Coming to Canada with a Dismissed DUI Charge

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What is Driving under the Influence

Driving under the influence (DUI) refers to the criminal offense of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. There are also other terminologies that are the equivalent of DUI, such as driving while impaired/driving while intoxicated (DWI), operating while intoxicated (OWI), operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs (OVI), drunk driving, operating while intoxicated (OWI), operating [a] vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs (OVI). In Canada, DUI is one of the most common types of criminal charge in the nation.

Can I Enter Canada with a Dismissed Charge

According Canadian immigration law, inadmissibility cannot be based upon an offense that is deemed as a dismissed charge or an acquittal. In other words, a dismissed charge or an acquittal should not be used as grounds to deny an individual’s entry to Canada. Dismissals can be the decision of the court at the conclusion of a trial, or it can be a result of successful compliance of a series of conditions imposed by the court. However, having a dismissed charge can be tricky in terms of a person’s inadmissibility. Simply saying that a charge was dismissed without any supportive evidence will not be considered sufficient. For example, the court might have just dismissed one charge only, but there are other charges that still remain. Consequently, charges that are not dismissed on your record may still make your criminally inadmissible. In this blog, you will learn information about entering Canada with a dismissed charge.

Acquittals and Non-Convictions

If you have an arrest record for a crime and were charged but never convicted, or if you were acquitted, you should technically be deemed admissible to Canada. Each case is unique, though. That said, some border officers are vigilant, and your criminal record can still cause you trouble. If the border officer is concerned about acquittals or non-convictions on your criminal record, you may have a rough time attempting to enter Canada.

How Can a Dismissed DUI still be an Issue at the Border

For individuals whose case got dismissed, the initial DUI charge should no longer make you inadmissible to Canada. Cases that were not prosecuted by the court also cannot be used as ground to prevent your entry to Canada.

However, the following situations should be carefully taken into consideration; some of them may potentially prevent you from entering Canada.

Scenario one

If a person has a dismissed DUI on record, but there is another DUI that is not dismissed, and for which ten years have not yet passed since the completion of all sentences, you can still be deemed as criminally inadmissible.

Scenario two

If a person has a dismissed DUI, but there is another separate, non-dismissed, offense on record, careful consideration should be given to that particular offense to ensure that offence does not cause inadmissibility. Not all offenses will result in inadmissibility. As a matter of fact, what matters is not the offense itself, but what its equivalent would be in Canada, and the applicable punishment.

Scenario three

If the initial DUI charge was later reduced to a lesser charge, such as reckless driving, it can still make you inadmissible to Canada, as reckless driving is another offense that can prevent people from entering Canada.

Scenario four

If a person have a DUI that has been dismissed, and has absolutely nothing else on record, entry into Canada should be allowed. However, this is where the strong supportive evidence will have a significant impact. You must provide proof that shows your offense has effectively been dismissed, and you have no other offenses on record.

What if My Offences are Not Dismissed

If your criminal record shows your offences are not dismissed, then that means you can be deemed inadmissible to Canada for those offences. In order to overcome your inadmissibility, you will need to apply for a temporary resident permit and/or criminal rehabilitation. A temporary resident permit allows you to overcome your inadmissibility on a temporary basis, whereas criminal rehabilitation allows you to do so on a permanent basis. The validity of a temporary resident permit is the discretion of the immigration officer. That being said, the validity can range from 1 day to 3 years. Moreover, you can apply for a temporary resident permit at the port of entry (for US citizens and permanent residents) and at the consulate, but you can only apply for criminal rehabilitation at the consulate. The requirements for a temporary resident permit and criminal rehabilitation are different, and therefore, it is highly recommended that you consult with an immigration expert prior to starting your application.

Contact Akrami & Associates

As previously mentioned, Canadian government is very strict when it comes to assessing foreign travelers’ inadmissibility. In order to compile a strong a temporary resident permit or criminal rehabilitation application, you will need to prepare for the correct documents. However, having to prepare all the required documents can very confusing and exhausting. It is also essential to note that this type of application is difficult to pursue on your own. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you seek out professional and experienced help prior to submitting the application. Akrami & Associates work and have experience with many different immigration matters. We have helped many of our clients create strong Temporary Resident Permit and Criminal Rehabilitation applications. Please feel free to contact Akrami & Associates at 416-477-2545 for more information, or if you would like to book a consultation with an immigration professional for more advice.

With Akrami & Associates, there is always a way!