Canada with DUI

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Can You Travel to Canada with a Wet Reckless?

It is extremely common in a few states, such as California, for a first offense DUI to get lowered to the lesser charge of wet reckless driving or "wet and reckless" if the driver's blood alcohol content (BAC) was near the legal limit of 0.08 percent and there was no accident. Even though a wet reckless is a less severe offense than misdemeanor driving under the influence, it can still render a person criminally inadmissible to Canada and cause them to be denied entry at the border unless they have received special permission to enter the country.

A misdemeanor wet reckless typically equates to a full DUI in Canada, which is now a serious crime punishable by up to ten years in jail. Consequently, even a single wet reckless conviction from long ago can be an issue when visiting the country. Crossing the Canadian border with a California wet reckless can lead to a refusal of entry if the traveler has not received governmental permission to do so. Special permission to travel to Canada with a wet reckless conviction is available as Criminal Rehabilitation or a Temporary Resident Permit.

Criminal Rehabilitation can allow an American to overcome their wet reckless permanently but can take up to one year to receive and is only available to people who have finished their full sentence including probation at least 60 months earlier. A Temporary Resident Permit can enable a US citizen or US resident to go to Canada with a wet reckless on their record fairly quickly, but is only valid for a limited period of time and must be requested for a specific reason. Canadian TRPs can be valid for multiple entries for up to three years, and can even be applied for at the border if a person requires urgent entry to the country.

Want to learn more about Canada wet reckless entry? Contact our legal team now for a free evaluation.

Wet Reckless vs. Dry Reckless

Although the exact language of a wet reckless driving charge can vary from state to state, it always implies the involvement of alcohol or drugs. Since Canada does not have a wet reckless statute, such a conviction frequently equates to a full DUI which is considered serious criminality north of the border. Even without the involvement of alcohol, reckless driving can be viewed similar to a felony by Canadian border authorities at airports and land border crossings. The equivalent Canadian law to a misdemeanor reckless driving in USA is found in the Criminal Code of Canada section 249(1)(a) and is called "Dangerous Operation of a Motor Vehicle."

Dangerous operation is a hybrid offense that can be punished by up to ten years in jail, which is why equivalent offenses from the United States can result in trouble at the border. The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that this statute is narrower than many of the reckless driving statutes in the United States, however, so it could be argued that some reckless driving convictions do not equate to a potentially indictable offense north of the border. Since a dry reckless driving charge does not explicitly mention alcohol, in rare cases it could be argued that it will not necessarily render a person criminally inadmissible to Canada. This being said, if someone has a DUI arrest that resulted in a wet reckless driving conviction, it will be extremely clear that the offense involved possible impairment and thus could equate to a serious crime under Canadian law. In general, entering Canada with a reckless driving conviction pled down from a DUI charge is similar to entering Canada with a wet reckless conviction, as both offenses can be extremely concerning to border authorities.

A California wet reckless is generally highly recommended over its DUI counterpart as it frequently does not include a mandatory driver's license suspension, may have a shorter probation period, and do not necessarily require an ignition interlock device (IID) to be installed in the offender's car. A misdemeanor wet reckless driving conviction in California can still lead to a border refusal when attempting to visit Canada, however, unless the person has acquired a TRP or Rehabilitation.

In addition to a wet reckless, other misdemeanor driving offenses that can potentially result in an individual being denied entry to Canada are dry reckless driving (no alcohol involved), dangerous driving, negligent driving, careless driving, reckless endangerment, driving without due care and attention, and improper driving. If a misdemeanor conviction for wet reckless is expunged in California via a 1203.4 Record Clearance it may be possible for the person to fly into Canada without a TRP or Rehab but a Canadian immigration attorney should always be consulted beforehand.

Subsequent Impaired Driving Convictions

Frequently referred to as a "wet and reckless" and occasionally called a "baby DUI", a wet reckless can count as a prior DUI offense if a person is arrested for drunk driving in the future. This not only leads to a much more serious punishment, a second drinking and driving offense can result in a person no longer being eligible for grandfathered Deemed Rehabilitation by the virtue of time. If an American has a single wet reckless driving conviction that took place before impaired driving was considered a serious crime in Canada, he or she may be "deemed rehabilitated" or assumed safe by Canada ten years after completion of all sentencing.

If an American has an old wet reckless conviction as well as a DUI or DWI, he or she may never be able to enter Canada regardless of how long ago each incident occurred unless special permission is acquired. Now that driving impaired is a serious crime in Canada, such offenses no longer qualify for Deemed Rehabilitation after ten years and even a single misdemeanor conviction for wet reckless can render an American inadmissible to Canada forever.

Entering Canada with Wet Reckless

The process of traveling to Canada with a wet reckless arrest or conviction is extremely similar to the process of going to Canada with a DUI. In both scenarios, criminal inadmissibility is determined by the equivalent Canadian law and is overcome with either a Temporary Resident Permit or Rehabilitation.

Want to go to Canada but have a wet reckless? Call us today for a free consultation with our Canadian immigration legal team.

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