If you are facing a criminal record there are a number things you need to know. First, the potential consequences of having a criminal record can be far reaching. Second, there are ways to avoid getting a criminal record in some cases. And, third, what you can do if you have a criminal record.
A criminal conviction can have far reaching negative consequences. Being convicted of the smallest crime has the potential of resulting in a permanent criminal record which can impact one’s employment, education, travel, immigration consequences, eligibility for insurance and much more. The impact on each of these areas will depend on the circumstances of each case.
In some cases, criminal charges, let alone a criminal record, can have an impact on professions that are licensed. For example, criminal charges can have an impact on students who are pursuing a licensed career, or on professionals who want to work abroad and need a visa to do so. The significant consequences of a criminal charge is precisely why you should contact an experienced criminal defence lawyer.
The law office of Deniz Sarikaya has represented clients from all types of backgrounds including professionals licensed to practice in professions where they could lose their license if convicted.
Steering clear of a criminal record
Avoiding a conviction is often necessary to make sure that you can continue to work or travel. The optimal result in a criminal case will depend on the consequences that it may have on your life as a whole including your employment, immigration, and education.
Obviously, you can avoid a criminal record and its consequences by having the charge withdrawn or dismissed after trial. These are always the best outcomes. But even when you cannot get a withdrawal or dismissal, you may be able to avoid a criminal record.
In some cases there may be a finding of guilt without registering a conviction. This is called a discharge. The main benefit of a discharge is that it avoids the imposition of a criminal conviction and a criminal record. In general, a discharge is appropriate in less serious cases where the person is of good character and does not have a previous criminal record. A discharge may also be particularly appropriate where the person will suffer disproportionately from having a criminal record.
There are two types of discharges: absolute and conditional. An absolute dicharge has no conditions. By contrast, a conditional discharge comes with a term of probation. While a discharge is not a criminal record, there is a record kept of it. According to the Criminal Records Act all reference to an absolute discharge is removed automatically after one year; and, all reference to a conditional discharge is removed after three years. However, it is important to keep in mind that even when getting a discharge there may still be potential consequences for employment, immigration and travel.
What to do if you have a criminal record
If you already have a criminal record you may want to consider getting a record suspension which was formerly known as a pardon. A record suspension removes the entry from the criminal record database. Obviously this has great benefits for employment opportunities, education, and travel. In order to qualify for a record suspension you must have completed the sentence and waited five years for a summary conviction offence, or ten years for an indictable offence. You can apply for a background check to see if you have a criminal record, and, if so, apply to the Parole Board of Canada for a record suspension.
You may be wondering whether it is necessary to get a criminal defence lawyer to assist you with your record suspension application. While it is possible to complete the process on your own, a criminal lawyer can ensure that the application is strong and error free which maximizes the chances of getting a favourable outcome. Lawyers are experts at picking apart arguments and showing flaws in a persons reasoning and explanation.
Criminal charges and a criminal record can limit your options in life. There are ways to avoid getting a criminal record and you should canvass these options before making any decision in a criminal case. If you have a criminal record, a record suspension may be the best way to minimize the impact of a criminal record.
Are you worried about the consequences of a criminal record? The law office of Deniz Sarikaya can help. To know your options call 647-282-5777 and set up your free consultation.