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The consequences of a criminal offence conviction are greater for non-Canadian citizens

The loss of immigration status is a real possibility for non-citizens arrested for a criminal offence

When a non-citizen is arrested and charged with a criminal offence there is an additional consequence to consider, the loss of immigration status. Different rules apply for temporary and permanent residents convicted of an offence in Canada. Temporary residents can be international students, work-visa holders and tourists. These non-citizens become inadmissible and can be removed when they are convicted of an indictable offence or convicted of two or more federal summary offences.

Permanent residents will lose their status when they are convicted in Canada of an offence that carries a maximum possible sentence of ten years or more. Additionally someone who has been sentenced a prison term of more than six months would fall in this category.

The importance of a non-citizen having a defence lawyer’s representation during a bail hearing

If you are a non-citizen it is important to let your defence lawyer know your immigration status so they will be able to provide you the best counsel.

Bail hearings are usually arranged within 24 hours after you have been charged with a criminal offence. The Crown may ask for certain conditions to be placed on your release if your permanent residence is outside the province , or is more than 200 km from where you are being held in custody, such as a cash bail.

A bail hearing takes on more importance for a non-citizen because time spent in pre-trial custody is considered part of your sentence, and may be a reason someone is removed from the country. Having a defence lawyer during a bail hearing can make the difference between staying in custody, and being released from jail while awaiting your trial. A skilled defence lawyer can also benefit a non-citizen during a plea bargain. Negotiating a favourable plea bargain may be the difference between preserving and losing your immigration status.

If you or a loved one are a visitor or permanent resident of Canada, and have been charged with a criminal offence, contact us online or call 416.944.8111. Leora Shemesh is a Toronto criminal lawyer who is passionately committed to providing you the best possible defence in a criminal case.

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