Can You Travel to Canada with DWAI?
DWAI, short for driving while ability impaired, is considered a lower-level offense than DWI or DUI but is treated the exact same by Canadian immigration law. For
this reason, anyone who has a DWAI may be criminally inadmissible to Canada unless he or she has been issued special permission. There
are two ways to receive permission to cross the border with a DWAI. A Canada Temporary Resident Permit enables a person to overcome their
criminal inadmissibility on a short term basis, while Criminal Rehabilitation allows someone to fix the problem permanently. A Temporary
Resident Permit, also called a Canada TRP, can be good for up to 3 years (several entries) or for as little as one day (single entry). Criminal
Rehabilitation (CR) will permit an individual with a DWAI to travel to Canada for the rest of their life.
If you have a DWAI and wish to enter Canada, phone our team now for a free extensive consultation with a Canadian immigration lawyer.
New York DWAI
In New York state, anyone operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above 0.08 may be charged with driving
while intoxicated or DWI. Anyone operating a motor vehicle while impaired but with a blood alcohol content (BAC) between 0.05 and 0.08 may
be charged with driving while ability impaired. Even though a first-time DWAI conviction is not criminal in New York, the Canadian
equivalent is still a hybrid offense with the potential to be indictable, and can therefore render a person ineligible to cross the border without a Canada TRP or CR. A first offense
DWAI in New York often involves a fine of $500 - $2000, as well as a license suspension for 90 days.
In the State of Colorado, if a driver is impaired "to the slightest degree" and a blood or breath test result is .05% to .08% they will likely
get a DWAI charge. If the breathalyzer result is above .08 the driver will get a full blown DUI. In Colorado, if a person's BAC was below
0.08% and there is zero indication of drug use, the DMV will not revoke the driver's license. Penalties for subsequent convictions can include
up to 180 days imprisonment.
If you have a D.W.A.I or driving while ability impaired violation on your record, crossing the Canadian border can result in you being denied entry. Canada has full access to American criminal and motor vehicle databases, and they can see your DWAI arrest or conviction as soon as it happens. Even if you are awaiting trial and have not yet received a DWAI conviction, you may not be permitted entry into Canada after the initial arrest occurs unless you have special permission or can prove a favorable court ruling.
If you have a DWAI or other alcohol related conviction and need to go to Canada, contact our team today.