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How to remove an assault offence

January 31, 2024
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Andrew Tanenbaum
Pardons Canada

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Removing an assault offense from a criminal record in Canada is a legally intricate process, primarily involving applying for a record suspension, formerly known as a pardon. This article delves into the legal aspects of removing an assault offense from one’s criminal record in Canada, outlining the process, eligibility criteria, and important considerations.

How to remove an assault offence

Understanding Record Suspensions

A record suspension allows individuals with a criminal record in Canada to have their record set aside. This does not erase the conviction but makes it inaccessible through standard criminal record checks, thus aiding in employment, education, and other areas where a criminal record may pose a barrier.

Eligibility for Record Suspension

The eligibility for a record suspension for an assault offense in Canada involves several criteria:

  1. Completion of Sentence: Applicants must have completed all aspects of their sentence, including jail time, probation, and payment of fines or restitution.
  2. Waiting Period: There is a mandatory waiting period after completing the sentence:
    • Five years for summary conviction offenses, which typically include less serious cases of assault.
    • Ten years for indictable offenses, which cover more serious assault charges.
  3. Good Conduct: Applicants must demonstrate they have lived a crime-free life during the waiting period.

Ineligibility Factors

Certain convictions, particularly those involving sexual offenses against minors, may render an individual ineligible for a record suspension. However, most assault convictions, unless extremely serious, do not automatically lead to ineligibility.

Application Process for Record Suspension

  1. Obtain a Criminal Record: Request a copy of your criminal record from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) using fingerprint identification.
  2. Court Information: Collect all relevant court documents related to your assault conviction, including proof that all fines and restitution have been paid.
  3. Local Police Records: Get a criminal record check from local police in all areas where you have lived during the last five years.
  4. Complete the Application Form: Accurately fill out the application form available from the Parole Board of Canada.
  5. Pay the Application Fee: As of 2023, the application fee is $644.88, subject to change.
  6. Submit the Application: Forward the completed application along with all supporting documents and the application fee to the Parole Board of Canada.

Legal Considerations

  1. Severity of the Assault: The nature and severity of the assault offense can impact the application. More severe cases might require a more detailed explanation and documentation of rehabilitation.
  2. Impact on Employment: While a record suspension can help in securing employment, some positions, especially those involving trust or vulnerable populations, may still require disclosure of past convictions.
  3. Revocation and Cessation: A record suspension can be revoked or cease to be in effect if the individual is convicted of a new crime, is found to be no longer of good conduct, or if the suspension was obtained through false or deceptive means.
  4. Travel Implications: A record suspension does not guarantee entry into other countries, such as the United States, which may have access to Canadian criminal records before the suspension was granted.

After the Record Suspension

Once a record suspension is granted, the assault conviction will not appear in most criminal record checks. This can significantly ease restrictions faced in various aspects of life, including employment and volunteering opportunities. However, the record is not erased and can still be accessed under certain circumstances, such as criminal investigations.
The process of removing an assault offense from a criminal record in Canada through a record suspension is a legal avenue that offers individuals a second chance by minimizing the impact of past mistakes. It involves a comprehensive application process, adherence to legal requirements, and often a demonstration of personal rehabilitation. While it doesn't erase the conviction, it does provide a means for individuals to move forward with fewer obstacles related to their past criminal record.

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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