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).

Traveling to Canada After Being Arrested for DUI but Before a Conviction

People sometimes think that so long as they have not yet been officially convicted of impaired driving they are still free to travel to Canada after an arrest. This is simply not true; for the purposes of Canadian immigration there is absolutely no presumption of innocence. This means that as soon as someone is arrested for drunk driving in the US, they may be considered inadmissible to Canada even though they have not yet been convicted of any offense.

Consequently, foreign nationals with a trial under way, charges pending against them, or a warrant out for their arrest may be criminally inadmissible to Canada, and border officials can treat them similar to if they already had a conviction which means they may be denied entry to Canada. For this reason, if an individual wants to travel north of the border while awaiting trial for DUI (or if the court records have not been filed yet showing a favorable outcome) he or she may need to obtain a Canada Temporary Resident Permit to avoid the risk of being turned away at the border.

To avoid applying for special entrance permission, individuals with a pending DWI or open DUI case in which they strongly believe they will be found "not guilty" will sometimes choose to hold off on traveling to Canada until after their court date. Once a person receives a complete acquittal, they may no longer be inadmissible to Canada due to criminality and may not require a Temporary Resident Permit to cross the border. A "no conviction" outcome is quite rare in most states, however, and even if a lawyer manages to have a person's DUI reduced significantly to dangerous driving or a wet reckless they will likely still be ineligible to go to Canada without special permission from the government. For this reason, many Americans arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs who need access to Canada, especially for work, choose to immediately begin the Temporary Resident Permit application process while their charges are still pending. Even if your DWI charges are dropped completely or you are found not guilty in the court of law, going to Canada after a DUI case was dismissed without prejudice can still be challenging since the original arrest will likely be visible to Canadian immigration officials at the border.

Why Does Canada Deny Entry to Americans Pending Trial?

According to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) ENF 2/OP 18 "Evaluating Inadmissibility", the country first and foremost wants to "prevent Canadian territory being used as a safe haven by persons who are subject to a criminal proceeding in a foreign jurisdiction." In order to be found criminally inadmissible to Canada while awaiting trial, Canada requires there to be evidence of criminal activity that if prosecuted in the country would potentially result in a conviction. The judicial system in the United States and Canada both prosecute intoxicated driving in a similar fashion, however, so a pending DUI can result in a border denial when attempting to visit Canada. Border agents can be particularly tough on visitors with a driving while intoxicated incident in their past because a DUI is a serious crime under Canadian law and can result in a sentence of up to ten years in prison.

To learn more about going to Canada with a pending DUI give us a phone call or fill out our contact form for a free assessment.

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