Can a DUI Stop Me From Travelling to Canada?

By Jonathan Blecher on July 22, 2016

With its breathtaking scenery, pristine cities, and majestic

mountains, it’s no wonder why Canada is a popular tourist destination. Vancouver, Banff National Park, Niagara Falls, Montreal, Toronto, Quebec City, Vancouver Island, Whistler, Ottawa, and Calgary – there is so much to see.

Whether you are planning on visiting Canada for that once in a lifetime trip, to visit family, or to conduct business, you may find that your travel plans come to a screeching halt if you are convicted of driving under the influence in Miami or anywhere else in the United States.

“But why?” you might ask, it’s not as if DUIs are normally considered violent offenses. Unfortunately, if you want to travel to Canada and you have a DUI conviction on your record in the past 10 years, you may be barred from stepping foot on Canadian soil.

Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act determined that certain individuals with criminal records are “inadmissible,” and will NOT be allowed to enter Canada. Specifically, individuals, including American citizens, who were convicted of a criminal offense that could be prosecuted as a felony in Canada – these people are not allowed to enter Canada.

Much like many jurisdictions in the U.S., Canada has “hybrid” offenses, which can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or a felony. In the United States, DUIs can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the defendant’s criminal record, and whether anyone else was injured or killed in the DUI incident.

According to Canada’s legal customs, DUIs are considered hybrid offenses. Since a DUI conviction in Florida can be prosecuted as a felony in Canada, individuals convicted of DUI in the U.S. are not admissible to Canada, unless the individual effectively takes advantage of one of the following solutions:

Criminal Rehabilitation: If five years have passed since the person completed their DUI sentence, he or she can apply for rehabilitation. If such an individual is granted criminal rehabilitation, they will be allowed to travel to Canada.

Rehabilitated Due to Time: If it’s been 10 years since the individual completed their DUI sentence and they do not have any other history of criminal activity, he or she will be considered “rehabilitated” simply because 10 years passed.

Obtaining a Temporary Resident Permit: If a person is seeking a short-term visit because of an urgent matter or exceptional circumstance, for example, the birth of their baby, or for medical treatment, they may be able to receive a Temporary Resident Permit.

For more information about traveling to Canada when facing DUI charges or after a DUI conviction, contact my Miami DUI firm at 305-321-3237 for a free case evaluation!

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