Changing Your Legal Name After the Charges Have Been Dropped

One of the most traumatic possible consequences of being criminally charged is your name making the news. Once your name is in the news, it’s almost impossible to separate yourself from the case. An acquittal or withdrawal of the charge(s) rarely changes the reality that what goes on the internet, stays on the internet.

Clients often ask me how to find a job if a Google search reveals criminal allegations against them.

One option I propose in this situation is a name change. The rest of this article will address a few frequently asked questions about this approach.

police interview questioning

How do I change my legal name in Ontario?

In Ontario, you may change your name if you are (a) are 16 or older; and (b) have lived in the province for the past 12 months. Anyone aged 16 or 17 requires consent from a parent or guardian.

You must complete an “Application to Change an Adult’s Name” and provide a police record check.

For more information on how to submit this documentation, click here.

Can I change my name, even though I faced criminal charges?


Won’t my police record check show that I was once charged?

It should not. This check should show offences a person has been found guilty of, pending charges, and court orders made against them. Examples of such orders include driver’s license suspensions and firearms prohibitions.

A withdrawal or acquittal does not lead to a criminal record.

I’m applying for a job, and they ask me if I have a criminal record. What should I say?

Unless you have been previously convicted, you can answer that you do not have a criminal record.