Pardon Applicants Hire a Lawyer
When a person with a criminal record wishes to obtain a pardon in Canada, they will sometimes approach a lawyer seeking his services in the matter. Is this necessary or useful? In order to answer this question, let us first look more closely at what getting a pardon in Canada involves.
Let us start by defining what we mean by a Canadian pardon. A pardon in Canada is a chance to have one’s criminal record set apart from the main database of the Canadian Police Information Centre (which records criminal activity in Canada), so that it will not appear on a criminal record check, except where a person who has committed certain violent or sexual offences wants to work with “vulnerable sector” people (children, seniors etc), in which case their conviction will be disclosed. The effect of a pardon is virtually limited to this; it does not erase, forgive or nullify a conviction, nor does it shorten or cancel a sentence. With the exception Criminal Lawyers Brampton of those sentenced to life imprisonment or an indeterminate sentence, anyone with a Canadian criminal conviction may apply for a pardon after a period of ineligibility has passed, starting as soon as one’s sentence has been served.
The key to whether the services of a lawyer would be useful for obtaining a pardon in Canada is the nature of the application process. Pardons are granted by the Parole Board of Canada, an office of the federal government which is bound by strict rules of law when deciding on whether or not to grant a pardon. If the applicant meets the following criteria:
- They have served their sentence and the period of ineligibility for their crime has passed
- They have submitted a full, correctly prepared application package with a set of required documents to the Parole Board
- They have lived an honest, crime-free life since the completion of their sentence
- In the case of people who have committed more serious (indictable) offences, they include with their application an explanation of how obtaining a pardon will benefit them in their life as a rehabilitated convict
…the Parole Board will grant them a pardon.
A key implication of this process is that there is no need to convince anyone of anything. No court arbitration is involved, nor is any politician asked to grant mercy to the ex-convict. It is simply a matter of meeting standard eligibility requirements and providing all the necessary documentation. Thus, when applying for a pardon in Canada, the services of a lawyer are not of any great use as it is not necessary to convince the authorities of the validity of your case.
On the other hand, as noted in point 2 above, getting together all the required paperwork for a pardon application will be a lot of work. Would a lawyer not know what exact documents are to be obtained and what to do with them? Perhaps, but it is far more likely that a lawyer would not have the time to deal with this simple matter of bureaucracy. This is why the services of an agency that specializes in helping people obtain pardons would be of much more use. Such an agency will be able to navigate the client through the pardons process from beginning to end and will ensure that all the necessary documents are provided and completed in full before the application is submitted.
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