In life, you will always be given a second chance. In Canada, this applies even to criminals who have paid their debt to society. No one wants to have a criminal record for the rest of their lives, especially those who went to jail after being convicted of a crime. Luckily, in Canada ex-convicts can apply for pardon so they can rebuild their lives with a clean slate. That said, the process of applying for a pardon is long. If you are a Canadian with a criminal record who is hoping to be pardoned, here’s some advice on how to go about applying for it.
The Standard Process
When you apply for a pardon, you have to submit yourself to a lengthy legal process. The process basically involves determining your eligibility based on your offence, plus the waiting period. You will need to submit certain documents, like nationwide RCMP fingerprints, proof of conviction, court information, and local police records. You will also need to fill out a record suspension application form. Once you submit all of those documents to the government of Canada, the waiting period begins. If your application is successful, you will be granted a pardon. As such, you will finally be free from the limitations of having a criminal record. You will have more opportunities, especially when it comes to employment, travel, and education.
The pardon application process is quite complicated and tedious. For your reference, the two factors that determine your eligibility are:
- Waiting Period – The waiting period itself varies. For instance, a summary or minor offence such as a parole violation has a waiting period of five years. Meanwhile, an indictable offence such as assault has a waiting period of ten years. However, it’s best to check with the Pardon Applications of Canada if you have questions about the waiting period for different offences.
- Your Offense – There are stringent rules now when it comes to pardoning people who were convicted of certain offences. It is worthy to note that those offences involving sexual assault, such as Schedule 1 offences against a minor are not qualified for a pardon. You are also ineligible for pardon if you have three offences with a sentence of more than two years. Other than these, the other types of offences may be eligible for a pardon.
Once your eligibility has been determined, the next step is to acquire the documents you need to submit as part of your application for a pardon. Please be advised, however, that the documents required vary depending on the nature of your crime and your living situation. For your reference, here are the documents required for all cases:
- Nationwide RCMP Fingerprints – These need to be completed through LIVEScan and handed to the Civil Fingerprint Screening Service in Ottawa (RCMP) for the results.
- Proof of Convictions – Your convictions should be present on your criminal record.
- Court Information – This can be obtained from the court or courts that handled your case.
- Local Police Records – You also need to acquire local police records for the town you are living in.
- Record Suspension Application Form – Finally, you have to fill out this application form accurately.
After completing all the aforementioned documents, you can now go ahead and submit your application to the government of Canada. The government will then review all your paperwork and records. Hopefully, your request for a pardon will be granted, and you will be given a new lease on life.
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