Its close physical proximity (in fact, a shared border with us Minnesotans) and cultural similarity can lead some people to forget that Canada is in fact a foreign nation. Given that Canada is a sovereign nation it has its own special requirements that must be complied with before someone can be granted access to enter the country. It may come as a surprise to many people, but criminal convictions, even convictions for minor infractions such as drunk driving, can be enough to prevent entry into Canada.
Criminal history can prevent entry into Canada
Canadian law says that even if a person has a valid passport and meets other requirements for admittance into the country, he or she can still be denied entry if he or she committed a crime. The criminal act does not have to take place in Canada, meaning that criminal convictions in the United States for a range of crimes including drug offenses or even reckless driving can result in a refused entry. Since 9/11, Canadian and American officials have agreed to share more information with one another, resulting in Canadian border officials being able to easily search the criminal histories of American visitors.
DWI can prevent entry into Canada
Drunk driving charges are among those that can bar a person’s entry into Canada. To the surprise of many, even DWI arrests without conviction can result in a person being turned away from the border. The laws say that if a drunk driving trial is underway, if there is a warrant out for your arrest, if charges are listed as pending or if the Canadian border patrol officer has reason to believe that you committed an offense outside of Canada, then a person can be prevented from entering the country.
The issue of Americans being denied access to Canada is not a small one, with the Canadian Border Services Agency reporting that the number of Americans turned away from the border every year exceeds 5,000. Anecdotal evidence by those familiar with cross-border issues indicate that there has been an uptick in the number of drunk driving-related denials in recent years due to the continued expansion of Canada’s access to American criminal databases.
So if you’ve been convicted of a crime does that mean you’ll never be allowed to gain entry into the country? Thankfully no, if a person has been deemed criminally inadmissible into the country they can later gain access to the country by either applying for a Temporary Resident Permit or by applying for criminal rehabilitation. People can apply for rehabilitation if they committed a crime outside of Canada for which they were convicted if five years has passed since the end of the sentence. To gain entry you will need to prove that the required time has gone by and that you have led a stable lifestyle since the conviction. A stable lifestyle can be demonstrated by noting your maintenance of a permanent residence, holding down a job and even by providing a reference letter.
Those seeking criminal rehabilitation for entry into Canada should be aware that the process could take some time. In some cases the application can take a year or more to be considered.
What’s the best time to consult with a DWI Attorney located in Minneapolis, MN
Obviously, the best time to arrange a consultation with a DUI Lawyer is as soon as you’ve been arrested. The best way to prevent the ramifications for drunk driving is to hire an experienced and qualified attorney with the goal of preventing a conviction. Douglas T. Kans and his team have successfully represented thousands of individuals charged with all levels of alcohol related driving offenses. Feel free to contact us to arrange your free consultation and case review.