Can I still go to Canada if I have a DUI conviction?
It’s not necessarily the disposition and conviction of a DUI offense that Canada takes exception to. It’s the fact that under Canadian law, a DUI is an indictable felony offense that raises the red flag at a border crossing or airport. Regardless of the fact that a person was convicted of a misdemeanor offense in Washington or any other state, the policy of the Canadian government has been to deny entry to foreigners who have been found guilty of any indictable offense.
How you might legally get in
For purposes of a DUI conviction, there are two alternatives to the 10 year exclusionary period. You’ll either need to show that you’ve been rehabilitated, or you’ll need a permit for temporary residency. Showing rehabilitation isn’t simple. You need to show that you’ve had no criminal convictions for at least five years from the date that your sentence is completed. You’ll also need to provide full documentation from the court involving your DUI case. A temporary residency permit might even be issued within the five year period after your sentence has been completed if you can show a compelling and urgent need to enter and remain in Canada for a specified period of time.
DUI reduced to reckless or negligent driving
If a case against you was charged as DUI, but a plea agreement was entered to a lesser offense like reckless or negligent driving, that’s ordinarily an insufficient basis to be denied entry into Canada. Remember that entry is up to the complete discretion of the border guards. If you’re denied entry, return to Washington immediately. Don’t try to enter again until such time as Canadian law permits you to do so. Your name is tagged as soon as you’re denied entry, and the denial will immediately show at any other port of entry. You’re likely to be charged criminally if you try.
Even if you were allowed entry into Canada with a DUI conviction on your record in the past, that doesn’t mean that you’ll be allowed entry again. If you believe that a DUI or other criminal conviction might present an obstacle for you to gain legal entry into Canada, contact us here in Spokane for a free consultation. We want to eliminate the risk for you.