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Toronto Assault Charges Lawyer

Consequences of being charged for domestic assault, mischief, or uttering threats in cases that do not result in a conviction.

Even cases that are withdrawn, peace bonded, or result in sentences of an absolute or conditional discharge can negatively impact your employment, show up on police background and criminal record checks, and cause problems travelling to the US.

You take a loss by just simply being charged with a criminal offence regardless of the eventual outcome of the case. This is because the police are putting information about the charge in their computer system, disclosing it on background checks, and sharing this information with other law enforcement agencies.

When you are charged with assault, utter threats, or mischief, the charge information and your fingerprints are kept by the local police and sent to the RCMP to be placed in the national CPIC database. CPIC is accessible to all police agencies in Canada, the US, and other countries.

The fact that you are being arrested and charged is shared with US Customs and can lead to denials travelling across the border (even if you were not convicted).

The information about you being charged, and your fingerprints/mugshot, is accessible to US customs via the CPIC system, which can cause problems travelling to the US in the future. Even if the case results in an acquittal or a withdrawn charge, the US Customs border officer may still determine that you are inadmissible if he feels your criminal history could indicate you are a potential risk in the United States. We get calls from people who have been denied entry into the US because of withdrawn, stayed, or discharged charges so we know for a fact that some people get denied based on non-convictions.

This being said, a non-conviction does not necessarily make you inadmissible. US Customs officers have full discretion in determining who crosses and who doesn't. Those who have been charged with criminal offences have an increased risk of being denied than they did prior to being charged.

The United States does not recognize an absolute discharge, a conditional discharge, a pardon (now records suspension), or, in some circumstances, a stayed charge.

While Canadian law allows for several types of case dispositions that are not considered to be convictions despite a finding of guilt, these dispositions simply do not exist in the United States. It is well known that US Customs does not recognize or consider a discharge or a pardoned charge as a non-conviction. You will not be afforded the same privileges in the US and are considered to be someone with a criminal record. As far as the US is concerned, if you have been found guilty then you have a criminal record despite being pardoned or discharged.

Questions at the US border relating to being arrested, detained, fingerprinted, and criminally charged

Another thing that gets Canadian travellers in trouble at the US border is that they are under the false belief that just because their case was withdrawn (often with a peace bond), they can answer "no" if US Customs asks if they were arrested or charged with anything before. If the US sees in the CPIC system that you have a history of domestic charges (and 911 calls), they may deny you entry for being dishonest with them about your history with the police.

The CPIC system is not updated instantly

Some people are often refused entry into the United States because the US Customs officers are under the false belief that your charge is still outstanding in Canada when in fact the case has already been resolved. This is because the RCMP are notoriously slow at updating the CPIC records to show the disposition of cases. Even if your charge was withdrawn a year ago, it may still show as pending in the system. We ensure all our clients have the proper paperwork to prove their case is resolved prior to crossing the border.

Non-convictions (withdrawn charges, peace bonds, absolute/conditional discharges) also show up on certain types of police clearances and criminal background checks

While you may have been acquitted at trial, or had your case dropped (withdrawn), don't think the charge still can't show up and harm your career and future employment opportunities. Most police departments in the GTA area (Toronto, Peel, Halton, York, and Durham) have two types of background checks: regular and vulnerable sector.

Will a non-conviction show up on a regular police check?

Generally speaking, a regular police criminal record check will show the following things relating to non-convictions:
  1. Pending/outstanding charges: While your case is in the process of being resolved, it will show up on even the most basic police check;
  2. Peace bonds: Both common law and Section 810 peace bonds will show up while they are still active (normally one year) on a regular (most basic) police check;
  3. Absolute discharges: For one year
  4. Conditional discharges and probation: This will show up for three years after the date of sentencing
The good news is that non-convictions will eventually automatically stop showing up on the most basic background checks, but not until after a year or more depending on the case outcome. Of course, cases resulting in a conviction will also show up (suspended sentence, fine, house arrest, jail, etc.) indefinitely.

Vulnerable Sector Screenings and Police Information Checks

Unfortunately many employers and volunteer agencies are no longer satisfied with a regular police clearance and will require you to submit a more intensive police check. These are often referred to as "Vulnerable" or "Police Information" checks and will provide information about charges that result in a non-conviction. This can include jobs working with vulnerable people (children, the elderly, and the mentally handicapped), and sometimes with sensitive information (banking, finance, security, etc.). These higher level background checks will often show withdrawn charges, peace bonds, stayed charges, absolute and conditional discharges (even after the one - three year period), pardoned charges, dismissed charges, acquittals, and more.

These checks will even sometimes show information about you even if you were not charged with anything at all. If you were investigated for a sexual offence, a theft, or a crime of violence/threatening behaviour (often domestic), sometimes this information will still be released on your background check.

What this means is that potential employers may find out you were charged even if you are never convicted and use this information against you. Again, the person charged takes a permanent loss to their future opportunities by just simply being accused of something (whether true or not).

But someone (possibly at the courthouse) told me it would all just go away?

Unfortunately, there is a lot of misunderstanding and misinformation regarding these sorts of issues. It doesn't just go away. It is stored, shared, released to certain 3rd parties, and can negatively impact your travel and employment options for the rest of your life. You don't have to take our word for it, some local police forces are open and honest about these policies on their own websites, see:

Toronto Police: Background Checks
Peel: Records Checks and Suspensions (Pardons)
Halton Police: Records Checks
OPP: Criminal Records and Police Checks

Other police forces, such as Toronto Police, York Regional Police, and Durham Regional Police also will tell you they disclose non-convictions if you call their general inquires telephone lines and ask for this information.

There are things we can do to proactively reduce the likelihood of travel and employment problems associated with non-convictions. We understand that many people may have misled you with regard to this issue, while we feel it is unfair, the reality is that this is public information that all GTA police forces are relatively open and honest about.

But the police officer said the charge was no big deal?

Police often like to tell the people they are charging that it isn't a big deal and not to worry about it, which is easy for them to say because they are not the one being charged and taking all the losses associated with it.

In reality, if the police officer himself was the one being charged, he would immediately be suspended and face a disciplinary hearing (and likely eventually lose his job). If he was the subject of such charges before becoming a police officer, he would have had to disclose this on his policing application (and the police would see it during their background check) which would likely have resulted in preventing him from becoming a police officer. While it may be “no big deal” to the police and other government employees looking to push defendants through the system, it is not their life and future that is being compromised.

The bottom line is that even if your case is dropped or you are found not guilty, it can still show up and be used against you and result in problems with your employment, immigration (IRCC), and travel abilities in the future. It is a sad reality that despite the idea that all people are “innocent until proven guilty”, even if you are never proven guilty you still suffer losses to your freedoms and future opportunities just for being accused of something in Canada.

Non-convictions and withdrawn charges may need to be disclosed to professional regulatory bodies

Most professions that are self-regulating require you to disclose information that may be considered conduct unbecoming. Some also require members/applicants to disclose arrest records or criminal discharges. This means that even if you are not convicted, you may be required to disclose and explain your charges to a professional review board now or in the future. Many professions have such governing bodies including teachers, nurses, physicians, police officers, lawyers, pharmacists, real estate agents, etc.

While your case may ultimately be withdrawn, the Crown Attorney will often make you accept responsibility for what happened as part of the deal. This can come back to haunt you if you are a member of (or want to become a member of) a self-regulating profession that requires you to explain everything that happened to them. Sometimes there are ways to mitigate these potential problems.

What is the solution to all these potential problems for those who get charged?

While there is no complete solution to problems associated with non-convictions, there are things we can do to minimize and reduce the risks, including:
  1. Properly requesting the destruction of the fingerprints and photographs (mugshots) stored in the local police and RCMP CPIC database;
  2. Obtaining the court documentation that proves the disposition of the case if asked by US Customs or employers;
  3. Requesting and providing supporting documentation to suppress certain non-conviction information found on background checks;
  4. Other proactive strategies that minimize damage and protect your interests.
Given our clients are mostly students and working professionals, minimizing all potential problems associated with being charged is paramount. A large part of our practice is dedicated to this area (since virtually all of our clients are ultimately able to avoid a conviction and formal criminal record).

Call us today for a free assessment

You don't have to jeopardize your future or waste thousands of dollars on excessive legal fees. Our goal is to have the charges withdrawn and the release conditions varied to allow contact without a risky and unnecessary trial. We provide effective and affordable lawyer representation for those charged throughout all of Ontario, Canada.

You don't need to be apart from your spouse and family, spend tens of thousands of dollars, and risk getting a criminal record because of an unfortunate domestic incident. Have a skilled criminal lawyer protect you and your future from the stigma and consequences of a criminal record.

    call us: 647-228-5969


  call us: 647-228-5969


Your case will be defended by a fully licensed Practicing Lawyer of the Law Society of Ontario. For more information about our lawyer, click here.

We provide our clients with:
  • Flat fee pricing
  • US travel advice and information
  • Employment background check advice/services
  • Fingerprints and records destruction services
  • Clear goals of getting charges dropped and bail conditions varied without a trial
  • Help with related immigration issues
  • Vulnerable Sector records suppression help
  • Experienced, focused counsel

* Please note:

If you are the alleged victim, and are looking to help your spouse/partner's case, please see our affidavit services page here.

If you are not a paying client, we cannot answer questions and provide assistance with U.S. travel, immigration, employment background checks, and avoiding a criminal record. This includes those who have already retained other counsel and those whose cases have already been completed. We also only take calls/emails relating to Ontario, Canada area cases.

Are you a lawyer? If you are defending a domestic assault/uttering threats/mischief related case and are looking for expert advice regarding possible defences, case strategies, and information release management call us at: 647-228-5969.

Please note: We do not accept legal aid certificate cases. All clients are handled on a private retainer only.


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  Law and Consequences

  We provide:
  • Flat fee pricing
  • 99%+ non-conviction success rate
  • U.S. travel advice and information
  • Help with related immigration issues
  • Employment background check advice/services
  • Fingerprints and records destruction services
  • A clear goal of getting the charges dropped without a trial
  • Vulnerable Sector records suppression help
  • Timely resolutions
  • Lawyer/client privilege
  • Experienced, focused counsel