Can I go to Canada if I have a DUI in the US?
Criminal Offense, Inadmissibility, DUI, Canada, Entering Canada with a DUI, conviction, Temporary Resident Permit, Criminal Rehabilitation, Waiver
The shortest of answers would be *no*. But why is that?Canada has laws which state that a person who commits an offense outside of Canada, for which there is a similar equivalent offense in Canada, will not be allowed entry into the country. These laws basically deal with the issue of inadmissibility and a person who commits such an offense therefore becomes inadmissible.
Same DifferenceAlcohol-related driving offenses in the United States have different names depending on the state in which the offense takes place. For example, they may be called:
DUI (Driving Under the Influence)
OVI (Operating a Vehicle under the Influence)
DWAI (Driving While Ability Impaired)
OUI (Operating Under the Influence)
OMVI (Operating a Motor Vehicle under the Influence)
DWI (Driving While Intoxicated)
InadmissibilityAs Canada also considers drinking and driving to be a criminal offense, anyone convicted of DUI, DWAI, DWI or any other such offense, will consequently become inadmissible and be denied entry to Canada unless the appropriate permission is requested. It should also be noted that a person does not have to be convicted for inadmissibility to apply. Being charged with a DUI is sufficient for a person to become inadmissible, even if the outcome of the case is still pending. Inadmissibility will therefore continue to apply until a final outcome is reached in the case, at which point one of two things can happen. A conviction can result, in which case the person continues to be inadmissible. Pleading nolo contendere, which is way of not opposing the prosecution*s claim, though at the same time not admitting guilt, will not prevent inadmissibility from applying. In the same way, a suspended imposition of sentence will, for the purpose of determining whether inadmissibility applies, still be considered a conviction, meaning a person will be prevented from entering Canada.
DismissalIf, however, before or after trial, a charge for DUI or DWI for example, is dismissed, this specific offense can no longer be used as grounds for inadmissibility. As such, if a person had only that one DUI or DWI on record, which was ultimately dismissed, he or she should be able to once again enter Canada. However, as each case is unique, and you should speak with a professional specialized in the matter.
New LegislationPeople who had one DUI on record, had committed no other offenses, and had completed all conditions pertaining to their sentence over 10 years ago used to be deemed rehabilitated. However, changes in the Canadian Criminal Code, which came into effect in December 2018, means that inadmissibility will once again apply for those individuals, regardless of how long ago the DUI occurred.
You have optionsConsequently, for people with one DUI or more on their record that have not been dismissed, and who wishes to enter Canada, there would be two possible options. The first would be to apply for a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP). As the name implies, a TRP can be summed up as a temporary permission granted to inadmissible individuals who would otherwise be denied entry to Canada. The processing, and if approved, the duration, are both discretionary. As it is temporary, once the approved duration expires, the individual once again becomes inadmissible and must either apply for a new TRP or look into a more permanent solution, if eligible.
An application for Criminal Rehabilitation would be, if approved, the solution, which removes inadmissibility permanently, and the individual can then once again be allowed to enter Canada, subject to the same immigration laws everyone else must comply with. This would also be a worthwhile option for any individual who had previously been considered deemed rehabilitated by the effect of time, and who will become inadmissible following the changes to the law in December 2018. As the processing times involved are longer than those for a TRP application, a person with an immediate or eventual need to travel to Canada, but who also wishes to permanently resolve their inadmissibility issue, should consider applying for a TRP while a Criminal Rehabilitation application is in processing.
Disclaimer:Please note that the above scenarios are hypothetical only and do not constitute legal advice. As each case is unique, should you have any specific questions pertaining to your situation, we invite to consult us as part of a free consultation.