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Have a DWI or DUI? Canada’s Upcoming Impaired Driving Act Could Impact You at the Border

The recreational use of marijuana will be legalized in Canada beginning October 17, 2018. Naturally, this raises a number of public safety concerns, one in particular being the dangers associated with impaired driving. Greater access to the drug could result in more people driving under the influence. The Canadian government has responded to this concern with the passage of the Impaired Driving Act, which imposes tougher penalties for individuals found guilty of impaired driving in Canada. The maximum penalty for such a charge will increase from five years behind bars to ten. Not only will this new law make DUI a serious criminal offense north of the border, it will also have the effect of banning a greater number of American citizens from entering the country. 
Currently, a DUI is deemed a “criminal offense;” this means an individual with a sole DUI would be criminally inadmissible to Canada for five years, but could then apply for individual rehabilitation. That same individual could also just wait ten years, at which point he or she would simply be deemed rehabilitated. In other words, under the current system, an individual with a sole DUI would not be deemed criminally inadmissible to Canada ten years after the completion of their sentence. 
However, under the Impaired Driving Act, a DUI will be treated differently. Due to the more serious penalties, individuals will no longer be able to regain access to Canada after ten years. You will need to wait five years and then apply for individual rehabilitation. This is a lengthy process that generally requires expert advice and guidance. Therefore, changing the classification of a DUI in Canadian criminal law has had the (perhaps unintended) effect of changing criminality at the Canadian border.  
Berardi Immigration Law is now offering DWI and DUI permits into Canada! If you have a DUI or DWI, be sure to contact Berardi Immigration Law today to set up a FREE consult with our Canadian immigration attorney!