunities, among other impediments.  [Legal Firm's Name] works to enable new beginnings without the shackles 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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