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What is an enhanced drivers licence?

An enhanced driver’s licence is a form of driver’s license that also verifies your citizenship.  It can be used as an alternative to a Canadian Passport when traveling to the United States by land and sea only.

Why Should I Get an Enhanced Driver’s Licence?

I decided to research this and find out why someone would obtain an enhanced driver’s licence, when simply a passport would do.  Here is what I have found:

  • I had a client who called me asking about getting a Record Suspension for a fraud conviction related to lying on a Passport Application.  He told me the fraud resulted in a 5-year ban from possessing a Canadian Passport.
  • I looked up the fee for an Ontario 5-year enhanced driver’s licence.  It’s fee is only $40 compares to the cost of $120 for a 5-year Passport.  Accordingly, it is a low-cost alternative to a passport

However, since the Enhanced Driver’s Licence is only good for travel by land and sea between Canada and the United States, I would bet that the Canadian Passport is the way to go for most Canadians.

How to Obtain a Provincial Enhanced Driver’s Licence

You can obtain an Enhanced Driver’s License in the following Provinces:

Enhanced Driver's LIcence for Ontario

You can not obtain an Enhanced Driver’s Licence in the following Provinces or Territories at this time.

  • Alberta
  • Saskatchewan
  • New Brunswick
  • Nova Scotia
  • Prince Edward Island
  • Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Northwest Territories
  • Nunavut

Federal Government Websites

If you would like to research current Government published information on this topic, please check out the following links:

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Question of the Day

Topic: Assault, Obstruction, and Travel to the United States

Dear Debbie:

I have two criminal convictions in my criminal record status. Assaulted a police officer and second charge of obstruction (I did not cooperate with police).   I am looking for a company who is honest and is knowledgeable to take my sensitive file for submission.  Please answer my concern accordingly.

My only worry is my entry to the United States. I have never entered US with my criminal record.  I need to travel for business.   Please advise me if I apply for the pardon removal, would this be sufficient enough for the US official borders to not deny my entry, or should I reply for both Pardon & US waiver. Also disclose your fees and all hidden cost.

NOTE: Please address my concerns to the best of your knowledge and cost efficient. If the risk is a greater burden to me and is too much to produce, I would prefer to learn how to manage without visiting US ever. It gonna have to make sense.

Answer from Debbie Ward

  • Assault Peace Officer is not an excludable offence into the United States.
  • Obstructing justice is not excludable provided it is not in relation to an excludable offence.

The only time assault is excludable (meaning you can’t go to the United States unless in possession of a Waiver) is if there was intent to harm ie. Assault with intent to cause bodily harm or aggravated assault. Obstruction normally is minor (ie. giving a wrong name).  But, if it is relation to some big conspiracy to avoid fraud or something more serious, then it would be excludable because it was in relation to an excludable offence.  Giving a wrong name to avoid a DUI is NOT an excludable offence because DUI is not excludable.  Therefore, giving a wrong name is not in relation to an excludable offence.

The US does NOT recognize Pardons.  The question you should be asking is:  “Will I be inadmissible to the United States due to these 2 charges”.  On first glance, it appears you will not have a problem going to the U.S.  However, I would need to see your criminal record to see the exact wording of your criminal record.

You are eligible for a Record Suspension (previously called Pardon) 5 years after all sentences were satisfied if both were summary offences, or 10 years after satisfying your sentence for indictable offences.

p.s.  I have an A+ Reputation with Better Business Bureau and have won the Consumer Choice Awards for Business Excellence. I pride myself with operating at the highest ethical standards and I run a very tight ship.  We are up to date on all our files. Here is a test for you:  call our office during office hours and you always get a live voice!!!!

Summary:

  • I would want to know the exact wording of convictions to know for sure if you can go to the US
  • Please contact my company at least 6 months before you are eligible to start your Record Suspension.
  • Sometimes people pay a fine and the courts do not record it properly.  ABSOLUTELY get written confirmation from the courts as to when all fines were paid.  You do not want to wait until you think you are eligible to find out their records state “unpaid” because you then have to pay it and wait the 5 or 10 years more depending on whether it is summary or indictable.

I will send you a quote under a separate email.

Cheers!


Alberta Divorce  vs Philippines Annulment

You may get a divorce in Alberta if you were married in the Philippines provided you or your spouse have been ordinarily resident in the Province of Alberta for at least 12 months prior to filing a Statement of Claim for Divorce.  However, your divorce may not be recognized in the Philippines if one of the spouses is not a Canadian Citizen when the divorce in Alberta has been obtained.  This may not be a concern for the spouse residing in Canada if:

  1. They never intend to re-marry in the Philippines;
  2. They are not concerned whether the divorce is recognized in the Philippines; or
  3. They are not concerned that a spouse residing in the Philippines may still have to go through an annulment if he or she wants to remarry in the Philippines.
Married in the Philippines?

Married in the Philippines?

To put it another way, if neither you nor your spouse are Citizens of Canada when a divorce in Canada is obtained, then the divorce may not be recognized in the Philippines.  If this does not concern you, then you can go ahead and get a divorce in Canada.  But, if you intend to remarry in the Philippines, you either need to wait to be a Canadian Citizen before getting a divorce or get divorced in Alberta and apply for a Philippine Annulment at a later date.

Immigrating to Canada

If you intend to immigrate to Canada (ie. obtain permanent residency or Canadian Citizenship) and do not wish to include your current spouse in your application (ie. you intend to divorce), you might be required to file for a divorce.  Though it may not be absolutely mandatory, an application for Divorce supports the fact that you are separated and do not intend to sponsor your spouse to come to Canada at a later date.  This helps you avoid having to include your spouse in your application and having to obtain medical exams and criminal record checks for your spouse.

Children Residing in the Philippines

The Courts in Alberta (or anywhere in Canada) do not have the authority to grant an enforceable order in Alberta pertaining to children living outside Canada.  There may be an exception, for example, if children with status in Canada (ie. Canadian Citizens) are subject to unlawful abduction in accordance with International and/or Canadian Laws.  You would need to seek legal advice to determine if an enforceable order can be obtained in Canada.  However, if you have dependent children, ordinarily they still have to be declared in the divorce application, but a special request will have to be made requesting the application be silent with respect to custody, access and child support.

What do I need to get started?

If you are wanting to start a divorce, be sure to collect the following:

  1. Details about your spouse (date of birth, place of birth, current address/phone numbers/email).
  2. Photograph of your spouse may be required.
  3. Marriage Certificate
  4. If there are children:  your latest Canadian Tax Return plus recent paystub
  5. If your spouse is in Canada:  his/her latest Canadian Tax return plus recent paystub

NOTE: please let us know if you are unable to obtain some of the above information and we can explore alternatives.

How do we serve a spouse outside of Canada

  1. In an ideal situation, if your spouse is outside Canada and provided he/she will cooperate, please email him or her asking if he/she is willing to accept papers for divorce by email or private facebook message. Print this email. If your spouse sends you a message back then print this email or message and we’ll use this to obtain an order for you to serve your spouse by email or private facebook message.
  2. Alternatively, we may need to get an order to serve your spouse by registered mail or have a third party deliver the papers to him/her directly.  We normally need a photograph of your spouse if he/she is being personally served.

NOTE:  please let us know if one of the above serving options is not likely to work with your spouse and we will explore alternatives.

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Can I Get a Divorce in the Philippines?

As far as I know, you cannot get a divorce in the Philippines.  I believe you have to get an annulment OR a legally recognized divorce outside the Philippines (as described above) if you wish to remarry in the Philippines.  I’ve heard it can take 3 to 5 years and cost several thousand dollars to obtain an annulment in the Philippines.

 Other Information:

Check out this blog from a Philippine Lawyer:

http://pinoytimes.ca/2009/12/business/effects-foreign-divorce-philippines/

ABOUT US:

We are a paralegal company.  We are a low-cost alternative to lawyers and can assist you if your divorce is unlikely to become contested.

DISCLAIMER:  laws change.  The information in this blog may not apply to your specific situation and is based upon general research by the author.  Therefore, there is no guarantee that the information is accurate or that it applies to your specific situation.  You may wish to obtain independent legal advice from a lawyer qualified to advise you on the above, prior to seeking a Divorce in Alberta.

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How to determine if you are inadmissible to the U.S.

Inadmissible to the United States?

Inadmissible to the United States?

As a general rule, you are inadmissible to the United States if you have the following:

  • two or more summary offences
  • one or more indictable offences
  • anything drug related

If you are inadmissible (ie. not allowed entry due to your criminal record), you must apply for a Waiver of Inadmissibility for legal entry to the United States.

Non-Excludable Offences which are ignored when determining whether you are inadmissible

When determining inadmissibility and applying the above rules regarding inadmissibility, you can ignore the following offences:

  • driving-related offences
  • crimes of violence where you can prove there was no intent to cause harm (ie. common assault)
  • crimes that are not in relation to an excludable offence (ie. break and enter to commit common assault and yes, even impaired driving causing death as the element of intent to harm is missing)
  • youth offences wherein the youth was NOT tried as an adult AND if tried as an adult the offence is not felony drugs or felony violence.

Categories of Inadmissible Offences

There are many classifications regarding inadmissibility.  I will only mention the big ones as they relate to the most common criminal offences.  They include:

  • Crime Involving Moral Turpitude (CIMT)
  • Felony Violence (ie. intent to cause harm, including sexual assault)
  • Drug Offences

Exception Rule to Inadmissibility

There is an exception rule that states if you have only one excludable offence and it was tried summarily, then you will be exempt from inadmissibility, meaning the conviction will be ignored.  Below t you will see an excerpt from the Immigration and Nationality Act which discusses the exception rule.  The exception rule applies primarily to CIMTs or Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude, but there may be exceptions. This means the exception rule does NOT apply to drug offences (always) and it does NOT apply to most felony violence offences where intent to harm is evident, including sexual assault.

Determining Potential Sentence

The exception rule states in loose terms that if you have a CIMT and the potential sentence does not exceed one year and you were not sentenced to more than 6 months in jail, you are not inadmissible.  To check out your potential sentence, please check out the following link:  Criminal Offence Penalty Chart

DISCLAIMER

The above is general information and may not apply to your specific situation.  Laws also change from time to time.   For more information on inadmissibility as it relates to your specific situation, please contact us.Click Here to Contact Us

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A conditional discharge is defined in this excerpt from the Criminal Code of Canada:

730. (1) Where an accused, other than an organization, pleads guilty to or is found guilty of an offence, other than an offence for which a minimum punishment is prescribed by law or an offence punishable by imprisonment for fourteen years or for life, the court before which the accused appears may, if it considers it to be in the best interests of the accused and not contrary to the public interest, instead of convicting the accused, by order direct that the accused be discharged absolutely or on the conditions prescribed in a probation order made under subsection 731(2).

Though not a conviction, it is still evidence of guilt because the accused ”pleads guilty to or is found guilty of an offence.”  An absolute discharge will appear on your criminal record for one year and a conditional discharge will appear on your criminal record for 3 years.  If you fail to meet the conditions, the discharge may be revoked and you could be subsequently convicted.

CAUTION:  The discharge will show up in employment pre-screening or at U.S. border crossings during the one or three year period that the discharge appears on your record.  And, if your discharge is not automatically purged after the one or three year period, the discharge will appear on your record until you write to the RCMP to have it purged.  SEE HOW TO PURGE A DISCHARGE. (Under Absolute and conditional discharges heading)

It is still evidence of guilt.

Having a conditional discharge can affect you the following ways:

  • It appears on your RCMP record for one year (if absolute) or three years (if conditional), following which it is either purged or you have to request in writing to have it purged.
  • A discharge may prevent you from gaining legal entry to the United States if it is an excludable offence.  Waivers can cost thousands over your lifetime.  And, it is possible that if you need a Waiver it will not be granted until at least 5 years have past since the alleged offence was committed.
  • The discharge will show up on a criminal records check for employment, volunteering, adopting, etc. until such time as it has been purged.
  • If you have other convictions for which you are applying for a Pardon (now called a Record Suspension), a Conditional or Absolute Discharge may result in the denial of your Pardon or Record Suspension for a period of up to 5 years as there was an admission or finding of guilt.  See Good Conduct Criteria.

What is a Criminal Record?

Many people assume that a Conditional Discharge is not a ‘conviction’.  They are right–it is not a conviction. But, the question should not be ‘is it a conviction’?  Rather, the question should be ‘does it constitute a criminal record’?    Arguably, a criminal record is any information on file pertaining to a person that is related to a criminal charge, that resulted in a conviction, stay of proceedings, withdrawn, conviction, discharge or that was dealt with by way of alternative measures that may negatively reflect upon their character.  For so long as there is any kind of information on record which is associated with your name and date  of birth, it could by definition constitute a type of criminal record, even though no criminal conviction may have resulted.

Many people do not understand that by negotiating or accepting a conditional discharge that it is the interpretation of the Criminal Code that there has been an admission or finding of guilt.  Had they clearly understood this, they may instead have fought the charge in hopes of a ‘not guilty’ sentence.

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