A criminal record can reveal more about you than convictions. Many people ask us, “What is the difference between a criminal record and a criminal conviction?”

A conviction results in a criminal record. Once you receive a conviction, you are expected to serve your sentence, which could include probation, fines or jail time. After this the waiting period to apply for a Record Suspension begins.

The waiting period for a Record Suspension is:

  • Summary: 5 years
  • Indictable: 10 years

Criminal record and discharges

However, there are two other types of non-convictions that may show up on your record:

Absolute Discharge: This will be removed from your record after one year.

Conditional Discharge: This will be removed from your record after three years.

If your discharge happened before 1992, you may need to make a written request to have it removed.

These three circumstances (conviction, absolute discharge and conditional discharge) will result in a criminal record. If you have a discharge, you cannot apply for a Record Suspension. However, the record will be removed much sooner.

Non-conviction charges and police contact

If you have had other police contact, your information may still be on the RCMP database. This could be the result of dismissed charges, withdrawn charges, incidents related to mental health issues, diversions to alternative remedies, or acquittals. This information could show up in a record check or get you blocked at the US border. You may not have a conviction, but the record of the charges still exists.

You can write to the RCMP to ask them to purge this file. They may not agree. Many civil liberties groups have expressed concern about this type of information, especially mental health information. Some police departments have responded to these concerns by agreeing not to release it. You can find out if your record is clear by getting a record check done at your local police station.

If you have a criminal record and need to get it sealed, contact us today for a free consultation at 1-866-972-7366.