Have a DUI? You Might Not Be Able to Get Into Canada, Eh

It’s been the hottest DUI news around: Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps was recently sentenced to 18 months of supervised probation following his guilty plea for a second driving-under-the-influence offense.

I’m sure you’ve heard many of the details: That he was pulled over driving faster than 80 mph in a 45 mph zone in Baltimore. That this wasn’t his first DUI. That he was embroiled in controversy and even suspended from participation in swimming competitions after being photographed with an alleged marijuana pipe in his mouth. That now that his legal problems are over, he plans to train for the next Olympic Games.

But here’s what you might not have heard (or what might not have been reported): People with DUI convictions like Michael Phelps sometimes have trouble gaining entry into other countries.

Mr. Phelps may find some stumbling blocks when he goes to travel in advance of the games.

For my clients (most of whom are NOT traveling to far-flung countries for Olympic training), the place they have the most trouble entering is our neighbor to the north – Canada.

What, you didn’t know? A criminal record can make you inadmissible to Canada.

For real.

Here’s the thing: Canada does not distinguish between a misdemeanor and a felony, which means that if you’ve been convicted of a DUI, or an offense such as assault, fraud, drug possession, bad checks, or other crime, you might not be permitted to cross the border.

Even if you don’t intend to drive while in Canada, a DUI conviction here can prevent your entrance there.

You’re probably wondering how they even know about your record. The fact is, the FBI here in the U.S. has given complete accessibility to their database to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

So, if you’ve been convicted of a DUI and are planning a family trip to see the falls, you might want to visit your friendly, neighborhood Pittsburgh DUI Lawyer to determine if your record will keep you from being successfully admitted into the country.

And if you need to travel for work? Might want to set up a consult soon. It’s one thing not to be able to gain entry for pleasure. It’s quite another when it’s work related.

Even a sealed record can count against you. Canada considers a sealed record a criminal record.

There is a form you can fill out that will allow you to temporarily enter the country, and a longer process that will allow you permanent entrance. The former is a Canadian Temporary Resident Permit, or TRP. The latter is known as Criminal Rehabilitation and is only available to people who have served all jail time and/or probation and paid all fines, at least five years before applying.

It’s your responsibility to prove you’re admissible to another country. They are not required to let you in on just your word. You’ll need documents to prove you have completed your punishments. Or, you’ll need a TRP.

Something called a legal opinion from a Pittsburgh DUI Lawyer may be needed – or more, but your DUI attorney will be able to go over your case and help with your specific needs to ensure your next trip to Canada or beyond is seamless. The process for getting into Canada with a DUI in the states is complicated. It’s not something you can accomplish on your own.

While admittance to another country is not the most severe or impactful consequence of a DUI, it’s one to be aware of - especially for ardent travelers who’ve been convicted of drunken driving.

If you are planning to travel to Canada and have a criminal record, DUI or otherwise, call the Pittsburgh criminal defense attorneys at Logue Law Group for assistance. (412) 612-2210 or (412) 612-2210. Or, you can contact us online.

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