Under the Identification of Criminals Act, when you are charged with a criminal offence in Ontario, actually, throughout Canada, the police will typically take a mug shot, that’s a police photo of you and keep it on record and they will also take your fingerprints and palm prints and keep that on file because they want this information. This allows them to potentially solve future crimes by matching fingerprints, for example. So what happens then with your police mugshot and fingerprints if you win your case?  So let’s say you are charged with a domestic assault, a sexual assault or a break and enter and you win your trial or you get the charge withdrawn. Because the Crown thinks they have a weak case and they withdraw the charge.  So can you get these mug shots, and police identification, fingerprints destroyed?   Well you can in certain cases, for most minor offences, they are going to do that, within a timely period. By the way, each police force or local police force has different timelines to destroy fingerprints and police mugshots in Ontario. You are going to have stud the local protocol and your lawyer will know what the timelines and procedure is.  Our law firm operates in many jurisdictions across Ontario, so we know the exact protocol for most counties in Ontario.  There is usually a cost involved to destroy your fingerprints and mugshot.  Actually some of the police forces, a few of them don’t charge anything at all, but some have a waiting period where you can’t apply for a year, others, you can do it within a much shorter time period within thirty days.  But the local force in conjunction with the Royal Canadian Mounted police, will make a decision, about whether your mugshot and prints will be destroyed.  As I said for most minor offences, they seem to do it automatically upon request. For many years now, for more serious offences, such as sexual assault, we have been getting letters back from the local police and the RCMPS stating “look we will consider your application in another 7 years, but we won’t do it now”.  I think that’s very unfair; the charges have been withdrawn against your client or they won at trial; they are presumed innocent and the police should not be retaining these records in my view. So it’s very important to get them destroyed when this happens. Because you don’t want these records on a police computer, you know big brother and the big state government watching you when you do not have a criminal record. You also do not want any reference to these identification records at the U.S. border to cause problems for entering the U.S.  after your charge was withdrawn.  Make sure, your lawyer does that for you. Your lawyer should assist you in applying to destroy your fingerprints and police mugshot after your charge(s) was stayed, withdrawn or after you won your case at trial.

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