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How to remove a theft offence

January 31, 2024
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Andrew Tanenbaum
Pardons Canada

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Removing a theft offense from a criminal record in Canada is a complex process that involves applying for a record suspension, previously known as a pardon. This article examines the legal framework and processes involved in removing a theft offense from a Canadian criminal record, including eligibility, application steps, and relevant considerations.

How to remove a theft offence

Understanding Record Suspensions

A record suspension in Canada allows individuals with a criminal record to have their record kept separate and apart from other criminal records. While it doesn’t erase the conviction, it effectively seals it from most standard criminal record checks, facilitating opportunities in employment, education, and various other aspects of life.

Eligibility for Record Suspension

Eligibility for a record suspension for a theft offense in Canada involves meeting several criteria:

  1. Completion of Sentence: Applicants must have completed all components of their sentence, including incarceration, probation, and the payment of fines or restitution.
  2. Waiting Period: A mandatory waiting period must be observed after the sentence’s completion:
    • Five years for summary conviction offenses, which are generally less serious and often include minor theft cases.
    • Ten years for indictable offenses, encompassing more severe theft charges.
  3. Good Conduct: Demonstrating that one has lived a crime-free life during the waiting period is essential.

Ineligibility Factors

Certain convictions, particularly those involving sexual offenses against minors, may disqualify an individual from obtaining a record suspension. However, theft offenses, unless particularly severe or accompanied by other serious charges, typically do not preclude eligibility.

Application Process for Record Suspension

  1. Criminal Record Acquisition: Obtain a copy of your criminal record from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) via fingerprint identification.
  2. Court Documents: Gather all relevant court documents related to your theft conviction, including proof of completion of all sentences.
  3. Police Records Check: Obtain a criminal record check from local police in every area where you have resided during the last five years.
  4. Application Form Completion: Fill out the application form provided by the Parole Board of Canada accurately.
  5. Application Fee: The fee for a record suspension application, as of 2023, is $644.88, subject to change.
  6. Submission of Application: Send the completed application along with all supporting documents and the application fee to the Parole Board of Canada.

Legal Considerations

  1. Nature of the Theft: The specifics of the theft offense can influence the application process. More severe cases might necessitate a more detailed explanation and proof of rehabilitation.
  2. Employment Implications: A record suspension can significantly aid in securing employment, although certain positions may still require disclosure of past convictions.
  3. Revocation and Cessation: A record suspension can be revoked or cease to be effective if the individual is convicted of a new crime, is found to no longer be of good conduct, or if the suspension was obtained through deceit.
  4. Travel Considerations: A record suspension does not assure entry into other countries, like the United States, which may access Canadian criminal records prior to the granting of the suspension.

Post-Record Suspension Scenario

Following a successful record suspension, the theft conviction will not appear in most criminal record checks, which can significantly ease limitations faced in various life aspects, particularly in employment and volunteering. However, the record is not erased and can still be accessed under specific circumstances, such as by law enforcement in criminal investigations.

Applying for a record suspension to remove a theft offense from a criminal record in Canada represents a legal path for individuals to reduce the long-term impact of past transgressions. The process requires a detailed application, adherence to legal criteria, and often proof of personal rehabilitation. While it doesn’t erase the conviction, it does offer a means for individuals to advance with fewer hurdles related to their past criminal record, reinforcing the principle of rehabilitation and reintegration into society.

You may consider using Pardons Canada (pardons.org) to assist in the pardon, file destruction and US waiver application process. Pardons Canada (pardons.org) has been helping Canadians for over 35 years and has an expert staff of over 25 employees at their head office to gather and prepare all of the necessary documentation for the application process.  You can speak to any counselor at 1877-929-6011 extension 1 and they would be happy to provide a free consultation on your specific case.

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