Non-Conviction Records Explained
People who were arrested and were proven innocent, or had charges against them dropped, should not think that the worst is over. Thousands of Canadians are discovering that non-conviction records of even trivial contact with police can follow them for years and prevent them from obtaining visas or travelling freely to the US.
Unfortunately a non-conviction does not mean that a record will go back to being a clean slate. Every year the professional and personal lives of thousands of innocent people are undermined by routine disclosures of non-conviction records. In many cases, Canadians never convicted of a crime have been turned back at the U.S. border.
Non-conviction records can result from a wide range of interactions with the police, including:
- Informal interactions with the police where you give an officer your name
- Mental health-related interactions with the police
- If you have called 9-1-1 or were present when the police responded to a 9-1-1 call
- Unproven allegations
- If you have been involved in a police investigation as a witness, victim or suspect
- Withdrawn charges – If you were charged with an offence but never convicted of the crime
How does a non-conviction record prevent someone from crossing the US border?
U.S. border authorities are often granted access to non-conviction records registered on the national Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) database. Many people with non-conviction records experience harassment or questions from US border officials. Some people have been denied entry to the United States because of their non-conviction records.
Asking your local police to remove non-conviction information from their local and national databases should remove the information from CPIC. However it is hard to tell whether that information was previously copied into American databases. If, for example, you were questioned or denied entry to the United States previously because of a non-conviction record, that information may still be in U.S. databases.
If you continue to have problems entering the United States even after your non-conviction record is removed from CPIC, you may want to apply for a US Entry Waiver. For more information about National Pardon Centre and our services, contact us today. 1-866-242-2411.