BOYNECLARKE LLP has acted for both individuals and companies in Nova Scotia and many jurisdictions in Canada.

Whereas mid-sized to large law firms don’t typically practice criminal law, BOYNECLARKE LLP stands out from the crowd. This translates into a significant advantage for our clients who have access to other practice areas within the firm, while enjoying a one-on-one relationship with one of our criminal defence lawyers.

Facing a criminal charge can be difficult and frightening. At BOYNECLARKE LLP in Halifax – Dartmouth, we have the relevant knowledge and experience to support your case. Tax lawyers in our Business Law Team advise on white-collar crime cases involving theft or fraud. If your case involves matrimonial issues, we simply walk down the hall and talk to one of our full-time Family Law practitioners.

Cases range from summary convictions such as drinking and driving, to indictable matters such as sexual assault and murder. We have defended prosecutions at all levels of courts, including the Appellate courts in Atlantic Canada, the Federal Court of Canada, and the Supreme Court of Canada.

If you’ve been charged with a crime, seeking out early representation of a criminal defence lawyer is important so you know all your options before you decide to plead guilty or not guilty. Criminal charges can result in serious consequences that significantly affect a person’s future.

Our Experience

Experience within the Criminal Law Team includes:

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Areas of Focus

Pardons and Record Suspensions

If you require a pardon/record suspension, Terry Sheppard is able to apply on your behalf for a flat fee.

To be eligible for a pardon/record suspension, you must complete the term of your sentence, including incarceration, parole and payment of any fines; and then complete the required “conviction-free” period.  For individuals with a summary conviction, the conviction free period is three years.  For most individuals with an indictable conviction, the conviction-free period is five years.  If you are not sure if your conviction is a summary conviction or an indictable conviction, we will assist you.

Having a criminal record can affect you in several ways:

  • Employment:  Many employers require a criminal record check and will not hire individuals with a conviction.  It is also impossible for individuals with criminal records to work in any level of government without first obtaining a pardon.
  • Child Custody:  Judges can consider the existence of a criminal record as a record of character.  A criminal record is a negative statement of character, but having a pardon will illustrate to a judge that the individual has made a real attempt to rehabilitate as a law-abiding citizen.  This may influence a decision when granting child custody and parenting time.
  • Education:  Education in fields such as medicine, nursing, security, the law and child care require a clean criminal record check.  A criminal conviction can create a real barrier in pursuing education in those fields.
  • Canadian Citizenship:  Many people are unaware that if they are applying for Canadian citizenship, and they have a Canadian criminal record, their application will be rejected.  If this occurs, they may risk deportation.  For this reason, it is extremely important that these individuals obtain a pardon for their convictions before making an application.
  • Volunteering:  Most volunteer organizations, especially those that provide programs for children, will require a clean criminal record check.  Individuals with convictions will find that volunteering for those organizations difficult, if not impossible.  This may even include, for example, volunteering at your child’s school.
  • Adoption:  Anyone looking to adopt a child must first pass a vulnerable sector search.  Although the existence of a criminal record will not automatically result in denial of any adoption request, once again, a pardon will provide a positive character reference.
  • Travel outside of Canada:  Various countries will deny entry to people with criminal records.  While having a pardon will not automatically guarantee your entry into these countries; again, it will provide a positive character reference.


Criminal Law Team

Brian P. Casey, KC

(902) 460-3468

Terrance G. Sheppard, KC

(902) 460-3401

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Recent Blog Posts

Blog Post | Tuesday April 14, 2020

Retroactive Record Suspension Eligibility Deemed Unconstitutional, Federal Court says.

Authored by: Terrance G. Sheppard, KC Posted in: Criminal Law

In 2010 and 2012, Parliament enacted the Limiting Pardons for Serious Crimes Act, SC 2010, c 5 [LPSCA] and the Safe Streets and Communities Act, SC 2012, c 1 [SSCA], which amended certain provisions of the Criminal Records Act (“CRA”).

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Blog Post | Wednesday August 14, 2019

Five Things to Know Before Your Pre-Sentence Report

Authored by: Terrance G. Sheppard, KC Posted in: Criminal Law

What should you expect before your pre-sentence report interview? Many people feel unsure. Your interview matters. Here are five things you should know to be prepared.

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Blog Post | Tuesday May 7, 2019

Do You Need a Record Suspension?

Authored by: Terrance G. Sheppard, KC Posted in: Criminal Law

A record suspension allows individuals who have been convicted of a criminal offense, but have served their time or demonstrated good behaviour, to have their criminal record kept private.

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Blog Post | Tuesday May 23, 2017

Obtaining a Record Suspension

Authored by: Terrance G. Sheppard, KC Posted in: Criminal Law

If you are a Canadian citizen with a criminal record and are looking to travel to the United States, it is important that you obtain a record suspension. Canadians charged with a criminal offence will find it more difficult to travel across the border without being cleared of their criminal charge.

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Blog Post | Monday May 11, 2015

Faint Hope for Suspended Drivers

Authored by: Terrance G. Sheppard, KC Posted in: Criminal Law

If your license has been permanently suspended because of impaired driving charges, a new amendment, effective April 1, 2015, gives some hope that you may be able to get your license back. You have to have had your license suspended for 10 years, and must be willing to have the alcohol ignition

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