What effect will a discharge have on my criminal record?

>>>What effect will a discharge have on my criminal record?

A discharge is not a criminal conviction in Canada. Rather, it is a sentencing measure that will allow an offender to avoid a criminal record after you have been found guilty of a criminal offence. However, it does not mean that it will not show up on your record at all. After being granted a conditional discharge, it will show up on criminal record checks for a period of three years. If you have been granted an absolute discharge it can show up on your record for a period of one year. However, note that after the three years or the one year has elapsed (depending on the discharge that you received), the fact that you were charged and discharged from an offence can still appear on some enhanced record checks. In order to eliminate all record of your charges and discharges, you will have to obtain a criminal pardon.

The Effect Of A Discharge On Your Ability To Travel To The United States

While a discharge is not a criminal conviction, it is still a finding of guilt that may impact your ability to travel depending on the nature of the offence that you commit and the type of discharge that you received. Specifically, you may not have trouble traveling to the United States if you have received a conditional discharge of a fairly minor offence like mischief, simple assault, or impaired driving. However, if you have received a conditional discharge for excludable offences like crimes of moral turpitude or drug offences, you may not be able to enter the United States without a Waiver of Inadmissibility. Crimes of moral turpitude that will render you inadmissible include offences like assault with a weapon, theft, fraud, burglary and prostitution.

A Waiver of Inadmissibility is an application that can be made before travelling to the United States if you have been convicted of or discharged from an excludable offence. If your application is successful, you will be granted temporary admission to the United States notwithstanding your criminal record or record of a discharge. However, note that there is a fee associated with this application, and the time to make and process the application can be quite lengthy. If you need to travel to the United States and have a conditional discharge, contact our office and we can help you determine whether you will need a Waiver of Inadmissibility and help you apply for the waiver if needed.

However, unlike a conditional discharge an absolute discharge is not viewed as a conviction in the United States. As such, if you have been absolutely discharged from your offences, your ability to travel to the United States may not be impeded.

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Disclaimer: All results of cases handled by the lawyer/firm are not provided. The results provided are not necessarily representative of results obtained by the lawyer/firm or of the experience of all clients or others with the lawyer/firm. Every case is different, and each client’s case must be evaluated and handled on its own merits.

All our 30-60 minute free consultations are conducted with one of our Criminal Defence Lawyers and include the following steps:

  1. Gathering of some personal information about you, such as your level of education, occupation, and citizenship status. This information can be crucial for building your defence and seeking a resolution with the Crown Prosecutor;
  2. Careful review of all documents you received from the police. We will explain what each document is, and what you can expect from and need to do for all upcoming appearances;
  3. Critical review of your recollection of events, and any supporting materials you choose to bring with you. This step helps us identify possible defences and avenues for further investigation; and
  4. Discussion of the court process, our fee structure, and what we can do to help.

Beyond these steps, we would be happy to tell you more about us, and answer any questions you may have. If you chose to retain us to help you, we will immediately provide an overview of what steps we plan to take next, and suggestions as to what you should do to improve your chances of a successful outcome.

For the free initial consultation to be as productive as possible, you should bring (or email in advance) the following materials:

  • A written statement (preferably typed) outlining your version of events;
  • All documents that you have been given by the court or by the police;
  • Any disclosure you have received;
  • Photo ID; and
  • Any supporting documents, such as photographs, emails, texts, phone records, medical records, receipts, etc.

Ideally, you will have prepared a copy of these materials for us to keep, but if not, we can always photocopy them during the consultation.

We offer flexible payment options and structures designed to meet our clients’ individual needs. Our lawyers accept all major credit cards, bank drafts, money orders, email money transfers (e-transfers) and, of course, cash.

If you decide to retain us after the free initial consultation, all we need is a retainer (down payment) to get started. The rest of the fee payments for the case can be spaced out over time. We can set you up on a monthly or bi-monthly payment plan, and process payments over the telephone or by email to make it easy for you.

The cost of a criminal defence lawyer will depend on several factors, including:

  1. how complex your case is,
  2. how serious the charges are, and
  3. how experienced the Criminal Defence lawyer is.

The fees of a competent Criminal Defence Lawyer will typically range into the thousands of dollars. The good news is that only a fraction of that amount is due initially. We offer flexible payment schedules so thefees can be paid in monthly installments.

Additionally, we offer flat rate fees, with no hidden costs. It is our standard practice to review all the costs during the free initial consultation. This means you will know exactly what our services cost at the outset and can make an informed decision about how to proceed.