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A question for an immigration attorney: Could this ridiculous situation give me problems when applying for permanent residency

New York, NY |
Filed under: Immigration Green cards

in Canada? I know most attorneys on here don’t practice in Canada, but I thought an immigration attorney could still help me. My wife and I are Americans. We just got work permits to buy a business in Canada and are in t he process of preparing to move there. Up until recently, we lived in Brussels Belgium due to an employment contract I had there. Two months before permanently leaving Brussels, we were aggressed by a bum. At first the aggression was verbal but when the guy went to hit me, I defended myself by hitting him in the forehead. My wife and baby girl were steps away, so I didn’t hesitate to use self defense. Since the guy was smaller than me, I was careful to not hit too hard, just enough to defend myself. He never fell down, no blood was involved, nothing. We left the scene with him running and screaming after us and went to a police station two steps away to explain what happened. They were completely on my side and said he had looked for trouble and he found it and this probably wouldn’t go further. I told them we were leaving, and gave them our address in the U.S. I just got a letter that he was pressing charges because he claims I broke his nose and he has permanent damage. They set a court date for July. We believe he is looking for money from Americans, but anyway, to not look like the bad guy I quickly paid a local attorney to give my version of the story. Little did I know, the attorney expects me to be present in July. I already spent $1,000 on this lawyer, I am not spending thousands on flying back and getting a hotel for this useless bum. However, my wife is afraid about Canada – we have work permits but we wanted to apply for Permanent Residency after a year of working there. We will have to give police/background records from every country where we have lived, so Belgium is one of them. Will Canada care about this? Wouldn’t they understand if I just explained what happened? I have never been in any trouble in my life in any country. Thanks for your advice.

Attorney Answers 3

Posted

I've had a client denied entry in to Canada due to an open assault case. Speak with a Canadian lawyer.

I am a former federal and State prosecutor and have been doing criminal defense work for over 16 years. I was named to the Super Lawyers list as one of the top attorneys in New York for 2012 and 2013. No more than 5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by Super Lawyers. Martindale-Hubbell has given me its highest rating - AV Preeminent - in the areas of Criminal Law, Personal Injury, and Litigation. According to Martindale-Hubbell”AV Preeminent is a significant rating accomplishment - a testament to the fact that a lawyer's peers rank him or her at the highest level of professional excellence." Fewer than 8% of attorneys achieve an AV Preeminent rating. I also have the highest ranking – “superb” – on Avvo. Feel free to check out my web site and contact me. The above answer, and any follow up comments or emails is for informational purposes only and not meant as legal advice.

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Asker

Posted

Thanks for answering, but was his case based on self defense or did he really assault someone. I have a hard time to think that any reasonable administration could blame me for this one.

Posted

You need to discuss the matter with an experienced immigration attorney licensed to practice law in Canada. The answer will likely hinge on whether this a criminal complaint or a civil complaint. Assuming it is a criminal complaint and you were immigrating to the United States, this would likely impose an impediment. Your explanation alone would not be sufficient as United States immigration officials would review the record of conviction including the criminal complaint and certificate of disposition. If you do not appear for the court hearing, the only version of events that will likely be considered by the court is the person you claim harassed you. An attorney's statement of what happened is not a substitute for your testimony.Keep in mind that failing to appear could potentially expose you to further criminal charges. I encourage you to discuss the matter further with your attorney in Belgium as well as consult an experienced immigration attorney licensed to practice law in Canada.

Wendy R. Barlow, Esq, The Law Offices of Grinberg & Segal, P.L.L.C., 111 Broadway, Suite 1306, New York NY 10006, (866) 456-­8654, wendy@myatorneyusa.com, www.myattorneyusa.com. The information contained in this answer is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. No recipients of content from this answer, clients or otherwise, should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content included in the answer without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a licensed attorney. Provision of information on this website does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and The Law Offices of Grinberg & Segal, P.L.L.C., nor is it intended to do so.

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Posted

Since you practice in the U.S., let's reverse the situation and assume I was applying for Permanent Residency in the U.S. Would the U.S. really care if someone offended themselves against a bum in the street? Surely a country like the U.S. would not blame someone for self defense? I assume Canada thinks similarly.

Asker

Posted

sorry *defended themselves

Wendy Rebecca Barlow

Wendy Rebecca Barlow

Posted

As an initial matter, it would not matter if you were defending yourself from a bum or any other person. Assuming these are criminal charges against you, this could potential cause problems immigrating to the United States. Whether it not it would be an impediment would depend upon the outcome of the criminal case. USCIS relies ion the record of conviction, which means they look at the original charges against you, the allegations agsinst you, the final dosposition, srntence imposed, etc. While your explanation may be considered, USCIS relies on the actual records not necessarily your word. This is why it is important to defend yourself against the charges. I strongly encourage you to take this matter serioudly and contact an experienced immigration attorney licensed to practice law in Canada as well as defend yourself fully against the charges.

Asker

Posted

Thank you for this helpful response. I think this is very unfair and expensive, but I guess that's life!

Posted

Canada is extremely strict about such issues. You should discuss this with an immigration attorney in Canada. If you cannot find one, there is one I work with. I would be happy to recommend.

800-688-7892, www.ImmigrationDesk.com. Law Office of Anu Gupta. The advice suggested here is for general information only. It is not to be construed as legal advice. We promise to zealously represent you - but as with any legal matter, we cannot predict the approval of your case based on our past successes. Each case is different. If you are in a similar situation, we would recommend that you contact us to discuss your case.

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