A criminal record can hold you back on your aspirations, future goals or even basic employment. It is essential to understand the process in clearing your record as well as being aware of the various factors that will lead to an increased chance of a record being cleared. The first step to having your record cleared is to speak to a criminal defense lawyer to figure out your options.
In Kitchener and Waterloo, Ontario the method to erase a criminal record from criminal databases is done by obtaining a record suspension, which is primarily referred to as receiving a pardon. The typical application process length in applying for a pardon can range from 1-2 years, which means it is crucial to begin the application process as soon as you can. What must you be aware of before the application process and during this process?
Pardons are controlled by the Parole Board of Canada where they can grant, deny and even revoke a pardon if the criteria set out is not met. It should be noted that not all offenses are able to be pardoned. For example, a sexual charge involving a child or a sentence of over 2 years in prison for 3 or more consecutive times, you will be denied access to a pardon. Moreover, if a pardon has been received but an indicatable offense is committed then the previous pardon can be revoked.
Another important element to take into consideration is that a pardon does not imply complete elimination of your record, but rather the sealing of your record from the public; however legal organizations may still have access in viewing a pardoned offense. So how can a criminal defense lawyer help you in this process? The following factors represent the recommendations set forth by criminal defense lawyers in helping their clients receive a pardon. Firstly, do not speak to law enforcement without a criminal defense lawyer present.
It may be tempting to plead your case to police, however what you say can be used against you in court, which can reduce the chances of receiving a pardon later on. Secondly, choosing a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer will ensure you know where you stand in regards to receiving a pardon and other implications. For instance, upon receiving a charge it may seem that the only negative aspect is serving time in prison and or paying a fine, but the implications are deeper than this. Other possible implications can include loss of property such as your car or house based on drug charges, being fired by your employer, loss of a driving license and even a criminal stigma.
Hiring a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible will ensure you are aware of these implications beforehand and conduct proper actions to maximize the chances in receiving a pardon to negate these negative implications. Thirdly, a good criminal defense lawyer will utilize a system thinking approach where they evaluate more than just the charge against you and instead review your past criminal history (if any), economic needs, family and career issues and future goals.
This means that the criminal defense lawyer can offer key accounts to reinforce the pardon application to increase the chances of a successful record suspension. Ultimately, it comes down to choosing an effective and knowledgeable lawyer as soon as possible to increase the chances of obtaining a pardon, so you can live your life without a criminal charge limiting your aspirations and objectives.