If you are from the US and you have a DUI case pending or were convicted for DWAI, DUI — or even reckless driving — it’s very possible you’ll be turned away at the border if you try to go to Canada. Under Canadian laws, a DWAI or DUI conviction can make you an “inadmissible person” there. Generally, people who are trying to enter Canada might be held as a criminally inadmissible person if they:
- Were convicted of an offense in Canada
- Were convicted, or accepted a judgment of an offense that’s a crime in Canada, even if it happened outside of Canada
- Committed an act outside of Canada that is a crime where they were, and that act would be punishable under Canadian law
When Canadian officials determine inadmissibility, they equate foreign laws and convictions to Canadian law, as if they had happened in Canada. Your criminal lawyer in Denver, CO will review your case and advise you on where your pending charges or conviction falls.
DUI in Canada
Canada does not use the terms “felony” or “misdemeanor.” Instead, they have what are known as “summary” and “indictable” offenses. A summary offense is similar to a misdemeanor in the US, while an indictable offense is similar to a felony in the US. In Canada, a DUI can be a summary or indictable offense depending on the circumstances of the case.
Traveling to Canada with a DUI
If you have a DUI pending or a conviction and you need to go to Canada, you may be able to cover your inadmissibility with Criminal Rehabilitation or a Temporary Resident Permit. The temporary permit can allow someone with a DUI to go to Canada for up to three years, and it can be obtained in a relatively quick manner.
Depending on your conviction, how long ago it was, and what your criminal record looked like before and after the conviction, you may still be able to travel to Canada. You may, for example, be able to show an immigration officer that you are eligible to be deemed “rehabilitated” or you can apply for rehabilitation and receive approval.
It’s important to keep in mind that no one can tell you for sure if you will be able to enter Canada if you have a previous conviction for an offense that’s been deemed inadmissible, such as DUI. At every port of entry, the border patrol agent will have a significant amount of authority and discretion when it comes to who they will allow in and who they are going to deny. Even if you were allowed access previously at the same spot or at a different entry point, that does not guarantee you will be able to enter Canada every time you try.
If you are planning on going to Canada or will need to do so in the future, consult a lawyer in Denver, CO about your options before you go so that you don’t make the trip just to be turned away at the border.
Thanks to the Law Office of Richard J. Banta, P.C. for their insight into traveling to Canada after getting a DUI.