Can I Apply for a Record Suspension (Pardon) in British Columbia?

by | Jan 18, 2019 | Theft, Fraud & Other Offences

If you have served your sentence for a criminal offence, you might be able to get a record suspenRecord Suspensionsion – previously known as a pardon. However, you will have to wait a certain amount of time before you become eligible to apply. This depends on the nature of your offence and the date it was committed.

Lots of people do not realise that they are in fact eligible to apply for a record suspension BC. To find out for certain, please contact us at Mickelson & Whysall to speak to a Vancouver criminal lawyer.


Record Suspension BC

Contrary to popular belief, a record suspension does not erase your criminal record entirely. But it does mean that your criminal record will be kept separate and apart from other criminal records.

In practical terms, this means that if someone performs a background check on you, your criminal offence will not show up. This will make your life easier in so many ways, especially when it comes to everyday things such as getting a job, renting a property, getting bonded and securing Canadian citizenship or permanent residency.


Who can get a Record Suspension in British Columbia?

To get a record suspension, you must first have served your sentence, be it a fine, a prison sentence, a conditional sentence or otherwise. You must then wait a certain amount of time until you become eligible to apply. If you are convicted under the current law, you must wait:

  • Five years after completing your sentence if you were convicted of a summary offence
  • 10 years after completing your sentence if you were convicted of an indictable offence

As a general rule of thumb, summary offences are less serious than indictable offences. It can be confusing to know which one you were convicted of, particularly as many are actually hybrid offences, meaning they can be either. If you are not sure, a Vancouver criminal lawyer can clarify this for you.

It is worth noting that some people can never apply for a record suspension. This is true of anyone who has been convicted of a sexual offence involving a minor. It also applies to anyone who has been convicted of three indictable offences, each with a prison sentence of two years or more.


Record Suspension BC and Legal Changes

Before the Conservative Party was elected in 2012, record suspensions were called pardons. Those who had been convicted of a summary offence had to wait three years before applying. For indictable offences, it was five years.

When the law was amended, it was originally intended to apply to all offenders, even those who had been convicted prior to 2012. However, this changed after a man called Ricky Chu pursued a case in the BC Supreme Court.

In brief, Chu completed his sentence in 2009 and was looking forward to applying for a pardon (as it was then) in 2014. He was then told that because the new laws applied to him, he would have to wait until 2019 instead. He argued that this was a breach of his Charter Rights, and the Supreme Court judge agreed.

Now, only those convicted after March 13 2012 are subject to the new laws.


How Vancouver Criminal Lawyer can help

Therefore what you might not realise is that your eligibility to apply for a record suspension depends on whether you committed a summary offence or an indictable offence, and also when the offence was committed.

We speak to many people who are eligible to apply for a record suspension, yet they are completely unaware of this, instead believing that they must wait either five or 10 years before applying. But remember, if you were convicted before the legislation was changed, you will be subject to the old laws, not the new.

The best way to find out if you are eligible to apply for a record suspension BC is to contact a Vancouver criminal lawyer. Mickelson & Whysall has the experience and knowledge to assist you in obtaining a Record Suspension (Pardon). We will guide you every step of the process to ensure that your application is done properly and as expediently as possible.

Call a Vancouver Criminal Lawyer at 604-688-8588 now!



Get answers to Frequently Asked Questions about Record Suspensions »

Read our Recent Criminal Case Successes »