Resolutions to avoid a criminal record
Although conventional options for a person charged with an offence are to plead either guilty or not guilty, there are several other options you should be aware of. Quite often the lowest forms of offences, such as mischief, theft, fraud, possession of stolen property, assault, drug possession, etc, can be diverted out of the criminal justice system. Even more serious charges, such as criminal harassment, indecent exposure, assault police officer, etc, can sometimes be diverted in the right circumstances. The diversion projects are meant to give individuals with no criminal record a second chance at maintaining an otherwise clean record while promoting a sense of responsibility and accountability. The discretion to divert a charge out of the criminal system lies solely with the Crown Prosecutor. In Calgary and Edmonton, there is even specialized unit of prosecutors called the Early Case Resolution (ECR) unit dedicated to reviewing cases for resolution.
For every criminal charge there is a prosecutor, and thus a chance at convincing him or her to resolve the case with no criminal record. The importance of this process cannot be overstated. You may be surprised to know that of the thousands of successful cases our lawyers have handled, most successful results are achieved not through a hard fought trial, but rather behind the scenes in skillful negotiation with Crown Prosecutors. Moreover, in our experience, successful results are often achieved never arguing the law at all, but rather appealing to reason, pragmatism, and compassion of the Prosecutor on the case. Through decades of collective experience we have come to know virtually all the prosecutors we might come in contact with, and what may be important from the prospective of the prosecution. In each and every case we carefully assess the prosecutor and the facts at hand, and custom tailor our presentation accordingly.
The following are the most common types of resolution options that result in no criminal record:
- Adult Provincial Alternative Measures Program
- Adult Federal Alternative Measures Program
- Youth Extra Judicial Sanctions
- Mental Health Diversion
- Peace Bond (s. 810 or common law)
Each set of facts and every person charged with an offence is a little different from the rest, so it is important to obtain a legal opinion to determine if your particular circumstances fit the criteria for diversion out of the criminal justice system Please read on below for a more thorough description of the various resolution options available.