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A DUI/DWI May Prevent You From Entering Canada

A DUI/DWI can have serious collateral consequences. A common question, particularly for those living in Minnesota, is whether a DUI/DWI will prevent you from entering Canada. This blog post explores that question. 

Each country has the ability to place conditions and restrictions on who may enter. Generally speaking, in order to visit Canada, you must

  1. have a valid travel document, such as a passport;
  2. be in good health;
  3. not have any criminal or immigration-related convictions or pending charges;
  4. convince an immigration officer that you have ties--such as a job, home, family--that will take you back to your home country after your visit;
  5. convince an immigration officer that you will leave Canada after your visit; and
  6. have enough money for your stay.

There are other requirements that may be imposed as well.

For some, the biggest hurdle to clear is proving that you are not "criminally inadmissible," which generally means you must demonstrate to an immigration officer that you have not been convicted of or have pending charges for a crime. Canadian immigration officers learn about your background through checks of your criminal record as well as your driving record.

The list of crimes that can lead to one being deemed "criminally inadmissible" includes both minor and serious crimes, such as theft, assault, manslaughter, dangerous driving, and possession of or trafficking in drugs or controlled substances. Importantly, this list of crimes also includes driving under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance.

There are several factors that bear on the question of whether you may be admitted into Canada despite the fact that you have been charged with or convicted of a disqualifying crime. Those factors include the nature of the crime, how long ago it was committed, and how you have behaved since. To be admitted despite a charge or conviction, you need to do one of the following:

  1. convince an immigration officer that you meet the legal definition of being "deemed rehabilitated;"
  2. apply and be approved for rehabilitation;
  3. receive a record suspension; or
  4. have a temporary resident permit.

For more information about being allowed into Canada despite a pending charge or conviction of a disqualifying offense, check out the Government of Canada's website regarding criminal inadmissibility or contact Grant Borgen at Bird, Jacobsen & Stevens, P.C. If you have been arrested for or charged with DUI/DWI, it is important to contact a lawyer as soon as possible.

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