Should I plead guilty?

3. Learn about the different kinds of records

If you're sentenced to anything but an absolute or conditional discharge, you will have a permanent criminal record.

If you're sentenced to an absolute or conditional discharge, you will have a temporary record. The temporary record of your discharge will be automatically removed after a specific period of time that depends on the type of discharge you get. 

Criminal Record

A criminal record is a permanent record of the crimes you're of and the you received.

There are different types of sentences that result in a permanent criminal record, including:

  • suspended sentences
  • conditional sentences
  • fines
  • jail

To remove the conviction from your criminal record, you must apply for a . A record suspension used to be called a .

Temporary Record of Discharge

A judge might order that you get discharged if it's your first crime and it's a minor crime.

If you're , you will not have a criminal record. But there will be a temporary record of your discharge.  

Your record of discharge is automatically removed after 1 or 3 years, depending on the type of discharge. You don't have to ask to have the record removed.

A discharge can be absolute or conditional.

If you get an :

  • you will not be on
  • your record of discharge will be kept on file for 1 year

If you get a :

  • you will be on probation for up to 3 years
  • your record of discharge will be kept on file for 3 years

Impact of having a record

A criminal record or a discharge that is still on file can impact your life in many ways. For example:

  • You may not be able to get jobs working with vulnerable people, such as children or the elderly.
  • You may not be able to get jobs that require security clearance.
  • You may not be able to travel or have problems when you do.
  • The police may treat you differently if they know you have a criminal record.
  • Your immigration status can be affected by criminal record convictions for certain offences. You might not be allowed to stay in Canada (deported), not allowed to enter Canada, and/or not be given Canadian citizenship.
  • Some countries may not recognize conditional discharges as non-convictions. You may be treated as though you have a conviction when traveling to these countries.
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