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Can You Go to Canada with a DUI?

Can You Go to Canada with a DUI?There are plenty of incredible things to do and places to see in Canada, but if you’ve been convicted of a DUI, you might have to put your plans on hold for a little while.

The United States and Canada view DUI offenses very differently. Generally speaking, a DUI in the U.S. is a misdemeanor offense, barring extenuating circumstances such as accidents involving serious injury or death. In Canada, DUIs are deemed to be “hybrid” offenses, meaning they can be considered “indictable offenses” (felonies) or Summary Conviction Offenses (misdemeanors.) Because they could be considered indictable offenses, Canada automatically prohibits anyone who has been charged with a DUI from entering the country for ten years.

Exceptions to the Ten-Year Exclusion

  • Rehabilitated Status. In order to be deemed “rehabilitated”, you must be able to prove that you haven’t been convicted of a crime for a minimum of five years after you completed your DUI sentence.
  • Temporary Resident Permit. Temporary residents’ permits may be granted any time after you were charged for your DUI, including within the five-year term it takes to be considered “rehabilitated.” In order to be granted a temporary resident permit, you’ll need to show compelling reasons the Canadian government should let you into the country, despite your DUI charge.
  • Expungement of conviction is one way to avoid the problem.

In either case, exceptions to Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Act – which is responsible for the ten-year restriction – aren’t easy to come by. Learn more about visiting Canada as a tourist.

Applying to cross into Canada with a DUI on your record isn’t something you should do last-minute, as it can take weeks or months for the approval to go through.

Related: Can You Beat a DUI without a Lawyer?

What You Should Know Before Attempting to Cross into Canada

If you’ve received a wet reckless conviction in California, you may still be able to enter Canada; however, it’s important to understand that the final say comes from the Canadian Customs agents. Should the officers decide you’re not fit to enter the country, it’s best to turn around, return home, and wait out your five-year period. Customs agents flag people who aren’t permitted into the country in real time, meaning if you try to cross at another border check, you’ll almost assuredly be turned away. Beyond this, you could face Criminal Immigration charges, as a result of ignoring the first agents’ instructions to return to the U.S.

If you’ve been charged with a DUI, it’s best to hire an experienced DUI attorney right away. Without the assistance of a knowledgeable lawyer, you could find yourself facing plenty of fines and unable to partake in even the simplest of endeavors, such as international adventures to the north.

If you have been arrested for DUI in the Los Angeles area, contact us today by filling out the form below or calling (310) 820-1315.

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