What Are Non Conviction Records?
What Are Non Conviction Records?
One of the most common misconceptions we constantly hear, is that you have to have been arrested, charged, appeared before a judge and convicted in order to have a record. This in not the case when it comes to something like non conviction records.
This is NOT true! This blog explains what non conviction records are and how to get rid of them.
The fact is: if you have ever been arrested, or simply investigated by the police, with or without your knowledge, you have a record!
Sadly, not everyone takes this seriously and something like a non conviction record can come back to haunt them when they least expect it!
Not many people realize that there are many types of record other than true criminal record which are held by police agencies and reported on criminal record checks, particularly the infamous Four-Section RCMP check.
Likewise, criminal charges that proceed to the courts for prosecution may not result in a conviction, but still create troublesome records. Criminal charges may be withdrawn, or the proceedings may be stayed after consideration of the circumstances. These records will remain in the federal criminal record repository of the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC), under restricted distribution, and in local police files forever, unless you have them removed.
Investigative and Arrest Records
When police begin to investigate possible criminal activity, they begin by creating a local police file on local and regional systems such as PIRS, PRIME, OMPACC, PIMS, PROBE, IRIS and numerous other police information management systems.
Once your name is entered onto such a system, it remains there, and will often turn up on a locally conducted criminal record screening.
When Will Your Police Record Show Up?
First, it is important to understand that Police records are not necessarily recorded on the national or federal level. Mostly, police records are recorded at the local, or regional level (their individual databases), therefore they are not found on the federal criminal record repository CPIC (Canadian Police Information Centre).
What does this mean for me? If your current or potential employer requires a criminal record check done, there is one of three scenarios to consider:
Scenario 1. Your current or potential employer is a national company or organization, and will be using a third party to conduct the clearance. In this instance it is unlikely that the record will turn up, and your record will usually be safe.
Scenario 2. Your current or potential employer will conduct the employment record check internally and is a company or organization that is local to the police detachment where your arrest or police record is held. In this instance it is very likely that the arrest or police record will turn up in the search, and likely prevent you from landing the job.
Scenario 3. Your current or potential employer require that you obtain the police clearance and criminal record check on your own. Unfortunately, in this scenario, you are likely to be dealing with the RCMP in your area. Which means you will likely receive a four section RCMP check. Why is this important? The fourth section of this check reveals police information such as investigations, complaints and arrests. This fourth section usually contains “cryptic answers” such as: “there may or may not be information on file” leaving the interpretation of such a report to the employer.
At Express Pardons, we have seen this section of the RCMP four-section report, deliver “findings”, for reasons as petty as: “spraying a neighbor with a hose 15 years ago”. Unfortunately, in that instance the person lost out on a great employment opportunity because their employment background check yielded inconclusive results indicating that “there may or may not be information on file”!
Clearing your Police or Arrest Record
So, that’s the bad news. But rest easy, there is a solution!
If you are experiencing problematic record searches yielding results, what you need is a “Record Purge”.
As Canada’s premier legal service professionals specializing in pardons, Express Pardons can prepare a petition on your behalf to force the closure of trivial investigate notes and arrest records at your local police through their purge process.
How is this done? Express Pardons maintains files on police policy and procedure for all the major police jurisdictions throughout Canada, researching the policies of police for which a record is not kept.
Leveraging these policies along with Express Pardons inside knowledge of the process, and being able to quote precedent on handling sensitive records in other jurisdictions, a complete and persuasive petition can be prepared to give your case the best chances of being cleared.
Records of Withdrawn Charges, Stay of Proceedings, or Acquittals
What are “Records of withdrawn charges”, “Stay of proceedings”, or “Acquittals”?
Understanding how the police and courts store data and process data in the various databases can answer these questions:
1. When a case first sees the light of day with the Police, whether called in and reported, or as the result of a police investigation, the case is entered into their database. Think of it as a Customer Relationship Database that a company would use to manage contacts and relationships. All contacts, leads, referrals, persons of interest, etc, are listed in a police database to organize contacts in a case.
2. When the police believe they have a case against an individual and wish to proceed with charges, they forward the charges to the crown for prosecutions. Names pursued for charges are recorded in a higher level of police databases.
3. The courts now have unfettered access to CPIC and other police databases for the purposes of the court proceedings. As we all know, not every charge results in a conviction and a true criminal record. While The Crown is empowered to control a prosecution’s proceedings, including the ability to terminate it and the ability to select the manner of termination. There are a number of ways in which a prosecution may be terminated other than by proceeding to a verdict. The Crown has the discretion as to which avenue to choose, and may choose to:
- Withdraw a charge at any time prior to a plea by the accused, or with the leave of the court, after a plea has been entered;
- Enter a Stay of Proceedings; or
- Proceed with the trial but elect not to call any evidence or to stop calling further evidence, and ask the judge or jury to acquit.
4. Depending on the avenue that a Crown Prosecutor selects to terminate a prosecution, will determine the legal consequences of that option.
One of said consequences is the formation of a “non-conviction” record, in all cases. Even a verdict of acquittal creates a non-conviction record which can turn up in criminal record screenings.
When and Why Are Charges Withdrawn?
The Crown may choose to withdraw charges if it is determined that:
- reasonable and probable grounds did not exist to lay the charge;
- there is no reasonable likelihood of conviction;
- it is not in the public interest to continue the prosecution; or
- the charge laid was incorrect and the Crown intends to proceed on a different (even a more serious) charge.
When and Why Are Charges “Stayed”?
Generally speaking, a stay of proceedings could be equated to putting court proceedings on “Pause”. If The Crown decides it is appropriate that the case is being discontinued and the public interest requires that the Crown retain the right to potentially recommence those proceedings within one year, even though they rarely are.
The factors weighed in determining whether to enter a stay of proceedings include:
- the circumstances of the case and the reason for the inability of the Crown to proceed with the trial;
- the merits of the particular case (including the sufficiency of evidence and the likelihood of conviction);
- the relative importance of the case;
- the likelihood of recommencement
Clearing Your Records of Withdrawn Charges, Stay of Proceedings, or Acquittals
How do I clear a non-conviction record that cannot be pardoned? A process called a “Record Purge” is necessary to remove a non-conviction record, especially targeting the federal identification files.
Canada’s premier legal service professionals, Express Pardons can prepare a petition on your behalf to force the recall and destruction or your federal identification file and the originating local police record. The courts are then notified of the purge and subsequently seal their records in court archives.
Still not sure what you need? A consultation with one of our criminal record specialists is FREE, and PRIVATE!