There is a difference in Canada between a finding of guilt and a conviction. Once a person is found guilty of some offences the Court must decide whether or not it will enter a conviction. In such a case if the Court considers that it is in the best interests of the accused and not contrary to the public interest, the Court may refrain from entering a conviction and instead grant an absolute or conditional discharge. Although they have been found guilty, persons who receive absolute or conditional discharges may truthfully say that they have not been convicted. There are, however, records kept by the R.C.M.P. and the local police service of the absolute or conditional discharge. These records may be used against you during a police investigation, during a bail hearing (depending on your province), during a sentencing (depending on your province), and as a witness. About 1 year after sentencing you should consult a lawyer to determine whether such use is still permitted or is prohibited under the Criminal Records Act. A request should be made to the R.C.M.P. and the local police to confirm that they have purged their records.
Records kept by the R.C.M.P. and the local police force with respect to convictions may be used against you during a police investigation, during a bail hearing, during a sentencing, as a witness, or by a prospective employer or bonding company. Several years after sentencing you should consult a lawyer to determine if and when a pardon is available under the Criminal Records Act. Once a pardon is obtained you should ask your lawyer to contact the R.C.M.P. and the local police service to determine if their records have been purged.
Please contact our office at 250-753-9180 to arrange an appointment for a consultation to determine the impact of the Criminal Records Act in your own case, the appropriateness of a pardon application, and assistance in requesting that police purge their records.
The American Immigration and Nationality Act govern the impact of having a Canadian criminal record on travel, study, and employment in the United States. We would be happy to assist you in applying to the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service for a "waiver" to permit you to enter the United States notwithstanding your Canadian criminal record.
If you have any questions please contact Mr. Taylor directly by phone toll-free at 1-877-753-9180 at any time.