Did you know that if you have ever been arrested or charged with a crime you have a police record?
Unlike a criminal conviction where you can apply to the Parole Board to have it removed after a certain amount of time has elapsed, to get rid of a non-conviction record you need to apply to local police to have your record purged.
This applies to situations where charges were withdrawn or stayed by the Crown, situations where you were found guilty but given a conditional or absolute discharge and even cases where you were found not guilty by a Court.
In all of these cases local police keep records concerning your arrest, the charges that were laid, your fingerprints and your photos.
There are waiting periods to remove some non-convictions from your record that range from one year for stayed charges and absolute discharges, to three years for a conditional discharge and can last as long as a peace bond is in place.
While the (Canadian Policing Information Record) CPIC is supposed to automatically purge absolute discharges, charges that have been stayed (after 12 months, and conditional discharges (after 3 years) this: (1) does not always happen, and (2) does not deal with the records in local courts and police stations.
A criminal record check will often show these non-convictions and they may be making it more difficult to get a job, find housing, travel, volunteer or obtain a professional license.
While these non-convictions may show that you were not convicted of a crime, they still tell a potential landlord or employer about your experience with law enforcement, and this may deter them from renting to or hiring you.
The only way to deal with these non-convictions is to apply to the Police Force that handled your charges and apply to have them purged. Typically, only the Police Force that created the non-conviction record can purge it and they can request any copies from the RCMP be returned so they can be destroyed.
This means you will need to contact any police force that was involved with your non-conviction and apply to have them purged. This process typically takes anywhere from 3-18 months. The police are also not necessarily obligated to purge your records if there is a compelling reason to keep them. If the Police have refused to purge your record you can usually appeal the decision though this is probably a good time to obtain legal counsel or professional purging services.
In order to apply to have record purged the best first step is to call your local police force and ask if they have an application form, if they do you can request one and submit it. If there is no formal process find out where to submit your application and write a formal letter detailing your request.
Your application will likely need to address:
- What lead to your interaction with the police?
- Were you charged? if not, why?
- If you were charged what happened to those charges? (Stayed, withdrawn, discharge)
- Was it a serious allegation?
- Was there any violence involved?
- When did the allegation take place?
- How old were you at the time?
- Have you been charged or convicted of any other crimes?
- How does this non-conviction record effect your life?
A police record is different than a “criminal record”. A criminal record only exists if you have been convicted of a crime.