Slipping across the border to the ‘great white north’ is a pretty common vacation choice for those of us living in Michigan. Whether it’s to sightsee, visit relatives, or simply purchase items not available in the US (Dunkaroos and Hickory Sticks anyone?) But whatever your reason for heading north, there are a few things you need to consider before you plan your next Canadian vacation. Specifically, do you have a DUI?
If your answer was yes, you may have a problem. Under Canadian immigration law, if you have committed, or been convicted of a crime, you may not be allowed to cross the border into Canada. Canadian law calls this “criminally inadmissible.” In other words, you may not get past Canadian Border Control into their country because of your drunk driving conviction. The is another of the collateral consequences of having a criminal record.
The list of crimes that may make you criminally inadmissible when it comes to Canadian border patrol is actually quite long, including
- Drug Crimes, and you guessed it…
- Driving under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol.
Canadian officials consider drunk driving to be a serious offense. For that reason, if you have a DUI, OWI or any kind of drunk driving offense on your record, there’s a good chance they won’t allow you into the country. This includes if you’re crossing the border as a passenger in someone else’s vehicle.
According to Canada’s Health and Security regulations, any foreigners with criminal records may be turned away at the border.
In addition, Canadian Border Police have complete discretion to allow or deny entry to anybody at any time. But don’t lose hope! If you have your heart set on going to Canada, and you have a drunk driving conviction on your record, there are still perfectly legal ways for you to get into the country. For example…
If it you can convince the border patrol officer that you have been deemed rehabilitated, then they may still be allowed you to enter. Deemed rehabilitated means, according to Canada’s Government, that “enough time has passed since you were convicted, that your crime may no longer bar you from entering Canada.” There are other factors besides time that affect this as well. For example, how many crimes you committed, and what type of crimes they were.
If it has been more than five years since your DUI, it’s usually no longer considered to be an issue by Canadian authorities, and you will be able to cross the border as if it never happened. If however, it hasn’t been a full five years since your most recent DUI conviction, you may apply for a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP). A Temporary Resident Permit allows an individual who would otherwise have been deemed inadmissible, to enter the country for a specific purpose.
However, it’s important to remember that when you apply for a TRP, you will be required to specify exactly why you want to enter Canada. Your reasons will have to be compelling. Reasons like “I need a vacation” or “I ran out of bagged milk and butter tarts” aren’t going to cut it. In most cases, a work related reason is usually considered sufficient. Also, you need to remember that the TRP application process can take up to a year, so plan ahead!
So if you’re hoping to go to Canada, and you have a DUI on your record, Attorney John English suggests you contact a Canadian immigration attorney first. They should be able to help you determine whether or not your reasons are compelling enough, and how to go about applying for a TRP.
If however, you’ve been charged with drunk driving or drugged driving here in Michigan and you know that Canada is on your bucket list, call The Kronzek Firm right now at 866 766 5245. The best way to avoid a DUI on your record is to fight the charge from the very start with the help of a highly skilled and experienced DUI defense attorney. Dealing with a charge after the fact is alway much harder than working to keep it off your record in the first place.