Every burden in the world is somewhat bearable except that of carrying a criminal record. However, it all becomes a hundred times worse when the record is for sexual assault charges. Indeed, there is no need to discuss or emphasize the possible adverse outcomes of a conviction for sexual offences. Besides the jail sentence and severe fines, having your name on the National Sex Offender Registry is also a painful experience.
As if the flesh-piercing glares and excruciating whispers in your social and family circles are not enough, the agony of facing travel, employment, and volunteer work restrictions takes a person’s desperation and despair to a whole new level.
For this reason, we recommend that you always have a reputed and experienced sexual assault defence lawyer by your side if you face sexual assault charges.
Have you already been convicted of a sexual offence? If you cannot avoid a conviction, the next thing that comes to mind is whether you will be pardoned. However, this is a strict judicial system we are talking about that takes every possible measure to secure society against all harm. When it comes to sensitive matters like sexual offences, receiving a pardon is not as easy as relaying a verbal or written apology.
But the above does not mean you do not stand even the slightest chance of getting your life back on track. Although the process is difficult, it is not impossible for you to receive a pardon.
If you want to establish your chances of a pardon for a sexual assault charge, you have come to the right place. This blog offers a thorough yet precise and methodical rundown of the subject.
What Is A Record Suspension?
When you request a pardon, the legal term is known as a record suspension request. Unlike popular perception, a record suspension does not mean a complete dismissal or dropping of the charges against the offender. Similarly, it also does not mean that the charges will be entirely erased, and your criminal record will be wiped clean. In the language of criminal law, record suspension refers to keeping your criminal record separate from other records.
It is more like an apology which doesn’t necessarily erase the act but allows you to reintegrate with society. In this regard, what happens is that your criminal record is removed from the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) database and kept separately. So a search in this database will not reveal your name, thus lifting the employment, educational, and social restrictions you face.
The Criminal Records Act
The Criminal Records Act sets forth the eligibility criteria and other conditions for a record suspension in Alberta and the rest of Canada. As per the Act, an offender must complete their sentence and the relevant waiting period to be eligible to apply for the suspension. You must also satisfy the Parole Board of Canada (PBC) that you are law-abiding and have practiced good conduct in the aforementioned period.
Pardon For Sexual Offences (Schedule 1)
When it comes to sexual offences, the situation becomes a bit more complex. Usually, it is tough to get pardoned for sexual assault charges, especially if the victim is a child. However, there are chances that the exception discussion below may apply to your case.
According to the Criminal Records Act, an eligible offender may apply for suspension of their criminal record except for the offences discussed in Schedule 1. Sexual assault is one of the offences the Schedule deals with. However, you may apply for an exemption from Schedule 1 if you can satisfy the Parole Board that:
- You were not in a position of trust or authority with the victim, and the victim did not depend on you in any way.
- You did not use coercion, violence, threats, or any attempts thereof to force the victim into the sexual activity.
- You are less than five years older than the victim (Section 4(3)).
Employment In A Vulnerable Sector
Although your information is removed from CPIC, it is flagged for vulnerable sector checks. If you apply to work in a vulnerable sector involving children, disabled persons, the elderly, etc, the vulnerable sector will allow your prospective employer to see that you were convicted of a sexual offence and received a record suspension.
Regardless, a record suspension application, especially in the case of a sexual offence, poses a lot of legal intricacies. However, a reliable criminal defence lawyer that deals in sexual assault defence services can help you understand your position.
About Slaferek Law
Boasting proven experience in a variety of criminal defence areas, we are a team of professional criminal defence lawyers proudly serving the Edmonton community. Through our ocean of knowledge and unrivalled expertise, we present the perfect defence for even the most complex general or sexual assault cases. Learn more about Slaferek Law.
Need defence services for sexual assault charges? Contact us now.