As if jail, fines, alcohol screening, counseling and ignition interlock weren't enough, that DUI arrest and/or conviction could prevent you from visiting Grandma Mae in Vancouver for at least the next five years.
While Arizona and other U.S. states treat DUI seriously, Canadian law considers driving impaired such a serious offense, the possibility of being denied entry exists even if the charges were withdrawn or dismissed or you receive an absolute or conditional discharge.
Under Canada's Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, visitors to Canada may not be able to enter if you have been involved in criminal activity. When entering Canada, routine questioning will include “have you ever been convicted of a crime?” While the thought may cross your mind to fudge on the truth, increased cooperation between Canada and the U.S. since 9-11 means that the border agent could already have access to your criminal records. Being caught in a lie could prevent you from entry into Canada for many years. Entering Canada while being considered “inadmissible” is a crime and a violation could result in your arrest, imprisonment and/or deportation.
So how does one overcome criminal inadmissibility when you've been convicted of a DUI? By applying for rehabilitation. Unfortunately the waiting period to become eligible to apply is at least five (5) years after the sentence imposed was served; or, waiting for at least ten years after the sentence imposed was served at which time you are deemed rehabilitated.
Please note the phrase “sentence imposed was served.” Examples of time computation are as follows:
1. You were sentenced on June 10, 2006, and were placed on probation for a period of three years. Under this scenario, you would be unable to apply for rehabilitation until five (5) years after your three-year probation terminated. In this instance, you would not be able to apply until approximately June 10, 2014.
2. If your license was suspended for any period of time as a result of your conviction, you are unable to apply for a period of five (5) years after the date your driver's license was reinstated.
3. If there was any jail ordered as a result of your conviction, you would be unable to apply until five (5) years from your release from jail.
For purposes of time computation, it is five (5) years from the date you completed the last term of your sentence, not necessarily the date of conviction. Same thing goes for the ten-year period where you are “deemed rehabilitated.”
Much information on this subject can be obtained through the Canadian Citizen and Immigration Department. Assistance in calculating the five-year waiting period, application for rehabilitation, supporting documentation needed and application fees can all be obtained through their website.
If you find yourself facing DUI or criminal charges, contact the lawyers at the Law Offices of Craig W. Penrod for a free initial legal consultation. Craig Penrod has been certified by the State Bar of Arizona as a criminal law specialist and The Law Offices of Craig W. Penrod has been involved in criminal and DUI defense for more than 20 years.