Generally speaking, when it comes to withdrawn, dismissed, stayed, or acquitted charges you do not need to apply for a Canadian pardon if the charges did not result in a final conviction. In other words, they do not count as criminal offences on your record.
However, it is important to note that finger prints or any information at the time of the arrest will still be visible on your record unless a request is made with the RCMP to have the file destroyed (purged). In some cases, the police may want to keep your information on file depending on various conditions or the severity of the case.
Compelling Reasons to Deny the Request for a Purge
The RCMP’s Records Suspension and Purge Services could deny an application to destroy a non-conviction record based on one or more of the following conditions:
- Applicant was not considered an adult in relation to the charge by the Youth Criminal Justice Act
- Applicant has a criminal conviction on file within the National Repository
- Applicant has an outstanding criminal charge
- The Appeal period has expired for a non-conviction record (for an Acquittal or a Dismissal)
- If the non-conviction was relating to a peace bond, the applicant has to wait a year (if they applied sooner, it will be denied)
In addition to these points, a non-conviction record will be kept on file for a minimum of five years from the date of the court’s decision if the charge is related to any of the following crimes:
- Terrorist activity
- First and second-degree murder
- Sexual offences
- Aggravated Assault
- High treason or treason
If an individual was found to have a mental disorder and was in fact not criminally responsible their record will also be retained for a minimum of five years.
Crossing the US Border
When it comes to crossing the border from Canada into the U.S, there are steps that need to be taken to ensure a hassle-free entry, particularly regarding criminal records (even if they are non-conviction records). U.S border crossing will be able to see any withdrawn, dismissed or acquitted charges when they scan a passport into their systems. If you did not request to have your fingerprints and other information purged, this could cause problems at the border. The US border control officers have the right to ask you questions, to search you and your vehicle and to decide whether to let you through based on what they see. If you have been stopped before for this reason, every time you wish to cross the border you must fill out a US entry waiver before entry.
It is the responsibility of the non-convicted individual to have their record destroyed within a five-year period to avoid missing any deadlines. In addition to this, an application should be supported by additional information such as police services records, court documents, or Crown proceedings in order to have a complete application for the RCMP.