Written by attorney Max A. Keller

Update on Canada Keeping Out Drivers with DWI's

DWI and Canada: relaxed rules up north may not help all with DWI convictions get into Canada.

I have previously written here about a number of the direct and indirect or collateral consequences of a DWI conviction in Minnesota. State laws generally govern many consequences, including sentencing issues and the impact a DWI arrest ( can have on a driver's privilege to drive.

One of the harsh consequences of the state DWI and implied consent laws relates to the driver's license revocation, which can occur without a conviction on a DWI charge. In some cases, the time line to challenge an implied consent loss of license (30 days from date of arrest in the case of a breath test) runs out before a person ever appears in court on the DWI citation. Other collateral consequences can arise in the areas of work, and even travel into Canada.

Many companies use background checks to screen potential employees. A DWI conviction can be the breaking point for many job seekers. But what about travel? We recently discussed the difficulties people have in entering Canada with a DWI ( conviction on their record.

Many Minnesotans need to travel across the Northern border on business. Others may wish to go to Canada on a fishing trip, or some other form of vacation. It is turned out to be a very harsh consequence of a DWI conviction for many to be stopped at the border and kept out of Canada. The tourism industry in Canada has suffered. As a result, Canada now says that beginning March 1, the rules for admissibility may change.

The change, however, is not necessarily a change in the law. The border agent may just have more discretion when determining admissibility into our Northern neighbor, according to a report in the Fort Francis Times.

Generally, Canada says it will relax the turn back rule for convictions of offenses for which a defendant served less than six months in jail. But the relaxed rule appears to primarily rely on the discretion of the border agent.

Minneapolis DWI defense lawyers ( know that it is important to discuss potential DWI allegations with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible after an arrest. Challenging DWI allegations may result in keeping the issue off a person's permanent record in the first place. Although the relaxed rule in Canada may improve chances for entry into Canada for some with a prior DWI conviction, the relaxed rule obviously will not apply to all prior DWIs.

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