Santa Cruz, CA DUI defense lawyer international travelMillions of Americans travel back and forth to Canada every year. Most of these visits are short day-trips into the country or last only for an overnight stay. When asked at the port of entry, the three primary reasons which people gave for travel are: pleasure, business, and visiting family. It may surprise you to learn that many of these attempted visits were unsuccessful due to an outstanding charge here in the United States. If you have been convicted of driving under the influence (DUI), you may want to reconsider any prospect of traveling to visit our northern neighbors.

Canada Restricts Admittance

Relations between the United States and Canada are amicable, and travel between the two countries is relatively easy. Although you do not need a passport to cross over from the United States into Canada, one is necessary for admittance into the United States on your return trip. Entrance is relatively easy, on a general basis. The Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) agent will ask you a series of questions. One query is, “Do you have any criminal convictions?”

Your admittance into Canada is at the discretion of the CBSA officer. Although DUI or DWI are typically misdemeanors here in the United States, either of these is considered a severe offense in Canada. When asked if you have a criminal conviction, you must disclose the truthful answer. If you have pending charges, you do not have a conviction. However, CBSA agents have access to all background information and will be able to verify the answers given. 

If the first agent suspects your answers are not truthful, or if you have answered “yes” to a conviction, you will be asked to speak to a second official. It is advisable to bring all documentation surrounding your case with you for instances such as these. If your case is more than 10 years old, the official may permit you entry, as Canada deems these individuals to be rehabilitated in many cases. However, for more recent incidents, you may face denial of admission.

Avoid the Hassle

If you frequently travel to Canada or have family who live in the country, it is best to avoid the hassle by avoiding a conviction, if possible. If you face DUI charges in the United States, contact a Santa Cruz, CA DUI defense attorney. Attorney John W. Thornton has 25 years of experience locally defending cases like yours, and he understands the devastation caused by a conviction. Call us today at 831-426-5800 to schedule your free initial consultation.