New Changes for Travel to Canada with a DUI

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New Changes for Travel to Canada with a DUI

Canada recently changed some of its legislation regarding entering their country with a DUI conviction. Since the changes were so sudden (and took place at the end of the year in December, 2018), it is creating a mess for American travelers with prior convictions who are trying to get to Canada for work, business or family trips.

We have a guide on our website to help answer basic questions about whether or not you can travel to various countries with a criminal conviction, including a DUI.

Here is some information on the changes to Canadian law.

On December 18, 2018, Canada’s new impaired driving laws went into effect. Under the new laws, driving while intoxicated by drugs or alcohol is now considered a serious offense, placing it in the same legal category as murder, aggravated sexual assault, and drug trafficking. The same is true of what you may think of locally as reduced DUI offences like reckless driving, DWAI or wet reckless; these are all now in the same category as those other previously mentioned serious offences.

It doesn’t matter if the driver caused an accident or hurt someone, simply being behind the wheel while legally impaired is enough to result in significant prison time. The new law also doubled the previous maximum penalty, from 5 years to 10. This also means that Canadian immigration officials treat foreign DUI convictions much more seriously than they did before and, as a result, it will be more difficult to obtain a permit to travel.

If you are currently considering a visit to Canada and you have a DUI or similar offense on their record from after December 2018, these new rules could make it much more difficult for you to enter the country. Reducing or amend your charges in an effort to facilitate travel may help you enter Canada. While the new law will not be applied retroactively, anyone with an old DUI on their record should still be prepared to face increased scrutiny and questioning at the border. Without legal assistance, travelers with a DUI on their records from December 2018 or later will likely find themselves unable to enter Canada.

If you have questions regarding an Orange County California DUI charge and how we can help you handle that in a way that may help you enter Canada, please contact our law firm.


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