Canada with DUI

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Can I Travel to Canada with a DWI Minnesota?

Any American who has ever been arrested for driving while impaired in Minnesota could have problems entering Canada. Driving under the influence is a serious crime north of the border punishable by up to ten years in jail, so even a single Minnesota DWI can render a US citizen "criminally inadmissible" to Canada forever. Minnesota and Canada share a massive border, and many people from Minnesota visit the country each year mostly for leisure purposes such as fishing and hunting. If you have ever been charged or convicted of a DUI in Minneapolis or any other part of MN, however, you may be at substantial risk of a border denial unless you file paperwork with the Government of Canada to convince them you are safe.

In Minnesota, the terms driving while impaired (DWI) and driving under the influence (DUI) are used interchangeably. Even though most DUIs in Minnesota are only a misdemeanor, they can equate to serious criminality above the border which is why Canadian border agents essentially treat them as a felony. Despite Canadians being a friendly bunch, tens of thousands of Americans are denied entry at their border each year. Canada's border security officers have full access to the FBI database, allowing them to instantly flag a visitor with a DWI in Minnesota or any other area of the United States.

If someone has a Minnesota DUI and plans to drive into Canada via the International Falls / Fort Frances border, or another land border crossing, they can eliminate the risk of being denied entry due to the offense by obtaining a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) or Criminal Rehabilitation. Even if someone has no plans to drive while in the country, they can be refused admittance because of a past DWI conviction. Consequently, flying into Canada with a MN DUI can be problematic without special permission, including on a small float plan to a secluded fishing resort or hunting camp. Without a TRP or Rehabilitation, an American can be denied admittance due to a past drinking and driving violation even if they will only be in the country for a short period of time or will not be in a populated area.

Special Permission to Enter Canada with a Minnesota DWI

Temporary Resident Permit - A TRP can grant an American citizen special permission to go to Canada with a Minn DUI but requires an applicant to provide evidence of an important reason for travel. It is possible to request a multiple-entry TRP for up to three years, but they are typically only issued for a single trip at a time unless a person requires access for work purposes.

Criminal Rehabilitation - CR is a permanent fix to Canadian inadmissibility allowing someone with a Minnesota DUI to start crossing the border whenever they want. In order to be eligible to apply for Rehabilitation, however, a person must have finished their entire sentence including any probation at least five years prior. Criminal Rehabilitation also takes a long time to obtain, so some people apply for both a Temporary Resident Permit and CR at the same time hoping to secure fast access to the country while also fixing the issue forever.

Have a DUI in Minnesota and interested in going to Canada? Contact our legal team today for a free consultation!

DWI Laws in Minnesota

Driving while intoxicated in Minnesota is covered by Sec. 169A of the MN Statutes. A first offense DWI in the state of Minnesota can result in a up to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. If the offender's blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was above 0.16, they refused a breathalyzer test, or there was a child in the vehicle, he or she can be charged with a gross misdemeanor which has increased punishments. Minnesota Driver Vehicle Services (DVS) can also suspend a person's driving privileges for 90 days as a result of a first-time DUI incident. Now that Canada considers drunk driving to be a serious crime, traveling there with a DUI can be a challenge even if it was a first and only offense.

A second offense DUI Minnesota can result in up to one year in jail and a $3,000 fine. Administrative sanctions may include a 12-month driver's license suspension and an ignition interlock requirement. If the driver was drunk and had a high BAC, or refused a breath test, their vehicle can also be seized. Additional offenses in a ten-year window can lead to a felony DUI in Minnesota with increased penalties including license plates being impounded and major prison time.

Driving While Impaired vs. Driving with a Blood Alcohol Concentration Over 0.08

The most common charge for DWI in Minnesota requires the State to show that the defendant had control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. There is no blood test required for a driving while impaired charge, the prosecutor simply has to show the individual had physical control of the vehicle and was under the influence of an intoxicating substance such as alcohol. This is commonly proven by a police officer's observations of intoxication such as slurred speed, a field sobriety test, or the smell of alcohol, as well as the driver's conduct such as swerving or abruptly changing lanes.

If a person has a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or more while controlling a motor vehicle in Minnesota, they can also be charged with driving with a prohibited amount of alcohol in their system. A defendant can be found guilty of a MN DUI if a breath, blood, or urine test indicates a BAC of 0.08% or higher within two hours of him or her operating a vehicle. Both charges in Minnesota can equate to a serious crime in Canada, and consequently can render a citizen of the United States inadmissible to the country.

If you have a DUI in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Rochester, Bloomington, Duluth, or any other city or town in Minnesota, and you are interested in going to Canada, give us a call today to discuss your situation and available options.

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