With a criminal conviction, most people understand that in addition to having to serve a jail sentence, and even pay additional fines, a criminal record will now exist. This means that anyone that conducts a background check can now see the details of a criminal record, including what the crime was.
So what happens if a person was arrested, but not convicted? What if, due to extenuating circumstances during a police investigation, the case is withdrawn, or the court decides to dismiss it, or it the trial results in a not guilty verdict with an acquittal? If there’s no criminal conviction, does that mean you have a clean record?
The answer, actually, is “no.” And here’s why.
All Details Remain
A criminal record is the final result of being charged, arrested, processed, and having a trial in court. At every step of the way, right from the moment of arrest, there is documentation and other administrative tasks that need to be carried out. A person charged with a criminal violation will have fingerprints taken. Then there is the pressing of charges, and a hearing to set a court date, as well as the actual trial itself.
None of these activities occur in a vacuum, and all of them require large amounts of record-taking and bureaucracy. This is all largely remains “in the system,” up to, and including, the trial itself. So it’s not just a final guilty verdict for a crime that is preserved in a criminal record, it is quite a few of the major steps leading up to it.
The File Destruction Option
What this means for most people is that you can’t assume that just because a judge dismissed your case, or you got a verdict of not guilty and were acquitted, this means your record is clean. In fact, when a criminal background check is conducted on you, people can still see that you were arrested, fingerprinted, and even charged with a crime. They’ll just also see that no guilty verdict was handed out.
For some, this may not be of particular importance. For others, however, who may still encounter situations—such as job applications—where consenting to a background check is required, this could still be an issue. After all, while it’s true that there may not be an actual criminal conviction, the presence of an arrest and seeing what charges led to the arrest may still factor into the decision making process.
Fortunately, a process known as a “file destruction” can get rid of these last vestiges of an unfortunate run-in with the police and the courts. It requires a short waiting period after a case has been resolved, and you’ll need to solicit approval, documentation, and cooperation from the arresting police station and other government agencies.
We Ensure A Smooth Process
At Pardons Canada, we know how to help you to make sure that a file destruction goes quickly and smoothly. Pardons Canada specializes in helping Canadians to clear their record of everything from charges and an arrest to a criminal conviction. If you have a dismissed case you’d like cleared from your permanent record, come to us. We know what you need to do, and who you need to talk to get the fastest results.