Area of Law: Criminal Records
Answer # 2161
Local police destruction for not-guilty outcomesRegion: Ontario Answer # 2161
What are not-guilty outcomes?
For record removal purposes, not-guilty outcomes include:
- withdrawn charges
- dismissed charges,
- charges that were stayed, and
- peace bonds.
Although peace bonds require that the accused sign a document and pay a monetary bond, which implies that the accused has been guilty of committing, or is likely to commit a criminal offence, for record removal purposes, they are treated like not-guilty outcomes. The waiting period to have not-guilty outcomes destroyed and/or sealed ranges from no waiting period, to one year for charges that were stayed, to the length of time that the peace bond is valid.
Who has authority to destroy the criminal record?
The criminal record file of a not-guilty outcome is under the legal jurisdiction of the police that laid the charges. If that police service agrees, it will usually destroy the person’s fingerprints and photographs and destroy or seal the charge outcome records. Most times, the police will also request that the RCMP return its copy of the criminal record file for destruction. In the case where photographs, fingerprints, and other records held by police are permanently destroyed, they can never resurface or be accessed again. On average, a complete file destruction can take anywhere from three to eighteen months.
Whether your file will be destroyed depends on the policies of the local police service that laid the charges. The criteria used by police services for making their decision can include such things as the nature of the offence and whether there are any other charges on the individual’s record. Since local police policies across the country are constantly changing, it is difficult for the average person to know what to do. In some cases, having charges at more than one police service can further complicate the destruction or sealing of records, and if done incorrectly, can result in revealing the information to other police services instead of having it destroyed.
Although the destruction of files relating to not-guilty outcomes should be the least complicated and most successful of applications, it often is not.
The rules for destroying, purging or sealing a criminal record are constantly changing. It is a good idea, therefore, to seek the assistance of a record removal professional.
If you have been charged with a criminal offence, refer to our criminal law section.
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