There are many direct and collateral consequences of a conviction for a crime of domestic violence in Washington state.
One of those consequences may be that a person becomes ineligible to enter into Canada for a period of time. If you have suffered a domestic violence conviction, or are facing a charge of domestic violence and are concerned with how it may affect your admissibility into Canada, you will want to know the information provided below, or contact an attorney, in advance of your travel.
Canadian Classifications of Crimes
Crimes in Canada are split into three categories, Summary, Indictable, and Hybrid. Summary offenses, the least serious category, are punishable by up to six months in jail and a $5,000 fine. They are similar in scope to what a misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor would be in Washington State. The most serious category are indictable offenses. Punishments for indictable offenses are similar to what you would with felony convictions under Washington law. Hybrid offenses in Canada are those that could be deemed summary or indictable offenses depending on the circumstances of the case.
Washington Domestic Violence Convictions and Canada
To know whether a criminal conviction in Washington will mean future exclusion from Canada, you have found out what category of offense the Washington conviction would have been if it had occurred in Canada. If there is no similar offense, or if the conviction would have been deemed a summary offense in Canada, then that conviction should not prevent entry into Canada. If, however, the conviction in Washington would be either an indictable or a summary offense in Canada, then that conviction would render someone inadmissible and prevent them from legally being able to cross the border. Most crimes of domestic violence under Washington law would be deemed a hybrid offense. This means that unless no such offense exists in Canada, the conviction for the hybrid offense would make one excludable.
Length of Excludability
If one is excluded from entering Canada due to a domestic violence conviction there are three ways in which legal entry into Canada may be achieved. If less than five years have passed since the successful completion of the sentence, a person must apply for a Temporary Resident Permit. The application would be scrutinized by Canadian Immigration officials and there would need to be valid reasons for entry. If five years have passed since the successful completion of the sentence (including probation) one may apply for what is called Rehabilitation. To qualify, one would need to convince immigration that he or she is not likely to commit future crimes and that, in essence, they have been rehabilitated. Finally, if ten years have passed since completion of the sentence, in most circumstances, the person is deemed rehabilitated and no advance application need be made. The application can take place at the border. The exception is if the conviction would be considered “serious” in Canada and punishable by ten years in prison or greater. In such cases, one will never be “deemed” rehabilitated and would have to go through the advanced application process.
While many criminal defense attorneys in Washington are well versed in this particular area of Canadian Immigration law, anyone with domestic violence-related criminal history seeking to enter Canada will first want to check with a Canadian immigration lawyer. If you are facing a criminal charge for domestic violence in Washington state and have questions regarding how that might affect your ability to enter Canada, contact the attorneys at Milios Defense. We can review your case with you and, if needed, refer you to the appropriate immigration lawyer.