Will a DWAI Conviction Bar Entry to Canada?

Recently, the rules surrounding DWIs, DUIs and DWAIs have changed in Canada, ushering in a new era of more aggressive enforcement. One of the most common questions our office receives is if a conviction for a DWAI will bar entry to Canada. The short answer is yes. A DWAI is treated the same way as a DUI at the Canadian border and there is no guarantee of being granted entry into the country.    This fact usually sparks a lot of concern, and also a fair amount of confusion, as a DWAI and a DUI are very different offenses in American criminal law. While it is true that New York criminal law recognizes a significant distinction between DUIs and DWAIs, this is not the case from the Canadian perspective. When an individual attempts to enter Canada, he or she is subject to Canadian law. In order to determine the seriousness of an offense on a criminal record when an individual attempts to enter the country, a Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) Officer will equate the offense to its closest Canadian counterpart. Under Canadian law, there is no offense called a DWAI — there is only a DUI. Consequently, a border […]
Continue Reading

IRCC Confirms Rules at the Border Surrounding DUIs

On December 18, 2018, Canada introduced much tougher penalties for individuals with convictions of DWI, DUI or DWAI. The new bill, titled the Impaired Driving Act, has made impaired driving a serious criminal offense in Canada, whereas it was previously only considered a criminal offense. To learn more about this, click here.  However, since the change, there have been rumors of officers treating these charges differently at the border. Now, almost two months after the change to the criminal law regarding DUIs in Canada, IRCC has finally confirmed that officers have been instructed of the following: a) impaired driving offenses (including foreign) committed on or after December 18, 2018 would be considered serious criminality; and b) offenses committed prior to this date would continue to be treated as criminality (providing they were not convicted in Canada and sentenced to more than six months). Please note that as always, if an individual has more than one DUI or DWAI offense, this will be treated as serious criminality.  This is in line with relevant case law in Canada and provides much needed clarity to our clients.  Berardi Immigration Law is now offering DWI and DUI permits into Canada! If you have a DUI or […]
Continue Reading