Being arrested can be one of the most stressful situations a person can go through. Not only is it embarrassing, but it can lead to a range of consequences at work, and in your personal life. Of course, not every arrest ends in a conviction. Sometimes, the initial charges are dropped, and there is no conviction. This is obviously a relief for anyone that has been arrested, but dropped charges aren’t always the end of the story. Keep reading to learn more.
What are “Dropped Charges”?
When you have been arrested, and the charges were eventually dropped, it means that there was a legal court decision other than guilty. A court decision other than guilty can include an acquittal, dismissal, stay of proceedings or withdrawal of the charges. This occurs after the arrest, and any fingerprinting or photos, if they were taken.
A Record Suspension is Not Necessary
On the positive side, if your charges were dropped in any of the ways mentioned above, you won’t need to apply for a Record Suspension. Record Suspensions were formerly known as Pardons, and they remove your record from public view. That means, if you apply for a job, want to volunteer or are looking to travel, your conviction won’t show up when a search is conducted. People typically seek out a Record Suspension for a fresh start after being convicted of a crime.
How You Could Be Surprised
Even though you won’t need a record suspension to eradicate your dropped charges, they might still come back to haunt you if you do nothing at all. Dropped charges don’t automatically mean disappearing charges. They will still be part of the Canadian Police Information Centre database despite the lack of a conviction.
A record of your charge, plus any fingerprints or photos that were taken will be kept on record, and may cause you trouble in the future. Even though you weren’t convicted and don’t technically have a criminal record, those dropped charges could interfere with getting a new job or traveling to another country.
Imagine being denied access to the US at the border, or not getting a second interview for a big job because of something you thought was over and done with. Not only would you be confused in the moment, but also your shock might quickly turn to anger as you realize you were never informed that this scenario could actually happen.
Destroying the Files Is Key
When you’ve been charged but not convicted, a File Destruction is what will erase any record of your legal troubles from coming back to bite you. If you’ve been told a Pardon or Record Suspension is unnecessary, don’t allow this information to act as false hope. With a File Destruction, your fingerprints, photos and any other information regarding your arrest are destroyed. The police service in question must be contacted with a request that your file is destroyed, but that request can be denied.
If you want the best possible chance of having your file destroyed and putting the matter to rest entirely, then enlisting the help of a professional service like Pardons Canada is a wise decision. When you have a professional team working on your behalf, the likelihood of having a favorable result is much greater than if you tackle the problem yourself.
Other Variables to Consider
In some cases, there is no need for a Record Suspension or a File Destruction. If there was simply a police incident report created but no one was charged or fingerprinted, the information won’t show up when searched.
It’s no secret that the process can get very confusing, and if you’re unsure, take action and give us a call at Pardons Canada today. We have many years of experience and will help guide you to the solution that makes the most sense for you.