For people that run afoul of the law, a violation doesn’t necessarily mean a severe impact on a person’s long-term prospects. Getting a speeding ticket, or receiving a fine for being on a cellphone in your car, for example, requires paying some money to the police, but unless you’re a repeat offender, that’s about the end of it.
On the other hand, there are criminal laws, which are much more severe violations. Criminal convictions go on your permanent record, and this record can be accessed by law enforcement agencies all over Canada and the world, as well as any citizen who is willing to pay the fee to access those records for a background check including any and all employers. But just how serious do criminal convictions get?
Serious & More Serious
Even within the realm of criminal violations that result in criminal records, there is a range of class and consequence. On one end of the spectrum, there are the harshest crimes, with the harshest sentences, such as murder. And on the other end, trespassing at night, can, if proven and convicted in a court of law, also count as a criminal act.
These degrees of severity break down into two categories. Summary offences are considered the less serious break with the law. But for the more serious violations, an indictable offence and conviction is what is sought in court.
The Full Extent Of The Law
For people familiar with American law through television, there’s the understanding that misdemeanors are relatively minor acts, while felonies are pursued vigorously for convictions in court. That same division occurs in Canada, though summary convictions are at the misdemeanor level, and indictable convictions would be considered felonies.
Indictable offences and convictions are for the very serious criminal acts, and often have no statute of limitations. Someone accused of shoplifting has committed a relatively minor crime, and if no one presses charges within six months, there won’t be an arrest. On the other hand, even if someone committed murder decades ago, once the truth has come to light, an arrest can be made, and it can still be tried in court.
Indictable offences are executed the way you would expect. While these cases are normally adjudicated in provincial court, the most serious cases can be elevated all the way to the Supreme Court to be resolved. This is also where juries are usually required so that a defendant can be judged by a group of his or her peers. That defendant is also expected to be in court and present for his or her own trial. In the end, fines, probation, house arrest or a jail sentence are handed down, but the longest lasting result of an indictable conviction may not be the jail sentence, so much as the criminal record that follows the person for all time afterward.
We Can Help Make A Clean Break
While a criminal record can have a severe impact on employent and even travel aspects, it doesn’t have to. Provided that a debt to society has been completely repaid and that no further offences have occurred, it’s possible, after a set amount of time has passed, to get a record suspension or pardon. Once known as “pardons,” record suspensions seal your criminal record from the general public, employers, and even organizations like the Customs & Border Patrol of the United States. If you’re interested in getting a record suspension, we specialize in helping people to successfully apply and receive them. Contact us for more details.