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Summer 2016 Tips to Enter Canada with a DUI

Part 1: What vehicle-related offenses put me at risk of criminal inadmissibility?

The summer months offer much-needed time for travel and leisure, and Canada is a prime destination for many vacationers. No one likes having their travel plans disrupted, but unforeseen difficulties can arise if you have a criminal record. Drinking and driving lead to some of the most frequent criminal charges that can affect your ability to enter Canada from the United States or when flying from other countries. Travelers to Canada should be aware that a DUI or similar charges on your record can prevent you from crossing the border, whether your home country categorizes those offenses as felonies or misdemeanours. This page offers a concise overview of various driving-related offenses that can render you criminally inadmissible to Canada, the two most common being DUI and DWI:

  • DUI – Driving Under the Influence
  • DWI – Driving While Intoxicated or Driving While Impaired

Canadian immigration law designates both DUI and DWI as indictable offenses, which are comparable to American felonies and punishable by up to five years in jail. But there are many similar impaired driving charges with different names. Canadian entry rules for DUI and DWI also apply to the following offenses that may appear on your record if you have ever been apprehended for a driving infraction:

  • DWAI – Driving While Ability Impaired
  • DUBAL – Driving With An Unlawful Blood Alcohol Level
  • DUID – Driving Under the Influence of Drugs
  • DUII – Driving Under the Influence of an Intoxicant
  • DUIL – Driving Under the Influence of Liquor
  • DWAI – Driving While Ability Impaired
  • DWUI – Driving While Under the Influence
  • OMVI – Operating a Motor Vehicle while Intoxicated
  • OVI – Operating a Vehicle Impaired
  • OWI – Operating While Intoxicated
  • Wet Reckless

A charge of Wet Reckless signifies reckless driving involving alcohol, but it is not as severe as a DUI. Difficulties at the border may also result from charges such as the following:

  • Dangerous Driving
  • Driving Without Due Care and Attention
  • Improper Driving

These charges do not necessarily involve impairment due to the use of substances. However, their consequences, including their effect on your ability to enter Canada, are more serious if the offense involved alcohol, drugs, or other substances. Entering Canada with a DUI or other charge can become even more difficult if you were criminally convicted for the charges against you.

As with other criminal convictions, being convicted for DUI, DWI, or any of the charges listed above will render you criminally inadmissible to Canada. After you have overcome your inadmissibility, you will need to verify your status at the border with the necessary documentation. But even if you were not criminally convicted, DUI or other charges on your record can still prevent you from entering Canada by way of the United States or other countries. Therefore, you should bring the required paperwork to affirm your admissibility whether or not a conviction occurred, and be prepared to present it to the border authorities.

Charges involving other vehicles

You can also become criminally inadmissible to Canada if you were charged with offenses that involve operating a vehicle besides an automobile or other road vehicle, including any watercraft used for transportation. Like drinking and driving, boating while under the influence of alcohol or other substances can lead to criminal charges on your permanent record. Every U.S. state has laws that criminalize Boating Under the Influence (BUI), an offense that occurs with increased frequency in the summertime. If you are convicted of a BUI, the penalties include jail time, fines, and even revocation of your license depending on the severity of the offense and whether it incurred any injuries or fatalities. Canadian border officials frequently run criminal checks and deny entry to travelers with a BUI on their record.

Contact Firm Immigration Law Firm for a free consultation regarding entering Canada with a DUI.