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Criminal Pardons & Record Suspensions

By: Alberta Legal team

Frequently Asked Questions about Pardons & Record Suspensions

Q: I have a criminal record what can I do to have my record expunged or erased?

A:   You must apply for a record suspension (formally called a pardon) yourself or with a help of criminal lawyers in Calgary. Once you make the application there is a determination process to consider whether your application will be granted or not. Be warned there are time limits that must be complied with before you can make the application.

Q: What is a record suspension or pardon?

A:   A Pardon/Record suspension is a form of clemency and expunges a criminal record. If granted, a Pardon/Record suspension allows individuals who have been convicted of a crime but are now law-abiding citizens to have their record kept separate (essentially expunging it from your record) from active criminal records. Pardons/Record Suspensions are issued by the federal government of Canada under the supervision of the National Parole Board.

Q: What is the time limit that applies to me before I can apply for a Pardon/Record Suspension?

A: The mode of trial and the date of conviction impacts your application eligibility timing.

If you were convicted before June 29, 2010, the waiting period is:

  • 5 years for an offence prosecuted by indictment
  • 3 years for an offence prosecuted on summary conviction

If you were convicted between June 29, 2010 and March 12, 2012 the waiting period is:

  • 10 years for a serious personal injury offence (within the meaning of 752 of the Criminal Code); including manslaughter; an offence for which you were sentenced to a prison term of 2 years or more, and an offence referred to in Schedule 1that was prosecuted by indictment.
  • 5 years— any other offence prosecuted by indictment and an offence referred to in Schedule 1 that is punishable on summary conviction.
  • 3 years— an offence other than the ones mentioned above, that is punishable by summary conviction

If you were convicted on or after March 13, 2012, the waiting period is:

  • 10 years— an offence prosecuted by indictment.
  • 5 years— an offence that is punishable on summary conviction.

Note: If your mode of trial is not known, the longest waiting period will be applied to your file. Additionally, you are not eligible for a Pardon/Record suspension if your charge was a sexual conviction where the victim was a minor and/or if you have 4 or more indictable convictions, for which 2 years or more of jail time was served. Finally, judicial orders such as a firearms or driving prohibition are unaffected by a Pardon/ Record Suspension.

Q: How Long Does a Pardon/ Record Suspension Take in Canada?

A:   There is no set timeline but it typically takes about 12-24 months for a Pardon/Record Suspension application to be processed and granted. However, to properly prepare the Pardon/Record Suspension application, a lengthy list of documentation is required. Gathering the required supporting documentation will usually take many months as well.

Q: How do I Apply for a Pardon/Record Suspension in Canada?

A:   Follow the link below to apply directly to the Parole Board of Canada.

Q: What kind of Information do I have to Submit for a Pardon/ Record Suspension?

A:   The documents they need include a record of your convictions, a list of your past addresses for the past ten years as well as other information.

Q: Can I travel to US once I have a Record Suspension/ Pardon?

A: Once a Pardon/ Record Suspension has been granted by the Parole Board of Canada, your criminal record is removed from the Canadian Police Information Center. This means that customs and border officials as well as police officers can no longer access your record. In addition, your record is longer visible on APIS (Advance Passenger Information System). Therefore, you can arrive at US Airports without being pre-screened and without the need for a US Waiver entry form. It is advisable to obtain a new passport once the Pardon/Record Suspension has been granted because your old passport may have a link to the Identification and fingerprint section number embedded in your old passport.

Q: Is it true my old convictions are truly removed from all police systems?

A:   No. There are internal records that are kept by the original law enforcement where  you were arrested. These records will remain internally on this police system. However, these records are not available to any civilian or potential employer.

Q: Can your criminal lawyers in Calgary help me with the application process?

A:  No, we don’t process these applications but can make recommendations if you need this type of assistance.

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