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 a DUI Cause a Canada PR to Get Deported?

If a Permanent Resident of Canada commits or is convicted of a serious crime, he or she can be considered criminally inadmissible. According to Canadian immigration law, this can then lead to the individual being deported from Canada. When Bill C-46 came into force in December 2018, driving under the influence (DUI) became a serious crime in Canada punishable by up to ten years of imprisonment. Consequently, a DUI conviction can now render a Canadian Permanent Resident inadmissible on grounds of criminality.

I'm a Canada PR and I Was Arrested for a DUI, Now What?

If a Canada PR Card holder is convicted of impaired driving, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) may send the individual a "fairness letter" saying that they meet the definition of serious criminality. The person can then make a submission arguing that the CBSA should not proceed, including for humanitarian and compassionate reasons. Based on the submissions made, the CBSA officer will decide whether or not to start the inadmissibility process which involves writing a Section 44 report. If the CBSA officer does proceed, the Immigration Division of the Immigration and Refugee Board will hold an "admissibility hearing" to decide if the PR Card holder meets the definition of serious criminality. Humanitarian factors are not considered when this determination is made.

If the Immigration Division decides the person is inadmissible, a Removal Order will be issued. If the individual received a sentence of less than six months in jail, they then have the opportunity to appeal. This involves attending a hearing with the Immigration Appeal Division of the Immigration and Refugee Board, who will either confirm the Removal Order, set aside the Removal Order, or impose a conditional Stay of Removal.

Are you a PR with a recent arrest? Worried you could be deported from Canada? Contact our Canadian immigration law firm today for a free consultation!

Is a DUI Really That Serious?

Many people are shocked to learn the seriousness of intoxicating driving in Canada now that Bill C-46 has been passed into law. While standard criminality only impacts foreign nationals, serious criminality impacts both permanent residents and foreign nationals.

Section 36 (1) of the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA): A permanent resident or a foreign national is inadmissible on grounds of serious criminality for
(a) having been convicted in Canada of an offense under an Act of Parliament punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of at least 10 years, or of an offense under an Act of Parliament for which a term of imprisonment of more than six months has been imposed;
(b) having been convicted of an offense outside Canada that, if committed in Canada, would constitute an offense under an Act of Parliament punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of at least 10 years; or
(c) committing an act outside Canada that is an offense in the place where it was committed and that, if committed in Canada, would constitute an offense under an Act of Parliament punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of at least 10 years.

Consequently, a criminal conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol or driving under the influence of drugs (including marijuana) can result in a Permanent Resident becoming criminally inadmissible according to Canadian law. Other driving offenses such as dangerous operation, reckless driving, hit and run (failure to stop at the scene of an accident), flight from a police officer, and operating with a suspended license can also impact the admissibility of immigrants with permanent residency.

Will I Be Denied Entry at the Canadian Border?

When a foreign national tries to enter Canada with a DUI, he or she will often be denied entry. If an individual with a Canada PR card or Permanent Resident Travel Document (PRTD) attempts to re-enter the country, however, a drunk driving conviction should not be grounds for a border denial. According to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) Enforcement Manual / ENF 23 - Loss of Permanent Resident Status:

"Officers must remain cognizant of the fact that the Act gives permanent residents of Canada the right to enter Canada at a port of entry once it is established that a person is a permanent resident, regardless of non-compliance with the residency obligation in A28 or the presence of other grounds of inadmissibility. Port of entry (POE) officers can refuse entry to a permanent resident only when the person has already lost the status in accordance with the provisions of A46 (such as when a final determination has been made that they have failed to comply with the residency obligations or when a removal order comes into force). In other words, once a permanent resident’s status is established, the person may enter Canada by right and the immigration examination under IRPA concludes."

This being said, CBSA officers may report the person, pursuant to A44(1), if there is sufficient evidence to support an inadmissibility allegation. Basically, a Permanent Resident that has a DUI may be able to exit and successfully return to Canada, but the process of crossing the border could draw attention to their potential inadmissibility. It is important to understand that just because a PR got back into Canada with a DUI without being reported by border patrol does not mean they will never face deportation due to the crime.

Questions about criminal inadmissibility for PRs of Canada with a DUI? Concerned a DUI charge might impact your PR status? Phone our Canadian immigration legal team now!

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If you have a DUI arrest or conviction on your record and need to enter Canada, call us now or fill out this form! 24 Hour Response Time!