A criminal record can put a damper on many life events and activities, such as enrolling in university, travelling internationally, getting a job, an apartment, a credit card, insurance, or custody of your children, and much more.
The good news is you may qualify for a pardon of charges or convictions, or you may be able to apply for a travel exemption. An experienced lawyer will be able to guide you through this process.
How Can a Lawyer Help?
Applying for a Pardon: Once a pardon has been granted, the police have no evidence that a criminal record ever existed and a record check will come out clean.
Applying for a Travel Waiver: Travelling within Canada isn’t a problem with a criminal record but many countries, including the U.S., require a special entry waiver before you can cross their borders. Please note that a Canadian pardon does not erase your record in the U.S. Customs database, so you may have to use a travel waiver to enter the U.S. for the rest of your life.
Appealing a Denial of Entry to Another Country
Obtaining Written Proof of the Removal of Charges and/or Convictions from a Criminal Record
Appealing a Rejection After Pardoned: It is unlawful to discriminate against a person for crimes that have been pardoned. A criminal lawyer can represent your case if you feel that has happened.
Writing a Support Letter: In some situations, it may be beneficial to have a letter of support written by your lawyer indicating that you are in the process of getting a pardon and clearing your record.
How Can You Remove Evidence of a Criminal Record?
Regardless of the type of conviction, it’s best to consult a criminal lawyer to ensure your record is eventually cleared.
- For an absolute discharge, charges are removed after one year
- For a conditional discharge, charges are removed after three years
- If convicted of a crime, you may apply for a pardon (time varies)
What Should I Bring to a Meeting with a Criminal Lawyer?
Bring any legal and judicial documents pertaining to your case. If you wish to apply for a pardon, bring evidence of having fulfilled judicial requirements of your sentence. If you wish to travel out of the country, be prepared to discuss the intent of your trip. Bring evidence of discrimination based on a pardoned crime, if you plan to contend that action.