I’m a permanent resident charged with a crime. Will I have to leave Canada?

1. Get legal help

You need to get legal advice about both criminal law and immigration law as soon as possible. Some lawyers have experience with both criminal law and immigration law.

If you're convicted of a , this could lead to you losing your status.

Legal help for criminal charges

Talk to a criminal lawyer. Tell them that you're concerned about what could happen to your permanent resident status.

A criminal lawyer can give you advice about:

  • the strength of the case against you in criminal court
  • any defences you may have to the charges
  • your options, including whether to plead guilty or not guilty
  • what you might be likely to get

Before your trial, a lawyer can talk to the Crown Attorney about:

  • which charges they prosecute
  • what they ask the court to decide

And a criminal lawyer can represent you at your trial.

If you can’t afford to hire a lawyer, you may be able to get help from Legal Aid Ontario (LAO). For example, you may be able to get a .

If you don't have a lawyer before your first court date, talk to criminal duty counsel at the courthouse. Tell them that you're concerned about what could happen to your permanent resident status.

If you apply for a legal aid certificate to hire a criminal lawyer, tell LAO that you're concerned about what could happen to your permanent resident status.

Legal advice about your immigration status

You need to get legal advice about immigration law before your criminal trial begins.

An immigration lawyer will explain what can happen to your permanent resident status if you're convicted. And they may also be able to speak to the Crown Attorney whose job is to prosecute you. Or they can help your criminal lawyer know what to say.

This could help you because the Crown Attorney could consider your status when deciding:

  •  how to deal with the charges against you
  •  what sentence to ask for if you're found guilty
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