Do you need a lawyer to file your Canadian pardon application?

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Let’s say you’ve been convicted of a crime under Canadian law and you find yourself with a criminal record. What now? After your sentence has been carried out, you can attempt to get on with your life as usual, but you’ll likely run into some roadblocks that could impede your life in many ways.  To lift those limitations, the best course of action is to apply for a pardon. But do you need a lawyer to help with pardon applications? Can you complete the process yourself? This article will attempt to answer those questions for you.

First, let’s examine what exactly is involved in the pardon application process. From there, we’ll look at whether hiring a lawyer to help is necessary. To do that, we’ll need to define clearly what a pardon actually is. Some people think that if you are granted a pardon your criminal record is erased. This is not the case. Essentially, a pardon means that your criminal record is set apart from, or “sealed” from the general database of criminal records held by the Canadian Police Information Centre. The conviction is not nullified or erased.

Almost anyone who has been convicted of a criminal offense in Canada is eligible to apply for a pardon once a predetermined ineligibility period has elapsed. The duration of this waiting period depends on the nature of your crime and other factors. In addition, to qualify for a pardon you must also:

Have served your full sentence, including probation and any other terms of your sentencing.

Submit to the Parole Board a correctly prepared application package along with all necessary support documentation

Not engaged in any further criminal activity since your sentence has been carried out and can show that you are living a generally honest and good life

The pardon application process does not involve going to court. You will not have to appear in front of a judge or any other body to prove yourself worthy. It is only necessary to meet the above-mentioned criteria and provide the necessary documentation. In that way, hiring a lawyer is not strictly necessary, unlike when you would appear in front of a judge to argue your side in a trial.

On the other side of the coin, however, is the fact that the application process and your likelihood of being successful in your application hinges largely on the proper gathering of necessary documents and the accurate completion of the application form itself. This can be very daunting and complex for the average layperson who is not used to navigating through the legal system in this way. That’s where a lawyer can come in very useful. That being said, lawyers can be very costly and it’s rare to find one who specializes in pardon applications. Instead, many people opt to enlist the help of a company that specializes in this type of application. They will have a very in-depth knowledge of the requirements, the application process, how to fill out the application form properly, and they will be able to knowledgeably answer any questions you have throughout the process.

April 29, 2016 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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