Have you been convicted of any type of offense or crime, whether minor or severe? If that is the case, it is totally possible to cancel your criminal records to prevent them from influencing ay procedure you carry out. In this article you are about to learn how to do it step by step, as well as how to cancel your police records (which would be crucial too).
Why is it so important to cancel your criminal records?
Many people don’t carry out this cancellation procedure due to lack of time or simply due to laziness. Nevertheless, this is something fundamental you should do no matter your situation.
Canceling your criminal record will allow you to successfully complete all the procedures in which this document is required:
- To renew your residency in Spain without any problem.
- To move from an irregular status to legal residency in the country.
- To enjoy a successful citizenship application (having criminal record is one of the main denial reasons).
- Certain countries require a criminal records certificate to let you in, so you won’t be able to travel if you haven’t cleared them.
- In the case of committing another crime, they could be an aggravating factor.
- In order to be able to participate in the exams required to become a public worker.
As you can see, canceling your criminal records is important to “clean” in some way your registry with the Ministry of Justice, National Police, and Guardia Civil so that the crimes and offenses you have registered (whether minor or serious) will not be taken into account under any circumstances.
Therefore, once they have been cancelled, they will no longer affect you in terms of employment, immigration issues, or in any other area of your life.
Before diving into the requirements, the first thing one must do is to find out what type of penalty has been imposed. That is to say, to understand exactly what the sentence consists of.
Why? Because there are several types (minor, serious, less serious, etc.); and this will determine one of the most important requirements (the waiting time).
To do this, you will need to apply for a criminal record certificate using form 790, which you can download here.
Once you are clear about the type of crime and conviction, there are three main requirements to be fulfilled in order to expunge your records:
- The first is to pay the civil liability or the amount imposed in the conviction.
- Then you must serve the sentence imposed, and during that period you cannot commit any new crime.
- Finally, you will have to wait for a specific period of time (which depends on the specific crime committed) until you can request the complete cancellation.
If these three requirements are met, you will receive a certificate stating that the procedure has been fully archived. In other words, the procedure will have been completed and your records will no longer have any legal effect.
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Criminal records deadlines expungement
Let’s go further into the third requirement, the waiting period. After you have served your sentence, you must wait a specific period of time before you can submit your request for final expungement.
This depends on the type of conviction:
- For minor offenses, you must wait 6 months after completion.
- For crimes for which the sentence is less than 12 months (for example less than 1 year of driving license withdrawal), 2 years.
- For the rest of the less serious crimes (whose penalty is between 1 and 3 years), 3 years of waiting time.
- For less serious penalties of between 3 and 5 years, 5 years.
- And, finally, for serious sentences (such as sentences of 5 or more years of imprisonment), a total of 10 years of waiting time after serving the sentence.
It is important to keep in mind that the time limits are counted from the day after the sentence is served. If for example, you have to pay a fine, the period starts counting the day after the payment.
How do I make the cancellation?
After having served the sentence and having waited the period of time corresponding to the type of crime committed, you must ask the Court for the certification that testifies that this period of time has been served.
With this document, you must visit the corresponding authorities to prove that the period has been served.
To do this you must fill out a form asking the administration to study your documentation (link in prior section).
After this study phase, you will receive a notification confirming that everything has been deleted. But that is not all: you must have a document that proves it.
Hence, finally, you will have to ask for a certificate that confirms that your criminal records have been canceled, and therefore they won’t be taken into account in the future under any circumstances.
This cancellation process can be done online, in person, or by email.
When canceling criminal records, do not forget to cancel police records as well
Many people cancel their criminal records but forget about police records, and that is a mistake. Police records are also completely important.
What’s the difference?
While criminal records require a jury’s sentence and are registered in the “Registro de Penados” (corresponding to the Ministry of Justice), police records aren’t.
In addition, although police records are derived from arrests and complaints, they do not always imply a criminal record.
However, a criminal record does imply a police record, and that is why you must also cancel them if you want to prevent them from having legal effects in the future.
Police records are found in different databases. There are two types:
- Those generated by national police and in its database “Perpol“.
- Those generated by the Guardi Civil in the “Intpol“.
All arrests you have been part of will appear in these databases, apart from the search warrants to arrest and transfer you under judicial disposition.
How to cancel your police records?
After having cleared your criminal records (that is the first requirement), you must provide a judicial certificate confirming that the procedure has been archived with a firm resolution, and that includes:
- Number and date of the police report.
- Reason for the arrest or complaint.
- What happened to your case (filed, acquitted, etc.).
Why get the help of a lawyer to cancel your criminal or police records?
While it is true that this is not a very complex procedure, there are many individuals who prefer to use the help of a lawyer who manages all the paperwork for them.
On the one hand, this allows them to save considerable time, since the lawyer knows exactly what needs to be done at all times, and will therefore prepare the relevant documents faster.
But, on the other hand, the applicant goes to a lawyer because of the fear of interacting with the various institutions in charge.
That is, they may prefer not to visit the police station themselves to submit the different application forms (so they prefer to appoint a lawyer to do it for them); or not to be visited at home.
Whatever the reason, or if you have any questions, our expert lawyers are at your complete disposal. Click on the following link and contact us to get a fast response: