Can I Get My DUI Criminal Record Removed in Canada?

In Canada, one of the most serious penalties a DUI offender can face is installing an ignition interlock device in their vehicle. An ignition interlock device is a breathalyzer installed on the dashboard of a vehicle and requires the driver to blow into the device before starting the vehicle. If the driver’s blood alcohol level exceeds the preset limit, the ignition interlock device will prevent the vehicle from starting. This device must be used for a set period of time and is accompanied by strict rules around its use and maintenance.

The penalties for a DUI are severe and long-lasting. But worse than that, should you be found guilty, you will face a criminal record that will follow you long after the fines and jail time have been served. Your conviction will be recorded in the RCMP database, and its details can be accessed by all Canadian police services, state agencies, and U.S. law enforcement. This criminal record could significantly impact your career prospects and other opportunities.

If you get a DUI, you might wonder if it’s possible to have that record removed. Here, we’ll share some answers:

What a DUI Record Means for Your Future

A DUI record in Canada can significantly affect a person’s future. Possessing a DUI record can affect a person’s ability to obtain a job, rent an apartment, or attain certain professional certifications. Depending on the severity of the offense, the person could be required to pay hefty fines and serve a jail sentence. Additionally, the individual will be required to complete alcohol education programs and may lose their driving privileges. The person may also need to provide character references from those who know them personally or professional references from those in authority. Ultimately, a DUI record can have a dramatic and lasting impact on a person’s future in Canada.

Can You Get Your DUI Criminal Record Removed in Canada?

The answer to this question is yes, but it is not necessarily easy. Depending on the severity of the DUI and the laws in your province or territory, a few options are available to you.

The first option is to apply for a record suspension, also known as a pardon. A record suspension will allow a person to have their criminal record sealed, meaning it will no longer be accessible to employers, landlords, or other organizations conducting background checks. To be eligible for a record suspension, you must have completed your sentence, including any probationary periods, and must have waited a certain amount of time after the completion of your sentence before you can apply. The length of time depends on the severity of the conviction but is typically at least five years.

Another option is to apply for file destruction. File destruction is similar to a record suspension, but instead of sealing your criminal record, it will be completely destroyed. This means that no one, including employers and landlords, will be able to access it. To be eligible for file destruction, the offence must be at least ten years old, and you must have completed your sentence.

The final option is to apply for a discharge. A discharge is the most lenient form of relief from a criminal conviction. It does not seal or destroy your criminal record but removes the conviction from your record. To be eligible for a discharge, you must have completed your sentence and must have waited at least one year after the completion of your sentence before you can apply.

No matter which option you choose, you must apply to the Parole Board of Canada. The process can take several months, so it’s important to plan ahead and be patient. It’s also important to note that the Parole Board of Canada has the discretion to deny any application, so it’s important to be honest and provide as much information as possible.


It is possible to have your DUI criminal record removed in Canada. The process can be lengthy, and the outcome is not guaranteed, but it is worth exploring if you feel that having your record sealed, destroyed, or discharged will positively impact your life. A DUI lawyer in Toronto can help determine your best course of action if you are facing this difficulty.

Calvin Barry Professional Corporation provides experienced and reliable representation for those accused of criminal offences in the Greater Toronto Area. Contact the best DUI lawyer in Toronto to get legal help today!

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