>You Got a DUI, Eh? The Canadian Take on Drinking and Driving.

>Unfortunately, the rumors are true. It seems our friends to the North are fair-weathered when it comes to those charged with drinking and driving in the States. This may seem strange with the hyped news stories tauting flippancy to marijuana possession and legalized escort services. Certainly one would think that Canada is a forested land of parties. However, the Canadian Government prevents certain non-Canadian citizens from entering Canada under their restrictive immigration laws. These laws create inadmissible classes for those who have been charged with offenses that translate into felonies when placed into the Canadian mentality.

Canada regards DUI/DWI offenses as very serious in nature, therefore placing those non-Canadian citizens charged with these offenses (and even those granted reductions by the US Courts) into their discretion to be turned away at the border. A DUI is an indictable offense in Canada that may be punished by imprisonment for up to a five year term. Therefore, U.S. convictions that equate to a felony or indictable offense in Canada is excludable from Canada and even if the offense is not a felony or indictable in Canada, Customs and Immigration Officers have ultimate authority to permit and deny entry into Canada under the rationale of immigration protection.

This means if you want to visit the land of fish, water, moose and mosquitoes–you’ll have to go to some extra measures if you have a DUI conviction or charge on your record, especially if it is less than 5 years old. A temporary pass to the country can be applied for, as well as an application for “criminal rehabilitation approval” but both take time and are within the Canadian government’s discretion to grant.

So remember, these applications are not guaranteed and should be done well in advance to a planned visit. Save yourself some time by educating yourself in deportable offenses…or head South, Cabo is just as nice.