Canada with DUI

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Canadian immigration lawyer focused on Canada DUI entry from USA. We offer free comprehensive consultations (unlike most companies who demand a retainer before assessing your options).

Can I Enter Canada with a Reckless Driving?

It is widely known that the Canadian border is extremely tough on DUIs, but many Americans are unaware that a reckless driving can also be problematic. Even with no mention of impairment, a dry reckless driving equates to a crime in Canada that is punishable by up to ten years in prison. Consequently, Canadian border agents can view a reckless driving almost like a felony and can deny entrance to a visitor with such an incident in their past.

Now that Canada considers dangerous driving to be serious criminality even if the offender was not intoxicated, a single misdemeanor for reckless driving, reckless endangerment, or reckless operation can render a US citizen criminally inadmissible to the country for life. If an American has a past reckless driving and does not want to avoid Canada, they can apply for special permission to cross the border. This involves convincing the Canadian Government that you will never reoffend and should be considered safe to visit.

If you completed all sentencing including any probation more than five years ago, you are likely eligible for a permanent fix called Criminal Rehabilitation. If approved for Canadian Rehabilitation, your reckless will never again be an issue at the border and you can travel to Canada as often as you wish. If someone is not yet eligible for Rehabilitation, they may be able to apply for a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) which is an entry waiver with a maximum duration of three years. A Canadian TRP is typically only issued for important or "compelling" reasons such as work or business.

Want to travel to Canada but have a reckless driving? Phone us today for a FREE consultation!

So I Can Enter Canada with a Reckless Driving?

Yes, it is possible to get into Canada with a reckless driving conviction by obtaining a Temporary Resident Permit or Criminal Rehabilitation (CR). If a traveler attempts to enter Canada without a TRP or Rehabilitation, however, they may be denied entry if they are classified as criminally inadmissible due to a past reckless in USA. Similar to reckless driving, offenses for reckless endangerment, reckless operation, careless driving, and dangerous driving can also be an obstacle when trying to get into Canada. Since both TRP and CR applications involve a substantial volume of paperwork, many Americans with a DUI or reckless driving decide to simply avoid the country.

How Does Canada Know I Have a Reckless Driving?

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) shares their full criminal database with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). Consequently, when a visitor presents their US passport or Enhanced Driver's License (EDL) upon arrival at the border, agents can immediately detect the person has misdemeanor conviction for reckless driving. Even if the incident was only considered a civil traffic violation, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) can likely still flag the arrest.

Wondering if your past reckless driving might cause you to be denied entry? Contact our team for a complimentary evaluation.

Can I Go to Canada with a Reckless Driving From Long Ago?

As of December 2018, crimes such as reckless driving, dangerous driving, careless driving, negligent driving, reckless endangerment, or reckless operation can be considered potentially serious by Canada. Consequently, a misdemeanor conviction for reckless driving from the United States can now ban a person from Canada forever.

Prior to the nation strengthening their laws, however, there used to be a ten-year forgiveness rule for a solo offense. If someone from America could prove they completed all sentencing for their DUI or reckless driving more than 10 years prior, and there was no other criminal history, they may be considered "Deemed Rehabilitated by virtue of time" and allowed in. If a US citizen has a single reckless driving conviction from long before Canada strengthened their laws, and zero other arrests, they may be eligible for "grandfathered in" Deemed Rehabilitation but should always consult a qualified lawyer before attempting to travel.

Does Canada Actually Care About a Reckless Driving?

Many Americans are shocked to learn how strict their Northern neighbor can be on driving violations. For this reason, some people can be skeptical and think that such an aggressive rule is not actually enforced. Over the years, our law firm has been contacted by hundreds of people who were denied admittance because of a reckless driving in USA. It happens a lot, and anyone who is doubtful is welcome to phone the CBSA and verify their policy on convictions related to dangerous operation of a motor vehicle.

Wet Reckless vs. Dry Reckless Driving

If the language of a statute contains any mention of impairment from alcohol or drugs, Canada will likely equate the crime to driving under the influence in their country. For example: a first-time DUI charge in California is commonly reduced to a wet reckless, but Canada will typically still consider this equivalent to a full DUI north of the border. In general, being convicted of reckless driving involving drugs or alcohol in America will impact admission into Canada in a similar fashion to a DWI.

If the language of the law in USA you were convicted under does not contain any mention of intoxication, Canada may equate it to their "dangerous operation" statute. Even if the original arrest was for suspicion of driving while impaired, a dry reckless driving conviction will often be treated as equivalent to dangerous operation by Canadian authorities. For example: in Florida, if a defendant has no priors a misdemeanor DUI charge will often be lowered to a reckless driving with zero language about alcohol or possible impairment. While border officers will often differentiate such a conviction from drunk driving, the max punishment of the equivalent crime in Canada means agents can still consider it to be serious. Consequently, trying to get into Canada with reckless driving in your past is not much different than DUI travel.

How to Enter Canada with Reckless Driving Record

If a person has a trip to Canada scheduled, or wants the ability to travel there in the future, they are often interested in petitioning the Federal Government of Canada for access to the nation. For example, a flight attendant or commercial pilot with a past conviction for reckless driving will commonly require access to Canada for employment purposes. In such a case, he or she can submit paperwork to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to request special permission to cross the border. If someone is eligible for a pardon, requesting Criminal Rehabilitation is preferable over a TRP since it never expires. If a permanent solution is not yet an option, however, a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) can enable a USA citizen to cross the border with a criminal record for reckless driving for as long as it is valid.

Can I Get Into Canada with a Reckless Driving Charge That Was Dismissed?

CBSA agents do not always presume innocence. If they discover a visitor was previously charged with DUI or reckless driving in the United States, they may be unwilling to admit the person unless they can prove a "favorable" outcome such as a dismissal. If an American was found not guilty of their reckless driving charge, or otherwise beat their case, they may have a case for admissibility but should always consult a qualified professional. Likewise, if an individual had their reckless driving charge dismissed via a diversion program, or successfully participated in a deferred prosecution program, they may also have an argument that the offense should now equate to a non-conviction in Canada. In such a case, a Legal Opinion Letter from an experienced attorney may be advisable to help facilitate a successful border crossing.

Questions about traveling to Canada with a reckless driving history? We are happy to help.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):
Can Americans get into Canada after a DUI?
Am I allowed to enter Canada with DUI?
Can a person visit Canada with a misdemeanor for DUI?
Am I permitted to travel into Canada with conviction for DWI?

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