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

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 […]
Continue Reading