I pled guilty to an obstruction charge today in hopes of a getting a discharge. I was not given the discharge, but a $500.00 fine instead. Will this affect my travel to the United States? I usually travel there 1 or 2 times a year. It was tried summarily. I was caught driving without insurance and gave an officer a false name.
My lawyer figures we could appeal the sentence as he still figures I should have gotten a discharge. Not that having a criminal record is what I want, but my biggest concern at this time is will I still be able to visit the USA until the time comes that I am eligible to suspend my record.
So I guess I am asking whether I will be able to cross the border without trouble or should I be trying to appeal the sentence with no guarantee of success?
#1. Not Excludable:
#2. Excludable, But Exception Rule Applies:
#3. Criminal Code of Canada Sec 129 Obstruction of Justice states;
Offences relating to public or peace officer
129. Every one who
(a) resists or wilfully obstructs a public officer or peace officer in the execution of his duty or any person lawfully acting in aid of such an officer,
(b) omits, without reasonable excuse, to assist a public officer or peace officer in the execution of his duty in arresting a person or in preserving the peace, after having reasonable notice that he is required to do so, or
(c) resists or wilfully obstructs any person in the lawful execution of a process against lands or goods or in making a lawful distress or seizure,
is guilty of
(d) an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or
(e) an offence punishable on summary conviction.
#4. Sentencing for Summary Convictions
#5. Tried by Indictment
#6. Do I appeal the sentence?
Summary – Do I need a Waiver?
(a) First question to ask: is it excludable? The answer is “no” because it is NOT in relation to an excludable offence. Therefore, whether or not it is summary is irrelevant. You do not need a Waiver.
(b) Second question to ask: if it were an excludable offence, do I need a waiver? The answer is “no” because it is summary and the U.S. will allow one summary offence like this due to the exception rule. You do not need a Waiver.
Therefore, in either case, the border guard should not have an issue with your particular offence. It is recommended that you travel with the Court Document to prove it is a summary offence just in case the border guard presumes it is on the list of excludable offences (which it is not because it is not in relation to an excludable offence).
Summary – Should I appeal:
(a) I’m concerned that if you appeal, the crown might be able to go by indictment. I don’t know if this is possible or not. Check with your lawyer.
(b) If tried by indictment, border guards will have a harder time assessing your inadmissibility and may deny in error.
Record Suspension: you can apply for a Record Suspension 5 years after you complete the sentence if tried summarily. If you appeal and lose, the Parole Board goes from the new date of sentencing. This could delay your Record Suspension eligibility by the length of time it takes the Judge to rule on the appeal provided the offence remains summary. It could get worse. If it becomes indictable, then the waiting period becomes 10 years, not 5 years, before you can apply for a Record Suspension.
If you know anyone that needs a Pardon (Record Suspension), please refer them my way. We have a BBB A+ Reputation and are Consumer Choice Award Winners. There are 2 pardon companies on-line that are currently bankrupt and still taking money from people…so do your research before you hire a Pardon/Waiver company or refer one.
Debbie Ward, President