Do You Need a Criminal Defence Lawyer to Expunge Your Criminal Record?

Written by Jerry Steele

Criminal Defence

Do You Need a Criminal Defence Lawyer to Expunge Your Criminal Record?

Written by Jerry Steele

Criminal Defence
Get in Touch

Get into Touch

For more than 20 years, Steele Law has successfully guided individuals and business entities through the unique challenges posed by criminal and regulatory investigations, as well as prosecutions in state and federal courts nationwide.
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

If you have a criminal record and plan to immigrate to or stay in Canada, you may wonder if you need a criminal lawyer to expunge your record. Technically, according to the Canadian government, “No. You can apply directly to the PBC (Parole Board of Canada) for an expungement.” However, this does not mean a BC criminal defence lawyer cannot help you through the process and increase your chances of success.

Understanding Expungement in Canada

To begin exploring the topic, let’s talk about precisely what expungement means and how it differs from having your criminal record cleared.

Again, we turn to the Government of Canada. They explain: 

“To expunge something is to permanently destroy it or remove it.

This legislation allows for the destruction or permanent removal of judicial records of historically unjust convictions that would be lawful today from federal databases.

Certain convictions under the Criminal Code and those under the National Defence Act, are eligible for expungement.

Persons convicted of offence(s) listed in the Schedule to the Expungement Act are eligible to submit an application to the PBC to have the record(s) of their conviction(s) expunged. 

When an expungement is ordered, the person convicted of the offence is deemed to never have been convicted of that offence.”

What is the Difference Between Expungement and Record Suspension or Clearing?

You may wonder how expungement differs from having your criminal record suspended or cleared. A record suspension, also known as a pardon, does not erase the conviction but instead sets it aside. This means that while the record is still on file, it will not appear on standard background checks. However, if you apply for a job in a sensitive sector or seek entry into another country, your record suspension may still be disclosed.

On the other hand, expungement permanently removes the conviction from all databases, meaning it will not appear on any background checks. This is particularly important for individuals who have been wrongfully convicted or were convicted of offences that would no longer be considered criminal today. For example, many people arrested during bathhouse raids are eligible for expungement in Canada.

Post-Humous Expungement

Something else that makes expungement unique is the provision for post-humous expungement. If an individual has passed away, a representative (a child, parent, sibling, or legal representative) can apply to have their record expunged on their behalf. 

This recognizes that someone who has died before they could access this remedy should not be denied it simply due to their passing. It also acknowledges that a wrongful conviction may have had a lasting impact on the individual’s surviving loved ones, and expungement can help to alleviate some of that pain.

Contact Jerry Steele for Criminal Defence Help

If you want to discuss expungement or other legal services in BC, contact Jerry Steele today. He has extensive experience in criminal defence and can guide you through the process of expungement or any other legal matter. He is dedicated to providing exceptional service and securing a positive outcome for our clients. 

Don’t let a past conviction hold you back any longer—call 778-700-0012 now to see how we can help.