I'm Not a Canadian Citizen...Could a Criminal Charge Get Me Deported?

Being charged with a criminal offence is a daunting experience, but when you are not a citizen in the country you’ve been charged…it’s all the more terrifying.

In this blog post, we answer some of the most frequently asked questions that we receive from non-residents facing criminal charges in Canada.

How does a criminal conviction affect my permanent residency in Canada?

If you are a permanent resident in Canada and have been charged with criminal activity, you are right to be worried how this will affect your immigration status.

Despite what you might think, if you are a permanent resident you do not have an unqualified right to stay here. Permanent residents are allowed to stay in Canada under certain conditions. If a permanent resident commits a crime, their ability to stay in Canada can be put in jeopardy. One of the main reasons why permanent residents are deported from Canada is because of what the law calls “criminal inadmissibility”. 

In order for a permanent resident to be deported from Canada for criminal admissibility, they must have engaged in serious criminal activity. This carries a very specific description within immigration law. Whether something is “serious criminal activity” depends on either the sentence you receive when convicted, or the actual crime you are convicted of. 

Will a Lengthy Jail Sentence Lead to Deportation?

For any crime in the Canadian Criminal Code, if you are convicted and your sentence is more than six months, you could face immigration consequences as a permanent resident. For example, you could have your permanent residency revoked for driving a vehicle while prohibited if you are convicted and receive a six month sentence. Examples of other crimes that can lead to a sentence of six months or more include possession of a scheduled drug or substance, impaired driving, assault and many others.

If I Don’t End Up With a Jail Sentence, Could I Still Be Deported?

The answer is…it depends.

No matter what your sentence ends up being, for some serious crimes there can always be immigration consequences. You can determine whether a crime falls under this category by looking at its maximum penalty. If the crime carries a maximum penalty of up to ten years or more, if convicted you can be deported even if your actual sentence is much lower. 

The information about maximum sentences is listed along with each crime in the Canadian Criminal Code. For example, a simple assault charge carries a maximum sentence of five years, so would only lead to immigration consequences on its own if an actual sentence of more than six months is imposed. However, if a permanent resident is convicted of assault with a weapon, or assault causing bodily harm, the maximum sentence is ten years. Crimes carrying maximum sentences of ten years or more can always lead to immigration consequences no matter what actual sentence is imposed. The difference between a conviction of simple assault and assault causing bodily harm could mean deportation from Canada, even if the sentence the court hands down is not lengthy. 

Can Criminal Driving Behaviours Lead to Deportation?

A conviction for alcohol impaired driving, cannabis impaired driving, driving while prohibited (if for a second time), and dangerous operation of a motor vehicle can all lead to your deportation as a permanent resident if you are convicted.

The best way to avoid deportation from Canada because of criminal inadmissibility is to prevent a conviction in the first place. If you find yourself accused of a crime, find an experienced criminal lawyer to defend you against criminal allegations. The lawyers at Sarah Leamon Law Group have the skill and experience to handle your criminal case with the requisite expertise. They know the defences that work, and ones that don’t. They will be able to assist you and to defend you against the threat of conviction.  Your lawyer will become your most valuable resource.

If you are a non-citizen of Canada, facing criminal charges, you should reach out to a lawyer right away. The lawyers at Sarah Leamon Law Group are well-equipped to aid clients in this capacity.

We are here to help.

Call 604 600 9211 for a free consultation.

Sarah Leamon