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Am I eligible for a pardon for my crime?

At some point after being convicted of a crime in Calgary, you may want to look into getting a pardon.However, will you be eligible? What all does a pardon entail? Following is some basic information about pardons under Canada laws.

Pardons have to be issued by the National Parole Board. Since 1970, 400,000 pardons have been granted to convicted Canadians. Of that total, 96 per cent are still in effect, with approximately 16,000 pardons having been revoked.

There is some confusion over what pardons do and don't do. They do not erase a person's record of a conviction. Rather, a pardon will seal your record, restricting access to it. This is mandated on the federal level; however, municipal and provincial authorities are not required to do this, although some may voluntarily comply, like law enforcement agencies in Lethbridge and Medicine Hat. Calgary and Edmonton police agencies do not.

Offenders with criminal records who completed their sentences for summary convictions three or more years ago are eligible to apply for a pardon. So are those sentenced on hybrid or indictable convictions, who have fulfilled their sentencing obligations five or more years ago.

It should be noted that in order to be considered for a pardon, applicants must also have satisfactorily completed all community supervision and/or probation terms.

Because there is never a guarantee that a pardon will be granted, and pardons are subject to revocation for numerous reasons, it is always best to avoid a conviction in the first place. Often the best way to do so is to mount a strong, effective defence with a criminal lawyer at the helm of your case against the Crown.

Source: The John Howard Society of Alberta, "Fact Sheet - Pardons," accessed June 23, 2016

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