How Long Do Police Keep Fingerprints On Record

Man being fingerprinted

“How long do police keep fingerprints on record?” is a question often raised in discussions about one of the most standard procedures that occur upon a person’s arrest: the collection of their fingerprints. This procedure is followed for record-keeping and in the case of convictions, it aids police to have the fingerprints on file. These records are typically kept in law enforcement databases, and the retention period can vary based on jurisdiction and local regulations.

In the event that you are acquitted, declared not guilty, or have completed your sentence, what happens to your fingerprints? Do your fingerprints still remain on file, and how can they affect your future?

Understanding Records and Convictions

Once your fingerprints are on file post an arrest, they remain on file with the police. They remain a permanent feature of your Criminal Record even if you’re acquitted and found not guilty. This is reflected during background checks to ensure no conviction was made against you. These fingerprints serve as a crucial identifier for law enforcement agencies, aiding in future investigations and linking individuals to potential past criminal activities. It’s important to note that while acquittal clears your name legally, the presence of your fingerprints in the records can still raise questions during background checks.

Understanding Who has a Copy of Your Fingerprints

When a person is arrested, the police collect fingerprints and a photograph for their records, which are subsequently forwarded to the RCMP and stored on the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) computers.

The data on CPIC is then made available to law enforcement authorities all across the world, including:

  • Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP)
  • Regional and Municipal Police Services
  • Canada customs
  • United States (USA) customs
  • United Kingdom (UK) customs
  • International Police Organization (Interpol)
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)

Your fingerprints and pictures are stored not just in the local police database, but also in the databases of all other law enforcement authorities.

Impact On Travel

It may be more difficult for you to travel or immigrate if the police have your fingerprints, pictures, and any criminal history on file. These Records may influence how you are treated by the police. Fingerprint Records are only available to those who have been associated with the police. If border guards, police officers, and others have fingerprint Records for you, they may act differently. Border guards have complete authority to search your car and may take longer to let you through. When you are stopped for minor traffic offences, the police may spend more time with you or conduct a lengthier investigation

Long-Term Impacts Of Criminal Records

Even if your fingerprints and pictures have been deleted, there are still methods for law enforcement to find out that you were fingerprinted in the past.

A Fingerprint Section (FPS) number is issued to you once you’ve been charged and fingerprinted. This number can be maintained for years in the RCMP database.

If a check of your Records reveals an FPS number, agencies such as US customs will be aware that you have been charged in the past, resulting in enhanced scrutiny, probable delays, and possibly a refusal of entry into the country.

Fingerprint Destruction

While your fingerprints may remain in a police database indefinitely, it does not have to be the case. Your fingerprints are just a matter of public record, whether you’ve been convicted or not, and it’s simply easier to maintain them in the system than it is to erase them all at once. That isn’t to say that fingerprint Records aren’t destroyed; it just means that it takes more work on the side of the police.

If you desire, you can take measures that require the police to erase the Recordings under specific conditions. If you were found not guilty, the charges were dropped, or you received an unconditional or conditional peace bond or discharge, you may be eligible to have your fingerprints erased or purged from police Records. You must, however, make an effort to achieve this; it is not an automatic process that occurs just because there is no conviction.

If you have served your sentence after a conviction, you are eligible for a Record suspension if you meet the specific criteria. For example, if you’re convicted of a sex crime or are a sex offender, your name might still appear in certain lists and background checks that fall under the “vulnerable sectors”. If your offence is not specified then through the right guidance, fingerprint destruction can take place leading to positive results and a substantial improvement in your lifestyle.

Getting A Criminal Pardon

As advocates and leaders in the Pardon and Waiver industry, Pardon Applications of Canada is intimately familiar with the criminal justice system.

If you call one of the experts at PAC, you’ll find out if you qualify for a Pardon and how long it will take to get one. PAC also assists with helping you remove your Criminal Record.

The team at PAC walks you through the procedure step by step to ensure that your prospects of winning a Criminal Pardon are as high as possible.

Applying for a Criminal Pardon on your own may be a confusing procedure filled with interminable paperwork, with little to no guidance from the Canadian Parole Board. PAC offers a one-on-one Criminal Pardoning Service.

PAC is relentlessly efficient and helps get your application started promptly and efficiently having worked in the criminal courts every day. You may rest easy knowing that your Pardon Application is being filed by a team of experts rather than an administrative assistant with little to no expertise in the criminal courts.

Get Help From Pardon Applications of Canada

Pardon Applications of Canada has years of expertise in the field of helping erase Criminal Records having assisted hundreds of people with their questions like “how do I get my fingerprints removed from the police database”. PAC believes in second chances and is there to help its clients get the new beginning they deserve and treats every application as if it’s their own. 

PAC helps apply to the different police services and the RCMP to have your Criminal Record and fingerprints cleared, allowing you to work, travel, and feel safe.

Do you still have any questions such as “How long do police keep fingerprints on record?”Schedule a call with Pardon Applications of Canada today to learn more.

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