Can You Travel With a DUI From Canada?

Alexander Karapancev

Alexander Karapancev

You will typically be allowed entry if you have ever been convicted of drunk driving a single time and are trying to enter the United States. However, you can be turned down in more serious circumstances, such as having multiple DUIs or a DUI incident that resulted in injury to another person. There is ultimately no set rule, and whether you are admitted or not will depend on your particular circumstances.

Travel to the USA with a criminal record 

Travellers with criminal histories are often prohibited from entering the United States under relatively strict regulations. Not all convictions will prevent entry to the USA, although those that fall under the category of drug-related offences certainly will. Anyone with a conviction deemed “moral turpitude” will also be denied entry to the United States. Since moral turpitude is not defined, a border agent may apply the concept arbitrarily when you try to enter the USA. The United States Customs and Border Protection can use CPIC (The Canadian Criminal Records system) and can view your criminal history, which can present travel difficulties for some Canadians. There are two main ways to travel to the US if you have a criminal record: a criminal record suspension or a US Entry Waiver.

What are crimes of moral turpitude?

As a type of criminal offence, a crime of moral turpitude may have an effect on your ability to travel to the USA. Its meaning is frustratingly ambiguous, but it is generally understood to mean an act that is immoral or depraved or a breach of the basic duties you owe to other citizens. It is also possible to describe it as a reprehensible offence, and in order to meet this definition, your aim must typically have at least acted with reckless intent. 

In general, most crimes that contain the intention to steal, conduct fraud, or hurt another person’s body usually qualify. Other reckless or malicious behaviours and offences involving sexual assaults or misbehaviour might also be classified as crimes of moral turpitude. Since there is a lengthy list, it is best to speak with a lawyer about your particular conviction.

The following are some examples of crimes that are frequently considered to include moral turpitude:

• murder,
• burglary,
• arson,
• child abuse, and
• aggravated assault.

Travelling to America with a DUI conviction

Because of an agreement between the United States and Canada to share criminal history information, border officers will be able to see a variety of facts about any charges you may have if you are travelling to the United States from Canada. 

However, a DUI conviction does not automatically exclude Canadians from entering the US. The term “crimes of moral turpitude” refers to a list of criminal offences that will prevent you from entering the United States. 

An individual’s admittance into the United States cannot typically be denied based on a single DUI conviction. A person may be ineligible to enter the United States and be required to obtain a waiver if they have been convicted of multiple DUIs or if a DUI conviction is combined with a record for other crimes.

National Canadian police databases are accessible to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency and are administered by the RCMP’s Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC). For the aim of facilitating immigration, trade, and travel, CPIC grants U.S. customs authorities access to criminal records, non-conviction records, cases that are currently under investigation, criminal intelligence information, motor vehicle, and driver registry information. 

Remember that not all data collected locally may be sent to the CPIC database. However, you may be confident that U.S. border agents will be able to see any charges or convictions if they are listed in the national Canadian police database. 

Concerned about issues at the US – Canada border?

The best approach for Canadians to avoid issues crossing the border with a minor criminal charge is to obtain a U.S. entry waiver. The U.S. government will reply to your waiver application with a letter explaining whether or not it requires you to have a waiver in order to cross the border. This letter can be used to demonstrate your eligibility to the U.S. border agent. If you do need a waiver, your application will be addressed, and you’ll get one that’s good for one to five years. You can enter the United States if you get a waiver despite your prior charges or convictions.

Win your DUI Case

The chances of a successful conclusion to your case can seem slim when you’ve been charged with drinking and driving. In situations like this, having an experienced attorney on your side is essential. In matters involving drunk driving, we have experience defending clients in Toronto, Brampton, Newmarket, and other parts of Ontario.

Our defence plan is founded upon a careful analysis of your case. We will investigate the claims against you and the supporting evidence. We will hold the Crown accountable to meeting their burden of proof and take every possible step to secure a successful outcome for your case.

Alexander Karapancev

Alexander Karapancev

Alexander Karapancev is a Toronto criminal lawyer practicing throughout the province of Ontario. He regularly serves as lead trial counsel on serious and complex criminal cases. He is the founder of Karapancev Law, a law firm representing clients facing criminal charges, regulatory offences, and professional discipline proceedings.

Mr. Karapancev has acted as counsel in hundreds of cases throughout the province of Ontario, regularly representing clients at trials, applications, bail hearings and preliminary inquiries. He is regularly retained to defend individuals charged with serious allegations of fraud, drug trafficking, DUI offences, domestic assault, and sexual assault. Prior to founding his law firm, Mr. Karapancev practiced criminal defence at a boutique Toronto law firm and also served as a per diem Crown prosecutor.

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