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Clearing a Criminal Record in Canada: A Complete Guide

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Clearing a Criminal Record in Canada

Around 3.8 Canadians are currently living with a criminal record – so if you’ve got one, you’re in good company! This is a record you receive when you are convicted of a crime. It records the details of your conviction and the penalties you faced (such as jail time, probation, or fines.) 

Federal, provincial, and municipal bodies all hold a copy of these records. However, anyone doing a background check on you can access information about them. This can make it very difficult for people with a criminal record to pass employment and travel checks.

Thankfully, it is possible to clear your criminal records in a few simple steps. Want to know more? Then you’ve come to the right place! 

Read on to find out everything you need to know about clearing a criminal record in Canada.

Benefits of Clearing a Criminal Record

In your day-to-day life, having a criminal record might not affect you that much.

Depending on your conviction, there may be certain limitations on places that you can go or where you can live. But your record won’t affect activities such as shopping for groceries, exercising, and seeing friends or family.

However, it can stand in the way of certain opportunities including: 

  • Applying for a new job
  • Volunteering 
  • Traveling outside of the country

These processes can involve getting a background check and your criminal record will show up on these, no matter how long ago it happened.

Some convictions can stand in the way of your opportunities more than others. For example, getting a visa to visit the United States with a criminal record for drug-related activity is extremely difficult. 

A potential employer may be willing to overlook a very old conviction but clearing your record means you don’t have to take this chance. You can resume life as normal without worrying that your past will catch up with you.

Different Ways of Clearing Criminal Records in Canada

There are two different ways that you can clear a criminal record in Canada: 

  1. Apply for a record suspension
  2. Apply to expunge your record

A record suspension is the simplest way to clear your record. This essentially seals parts of your record so they do not appear on employer or travel searches.

If you make a successful application, your criminal record will be held by the Minister of Public Safety. They are only allowed to share this information in very specific circumstances or if your suspension has been revoked. 

Expunging your record is more in-depth and essentially involves overturning your conviction. This can happen for several reasons including: 

  • If your conviction can now be viewed as a historic injustice
  • If your actions are no longer deemed to have been criminal
  • If your actions would not be criminal if you committed them today

Changes to the law or social justice movements can all help to support appeals for expungement.

Is Getting a Record Suspension Worth It?

Before you apply for a record suspension, it is important to consider whether or not you need a record suspension. There are certain criteria you must meet in order to be eligible for a record suspension. You must: 

  • Have been convicted under federal law rather than provincial law. For example, offenses under the Criminal Code and the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act are eligible for suspension. 
  • Have completed each area of your summary offense sentencing for a minimum of five years before applying or
  • Have completed each area of your indictable offense sentencing for a minimum of ten years before applying. 
  • Be able to cover the cost of your record suspension administration (more on this later.) 

In general, you cannot get a record suspension for convictions of sexual offenses against children. Having multiple convictions on your record can also make getting a suspension harder. If you have three serious convictions resulting in two or more years of jail time each, you will not be able to get a suspension.

You do not need to apply for a suspension if: 

  • You have a record for a youth offense
  • You have received a conditional or an absolute discharge

Think getting a record suspension is possible for your previous convictions? Then, let’s take a look at exactly how to get a record suspension in Canada.

Applying for Record Suspensions

There are several steps you need to take when applying for a record suspension. 

First, you need to visit your local police station to complete a Fingerprint Form. This involves getting your fingerprints taken and does come with a fee. When you do this, it is important that your Fingerprint Form notes that you wish to apply for a record suspension. 

Once you have completed this, you can post your Fingerprint Form to the Civil Fingerprint Screening Service in Ontario. You also need to enclose the fee of $25. You can provide this as a money order, as a bank draft, or as a cheque. 

Then you need to get your hands on a Record Suspension Guide from the Parole Board of Canada. This includes all the application forms that you need. You can: 

  • Download this from the Record Suspensions website
  • Request a copy via email (suspensions@pbc-clcc.gc.ca)
  • Request a copy by calling 1-800-874-2652 (toll-free) 

Once you have your guide, follow the step-by-step instructions. You will need to provide a lot of detailed information so pay attention to detail while you do this.

Waiting for a Decision 

Once you have submitted your application, you have to wait for a decision from the Parole Board. On average, this takes six months for summary convictions or twelve months for indictable convictions.

If you submit an incomplete application for a record suspension, the whole process will take longer.

When this happens, the Canada Parole Board will return your application to you and ask you to provide the missing information. You only have one opportunity to do this, so make sure that you go through everything thoroughly. 

To understand the ins and outs of this process better, let’s take a look at some frequently asked questions about how to clear a criminal record.

How Long Does it Take to Apply for a Record Suspension?

Applying for a record suspension involves a lot of paperwork and this means it usually takes between 12 and 24 months to complete. Applying for an expungement can take even longer. 

However, if you do neither, your criminal record lasts until your 125th birthday. So in the grand scheme of things, applying to clear it is much quicker!

How Much Does Applying for a Record Suspension Cost? 

Before you apply, it is important to be aware of all the costs involved. You will have to cover these yourself. 

The Canada Parole board charges a processing fee of $631 for each application it receives. This may be higher if they have to return your application to you for completion. You also have to cover: 

  • $25 for the Civil Fingerprint Screening Service
  • The cost of obtaining a Fingerprint Form 
  • Postage costs

If you hire a lawyer to help with your application this will obviously make the process more expensive. So making sure that you have enough money in the bank before applying is key.

Can You Apply Posthumously? 

It is possible to clear someone’s criminal record on their behalf after their death. This often happens if someone has been unlawfully convicted of a crime and friends or family want to clear their legacy. 

However, in order to clear a record posthumously, you have to get a record expungement. You cannot get a record suspension for someone who is dead.

This is mainly because a record suspension serves a practical purpose, in helping ex-convicts move on with their lives. A posthumous clearing is more symbolic and therefore requires a full expungement. 

In order to apply for a posthumous expungement, you will need to provide: 

  • Documentation confirming the death of the deceased 
  • Documentation supporting your relationship to them to show that you can apply on their behalf
  • In-depth information about their conviction history

A family member, friend, or legal representative can apply for a posthumous expungement on behalf of the deceased.

Does Anyone Keep a Record of Your Conviction Afterwards? 

If you make a successful application for a record suspension, your record will not immediately be destroyed. Instead, a federal agency will hold it. 

Only the Minister for Public Safety can disclose details of this record in very specific circumstances. For example, if the police arrest and charge you for a similar crime they may be able to access these records. However, this only happens if the Minister for Public Safety deems it relevant and important (which doesn’t happen often.) 

If the Parole Board revokes your suspension for any reason, the federal agency will no longer hold or seal your record.

If you successfully expunge your record then copies of it will be destroyed. No federal agencies will retain a copy of your records. When this happens, you can honestly tell people that you have never received a conviction for the crime in question.

Some provincial police forces or courts may retain a copy of your conviction as part of their own historic records. However, they will receive notification of the expungement. In many cases, they will then destroy their copy of your record although this is not a federal requirement.

What Happens If the Parole Board Denies Your Record Suspension Application?

In some cases, the Parole Board may deny your record suspension application. This is quite a rare occurrence if you have filled in all the information correctly. 

This can happen if you have recently been in trouble with the police, even if you have not received a criminal conviction. 

If the Parole Board denies your application, you can make an appeal for your case. This involves demonstrating to them that you have reformed your behavior. Often it is helpful to get a lawyer’s assistance when making an appeal to the Parole Board.

What Happens If You Cannot Remember the Details of Your Conviction? 

It is extremely important that you provide accurate information on your application. This usually includes providing information about: 

  • The date of your conviction 
  • The arresting police service
  • The court that convicted you
  • The exact details of your conviction and sentence 

Even unintentional errors in these can affect the success of your application. 

If you are struggling to recall these details, you can request a copy of your criminal record. This is should be stored at the National Repository of Criminal Records.

Do You Need to Get Legal Assistance to Clear a Criminal Record?

When applying to clear a criminal record some people do prefer to seek help from a record suspensions attorney, such as Freedom Law

This can be a helpful way of ensuring you fill in your record suspension application properly. An attorney can also help you access your records and file an appeal if you want to. However, it isn’t absolutely necessary to get legal support when applying for a record suspension 

It is a good idea to get help if you decide to apply for an expungement though. This is a more complicated process and requires detailed legal knowledge so it is a good idea to have an expert in your corner. 

Clear Your Record Today! 

As you can see, when it comes to clearing a criminal record in Canada you have a few options.

If you feel that your conviction is no longer in line with Canadian law, you may want to look at expungement. However, applying for a record suspension is a lot easier. This is a fix that ensures your criminal record won’t appear on travel or employment background searches.

For more help organizing all areas of your life, check out the rest of our ‘how to’ guides now. 

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5 Steps to Take After a Florida Accident

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5 Steps to Take After a Florida Accident

212,521 people were injured in an automobile accident in Florida in 2020.

Even if you drive safely, you can’t always account for the mistakes of other drivers. If you’re involved in a Florida accident, it’s crucial that you take the right steps to protect yourself and your rights.

Keep reading for 5 steps that you should always take if an accident does occur while driving in Florida – or anywhere!

1. Call 911

If you are involved in an accident with injuries and/or property damage, you should call the police.

The police might not respond if the accident takes place on private property, but it’s worth a try. A police report can help bolster your case for an insurance claim or lawsuit.

While waiting for the police to arrive, make sure that everyone is clear of the road for their own safety. 

2. Collect Information

Once it is safe to do so, be sure to collect information from the other parties involved in the accident and any witnesses.

You should get the name, phone number, address, and insurance information from the other drivers. Take photos of your vehicle and any other vehicles involved, being sure to get their make, model, and license plate information. Take a photo of their insurance card, including their carrier and policy number.

Get the names and contact information from any passengers or other witnesses. 

3. Get Checked Out

Anytime you are in an accident, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. This is especially true for auto accidents. Some of the most common injuries that result from car accidents don’t always show up right away.

You should get evaluated by a doctor who treats car accidents victims as soon as possible after being in a Florida accident.

4. Report the Accident

As soon as you are able, you should report the accident to your insurance company.

You should also use the contact information you collected to file an insurance claim with the insurance company of the at-fault driver. Your insurance company can help you get repairs done quickly if there is property damage to your vehicle. 

5. Contact an Attorney

If you were injured in the accident, you should contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. They specialize in these types of cases and can help you get the right medical treatment.

One of the most important aspects of proving your case is having the right documentation, so working with an attorney from the get-go will ensure your rights are protected. If you were in an accident, you’ll want more information about Florida accident attorneys. 

Were You in a Florida Accident?

If you were involved in a Florida accident that wasn’t your fault, you have rights and may be entitled to compensation.

If you haven’t been to the doctor yet – you need to get yourself checked out. You should also contact an attorney to learn more about your rights.

If the other driver stayed put at the scene, exchange vehicle and insurance details with them. List down the make, model, year, vehicle identification number, and license plate number. Ask for the complete name, address, date of birth, contact info, and license number of the other driver.

For more articles about your health, check out the rest of our blog. 

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What Are the Common Types of Divorce?

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Nearly 750,000 divorces were filled in 2019. Most people probably think there is only 1 type of divorce. But divorce is certainly not one size fits all. Over the years the divorce proceedings have changed a lot. 

Today spouses can file for divorce with no party at fault. This has created different types of divorce to cater to different circumstances. Read on for your divorce options. 

The Most Common Types Of Divorce

There are two divorce principles we need to understand, at-fault vs no-fault divorce and contested vs uncontested divorce. 

Previously, courts would only grant a divorce if one spouse could prove the other was “at fault” for the breakdown of the marriage. Usually through infidelity, abuse or neglect. No-fault divorce is where a spouse will file for divorce with no stated reason. 

An uncontested divorce is where both spouses agree to divorce without any litigation. Uncontested divorces can be as simple as both parties filing the necessary paperwork together. These are best for uncomplicated divorces.

Contested divorces occur when one party is seeking a divorce and the other is not. Contested divorces typically take months or even years to resolve.  Contested divorces can take place even if both parties agree to separate but are not in agreement on the conditions of the divorce. Such as child custody and support and division of property. 

You can have no-fault divorces that are either contested and uncontested, and at-fault divorces that are either uncontested or contested.

Most divorces can be settled out of court, and this is ideal for most divorces. Your circumstances will determine how you should proceed. 

Mediated Divorce

A mediated divorce is when a mediator is hired to work with the divorcing couple. In this case, neither spouse seeks individual legal counsel, and both work with the mediator. The mediator does not give legal advice or render an agreement but supports the couple in coming to a fair and agreed resolution. 

Collaborative Divorce

In this case, both spouses hire separate lawyers. Both spouses agree to disclose all information and settle the matter out of court. Both parties are guided by their lawyer. This is a good approach for complex divorces where parties are in agreement to separate but have issues that need resolution. 

This type of divorce allows for legal representation, such as https://ephraimlaw.com/military-divorce/, but aims to resolve the proceeding in private. If the divorce cannot be resolved then the matter must be taken to court and new lawyers must be found. 

Default Divorce

In circumstances wherein the spouse is unable to be located or has not responded to the divorce petition within a reasonable time, a default divorce can be sought. 

If this happens the spouse seeking the divorce will petition the judge to grant a divorce by default. 

Contested Divorce

If one spouse is not agreeing to the divorce or if spouses are significantly apart on the conditions of divorce then the divorce will be contested and must be settled by the courts. A judge will make a ruling on the conditions of the divorce. 

Getting Divorced

Getting divorced is not a fun process. To make sure you get the best outcome for you, your partner, and your children you need to know the types of divorce and make the best decision for your circumstances.

Found this article helpful? Browse the rest of this section for our latest. 

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How To Choose A Domestic Abuse Attorney?

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It is nothing short of a huge challenge to choose your lawyer to defend your case. The situation turns even worse when it comes to matters of domestic violence. It is essential to take a stand for yourself and hire a domestic abuse attorney who is worthy of fighting your case effectively.

Although domestic abuse seems like a minor issue, it is not that mere a case. It is capable of ruining your personal life as well as professional credibility.

What Is Domestic Abuse?

Domestic abuse is often referred to as domestic abuse or even intimate partner violence. It can also be done by a family member or a carer. Domestic abuse can be in any form, such as economic, physical, psychological, emotional, digital abuse, or even sexual. In the vast majority of cases, domestic violence is experienced by women.

Role Of An Attorney?

A domestic abuse attorney fights such cases involving forms of domestic violence when approached by a sufferer and works towards providing justice to the abused person. He must be well qualified as well as well experienced to handle complex cases.

Following are some points that discuss the necessary traits of a domestic abuse attorney:

Is Easily Available

Not only a domestic abuse attorney but any lawyer should also be accessed easily. He or she must be at your side at times of your need. Your future is threatened at the very moment the police show up at your doorstep regarding cases of domestic abuse. Arrests scare most defenders. The attorney must be at your side, providing you mental support alongside legal guidance. They must be able to clarify all your doubts and queries and help you with them.

Is Understanding In Nature

Empathy is an essential trait for all attorneys. False allegations of domestic violence are widespread today. Once there is a negative report filed against you, even your own family starts doubting your character and your innocence. In such situations, you need a lawyer who would not only listen to you but also stick with you through thick and thin. He fights for you and brings your life back on track.

Is Well Experienced

The process of attaining justice in cases of domestic abuse can be tedious and complex. In the legal world, experience does not have a substitute. A well experienced lawyer must be found. He must have a successful track record in winning domestic violence cases.

Communicates Openly

Transparent legal communication is the key to success, as we have heard multiple times. You should communicate clearly with your lawyer about everything you have done, be it right or wrong. They would not judge you. Instead, it would help them handle the case with more confidence.

Conclusion

Domestic abuse is a crime too severe. Relying on bail would not help at all. It is, therefore, necessary to appoint a capable lawyer with all the above-discussed qualities. He would help you get out of the mess legally, sticking by you throughout.

Author’s Bio

Shrey Jain is the Co-Founder of Writofy & a Chartered Accountant who works with a team of creative content writers. He holds a forte in creating informative content on niches like crypto, business, fintech, digital marketing, and several others. In addition, his willingness to learn and share his knowledge can immensely help readers get valuable insights on varied topics.

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7 Ways a Criminal Lawyer Can Help You

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When dealing with criminal cases, it is always recommended to find a lawyer to represent you in court. With professional help, you will be able to understand your charges better. You will also make more informed decisions. Besides, you will also avoid unnecessary punishment. In this article, we will talk about this issue. You will learn about why you need an experienced criminal lawyer.

1.      You Won’t Have To Look Up The Law

Gaining an understanding of how the law works, especially in criminal court, takes many years. If you find yourself in a case that requires an in-depth knowledge of criminal law, it is best to appoint an experienced criminal lawyer.

2.      They Reduce The Risks

You might fall into the trap of thinking that a criminal attorneymight charge too much. However, you must never think twice before investing in your protection. Arriving in court unrepresented might lead to huge risks such as being falsely charged and imprisoned with restrictions on your rights that can last a lifetime. These outcomes can cost you heavily. Hence, it is good to invest in your safety.

3.      They Will Guide You Through Interrogations

In a criminal case, you will likely have to face police interviews. In these circumstances, you might often be unsure of your rights. You are also confused about what to say and what not to say. Working with a criminal attorneywill make you aware and ready for these situations.

4.      They Will Draft Your Bail Application

You will not want to remain in custody for the entire length of your trial period. Hence, you will apply for bail. However, if the court rejects your bail application, you won’t be able to apply to the same court again. So, to get it right the first time, the experience of a criminal lawyer is invaluable.

5.      They Will Know How To Present Evidence

Criminal law involves a lot of rules, and such are the rules of evidence. There is a procedure for questioning a witness, and often unrepresented people are not aware of this. If you begin a line of questioning which is not proper, you will face interruptions and objections and will finally have to let go of this line of questioning. On the contrary, a good criminal lawyer will know how to present the right questions to the witness. They will also be able to argue if the objections to your line of questioning are improper.

Author’s Bio

Shrey Jain is the Co-Founder of Writofy & a Chartered Accountant who works with a team of creative content writers. He holds a forte in creating informative content on niches like crypto, business, fintech, digital marketing, and several others. In addition, his willingness to learn and share his knowledge can immensely help readers get valuable insights on varied topics.

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7 Benefits Of Hiring A Catastrophic Injury Lawyer

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Even if you are not the person who got a direct injury in an accident, but someone close to you has been fatal or injured, it’s always said to consult a catastrophic injury attorney.Most people become emotionally disoriented and unstable after being injured in a catastrophic accident. You could pay the medical amounts by receiving a good sum of compensation from the offending institution if your accident was a result of someone else’s deeds.

1.      Professionals Skills To Help You Overcome The Mental Distress

A catastrophic injury attorney will help you get the deserving settlement through their legal knowledge, experience, and skills. They will do all the legal paperwork on your behalf and fight for your justice as they are specialized in this domain.

2.      Medical Care At Times Of Stress

Personal Injury Lawyers can arrange the right treatments for you if they are informed early, which will only happen if you save them as emergency contacts. The pace of your recovery depends on what kind of treatment is being incorporated. You can completely concentrate on your health and recovery while they can file claims on your behalf.

3.      Better Negotiations And Settlement Claims

The insurance representative of the offending party will always try for a lower bargain, and they are clever enough to persuade the victim for the same. Here the catastrophic injury attorney plays a vital role in negotiating with the insurance companies for higher compensation.

4.      Easier Way Of Getting Legal Coverages

Legal evidence is significant to win any car accident case, and the offending party will always try to go for court proceedings. It will turn the odds against you if you do not have a well-established lawyer.

5.      Effective Decisions Come In Handy With A Lawyer

There are cases where the offender just does not wish to waste any money on court cases, accepts his faults, and is ready to compensate for your cause. But, a personal injury attorney will help you analyze whether the amount is enough or not and what are the various other options in your favor. They can help you make the right decision depending upon the case structure.

6.      Saves A Lot Of Time And Gets You Faster Results

First, you need to be fit and recover first to file a case by yourself. It takes a lot of time and becomes stressful when recovery should be your priority. Here is where an attorney can help you and do all of the legal work on your behalf.

7.      Most Important, Getting A Peaceful Sleep

Regularly following up a court case after you have been suffering from a physical injury with mental trauma can be more stressful and traumatic. Catastrophic injury lawyers can provide you a good night’s sleep as they would be taking care of all the legal work, compensation stuff, and negotiations on your behalf.

Conclusion

Accidents won’t inform you before happening as they are unpredictable and sudden. But, if you think that the accident was a result of someone else’s miscommunication and negligence, then without any delay, take legal action and file for compensation.

 Author’s Bio

Shrey Jain is the Co-Founder of Writofy & a Chartered Accountant who works with a team of creative content writers. He holds a forte in creating informative content on niches like crypto, business, fintech, digital marketing, and several others. In addition, his willingness to learn and share his knowledge can immensely help readers get valuable insights on varied topics.

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