Consequences of a Criminal Record
A criminal record is a record of an individual’s criminal activity. A criminal record will always include criminal convictions registered against an individual and may also include other court records such as non-convictions (acquittals, discharges, withdrawn charges), and police records such as fingerprints, photographs or 911 calls.
Whether or not a non-conviction or police record will appear on a criminal record check will depend largely on the type of record check being conducted. The policies of the police department holding the information may also affect whether or not non-conviction information is disclosed in a record check.
If you’re concerned about whether or not your non-conviction or police record information will appear in a record check, you may attend your local police department and request they run their most comprehensive criminal record check. This will help to determine what will appear. It is possible to have non-conviction and police records destroyed.
Impacts of a Criminal Conviction
Having a Criminal Record can negatively impact various aspects of an individual’s life including employment, education, travel and immigration.
The employment consequences associated with being charged with a criminal offence can vary greatly depending on the seriousness of the allegations, whether or not a conviction results, and the type of employment position the individual holds. An employer can terminate an employee even if the charge did not result in a conviction or is outstanding.
In situations where the individual charged is a professional such as a doctor, account, pharmacists, physiotherapist or nurse, criminal charges may adversely impact the individual’s ability to practice their profession. In many cases regulatory bodies will become involved and impose sanctions of their own when one of their Members is criminally charged, especially where the charges are related to the individual’s profession. Prospective employers may also be reluctant to hire individuals with criminal records or a prior history. It is important to note that the Human Rights Code prohibits employers from discriminating against individuals on the basis of a criminal record where the individual has been granted a pardon.
Having a criminal record can also have serious educational impacts depending on the nature of the charges. For example, a student charged with a sexual assault contrary to a college or universities sexual violence policy may be expelled from their current institution.
A criminal record can also have negative impacts on an individual’s ability to travel outside of Canada. Many countries prohibit those who have been convicted of certain crimes from entering their borders. Specifically, the United States restricts entry to anyone who has been convicted of a crime of moral turpitude, which is very broadly defined.
The possible immigration consequences associated with being convicted of a criminal offence can be of the most serious. A permanent resident who is convicted of a serious crime may have their permanent resident status revoked and be deported. Even being charged with a minor offence can result in serious delays or even denials on a citizenship application.
It is important to get legal advice early to best protect your interests.