Canada with DUI

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DUI Canada entry

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 Go to Canada with a DUI If I Do Not Tell Them?

If a US citizen has a DUI in their past and wants to travel north of the border, it can be natural to wonder if getting into Canada is a possibility by simply pretending the offense never happened. The short answer is no, Canada has full access to the FBI's NCIC database and can instantly flag an American visitor with a past arrest. A DUI is now considered serious criminality in Canada with penalties of up to ten years in prison, so even a single DUI, DWI, OVI, OWI, DWAI, or reckless driving conviction from long ago can cause a traveler to be denied entry. Let us start by addressing the elephant in the room, lying when attempting to enter Canada is always a horrible idea! If an individual is caught misrepresenting their criminal history when visiting Canada, their chances of getting across the border any time soon will likely drop significantly. A Canadian border official will almost certainly deny the person entry on the spot, and may even ban the individual from Canada for several years with no chance to appeal. Just because Canadians are stereotypically friendly does not mean that Canada's border officials are lenient.

Not disclosing a criminal record to authorities when asked is also an ineffective strategy to gain admittance. It is extremely easy for Canadian immigration officers to flag criminally inadmissible individuals at the border even if the person lies to them. When a person enters Canada, they must hand their passport to the authority who will then swipe or scan it into their computer database which can immediately detect that the person has a DUI since the United States and Canada share criminal and motor vehicle databases. At this point, the border agent will likely ask the individual if they have ever been arrested before. If the person tells the truth and says "yes", then if they are criminally inadmissible to Canada and do not present a TRP application they risk a border rejection. If they lie and say "no", however, then not only may the border agent refuse them entry because of criminal inadmissibility, they could also risk being barred from entering Canada for 3-10 years for purposely attempting to deceive the officer.

The term "criminally inadmissible" refers to people who are not allowed to enter or stay in Canada because of past criminal activity. If an individual committed or was convicted of a potentially indictable offense in Canada, or an equivalent offense outside of Canada provided it would be punishable under Canadian law, then they may be considered to be criminally inadmissible and not allowed to enter the country without special permission. Some people seem to think that Canada just pretends to be strict at the border, but does not actually actively deny Americans who have gotten caught drinking and driving from entering their nation. Frankly, this is flat out incorrect; in 2016, Canada denied entry to 30,233 Americans, often because they had prior criminal offenses such as US DUIs. Being refused entry into Canada is not a big deal in comparison to the consequences you can encounter for purposely misleading immigration authorities at the border, however.

A huge mistake that some people make after being denied entry to Canada is to attempt to enter the country again shortly after by going to a different Point of Entry. This simply does not work, and thinking you have a fresh chance when dealing with a new officer is flawed reasoning. Every Port of Entry (POE) has access to a centralized database that is instantly updated as soon as someone is denied admission into the country. If border officers think you are trying to evade the system to gain illegal entry, you may further jeopardize your ability to travel to Canada for a significant duration of time. Never forget, entry into Canada is at the complete and sole discretion of the border agent, and they do not like to be lied to or deceived in any way and will punish those who do accordingly.

Canada's border agents often ask questions such as "have you ever been arrested?" or "do you have any criminal history?" that are usually fairly vague and open-ended. Even if a US citizen only has a civil DUI violation such as a NY DWAI or NJ DWI and does not have an actual misdemeanor or felony conviction, they have still been arrested in the past and technically have a criminal history. California DUI convictions are often expunged, but even a DUI expungement is still visible when flying to Canada. Consequently, honestly is always the best policy when dealing with border agents at the Canadian border.

Attempting to successfully visit Canada by not disclosing that you have a DUI or DWI is not a smart idea, plain and simple. Rather than risk your future ability to enter the country by telling lies, phone us today or fill out our free entry assessment form and let our knowledgeable team help you legally enter Canada with a DWI. We assist people who are inadmissible to Canada due to impaired driving convictions day in and day out and are excellent at what we do, so never think that sneaking into Canada is your only option.

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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!