Pardon Services

Criminal Record Check: Non-Conviction Charges May Appear

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The information disclosed on a Criminal Record Check may not always be the same depending on the type of Record Check you are having completed. Recently we have seen an example of this confusing situation. A bi-yearly work-related criminal record check for a Winnipeg resident that has always came back “clean” for over a decade, recently came back showing old charges that had been stayed. The net result was they were fired from their job. The amount or extent of information that appears on your ‘criminal record’ will depend on the type of Record Check that is being completed, and as time moves forward, job applicants are being required to complete more Record Checks and Security Clearances than ever before.

Stayed charges need to be removed to avoid costly and embarrassing future problems with employment or travel.

How Can a Criminal Record Certificate Change?

Manitoba police agencies have no statutory framework to use as guidelines on how charges that result in a non-conviction are to be disclosed. A recent CBC article about a judicial review of the process highlighted the lack of fairness. The article describes how a Winnipeg man lost his job due to changes in reporting seen on his Winnipeg Police Services criminal record check.

Innocent until proven guilty sounds good but in practice people view stayed and withdrawn charges with suspicion.

What to Do About Non-Conviction Charges

In theory there are time limits on the automatic removal of conditional discharges and absolute discharges of 3 years and 1 year. For most other types of non-conviction charges, you can apply for a file destruction with the applicable police agency.

Criminal charges and police records often present unique situations. That is why we offer a free private consultation by phone or in person to assess your case. Simply call us at 204-453-0099.


Canadian Legal Terms

Stayed Charges: a criminal charge that has been stayed is effectively placed on hold and prosecution is discontinued. The charges that are stayed can be revived and prosecuted within one year of the stay of proceedings. Typically, this can happen if new charges are laid.

Withdrawn Charges: when a criminal charge has been withdrawn it means prosecution has ended permanently. The same charges can never be brought back.

Acquittal: A finding of not guilty at a criminal trial. It should be noted that the Crown can appeal an acquittal.

Please feel free to call us for answers to your questions about criminal record checks 204-453-0099.