You are being charged with or even been already convicted of a DUI. You probably are already aware of the official penalties – jail time, fines, license suspension, and other potential penalties. But what you may not be aware is that there are also unofficial penalties. These are the penalties that a DUI causes but are not officially part of the criminal code. One of these may be disapproval from your family and friends or another may be difficulty in finding employment or housing due to your record. Due to the Interstate Compact for Adult Offender Supervision you may have difficulties if you choose to move to another state. You will face another unofficial penalty if you ever need to go to Canada for either business or pleasure. As the border is so close this does come up as a problem in Washington more often than in many other parts of the country.
You are probably wondering why entering Canada would be a problem if it is not a penalty listed in our laws. This is because the limitation is caused not by Washington or United States law; it is caused by Canadian law. In Canada even a first offense DUI is classified as a felony. The customs officers will not allow anyone entrance to Canada to anyone with a felony on their record and they do not use US classifications – they use Canadian classifications. So it can get very difficult to enter into Canada once you have a DUI on your record.
Perhaps your family wants to vacation in Canada some year; this will ruin that. Perhaps you are a businessman and you are presented with a wonderful opportunity but there are locations in Canada and your prospective promotion gets handed to a different candidate. Even worse would be if you did not know about this problem and only found out at the border. Then you are explaining to your whole family why the planned vacation needs to be completely changed. That does not sound like a fun conversation; that sounds like one of those conversations where your spouse and children end up glaring at you judgmentally. Of course in the other scenario you do not need to face your family. You would need to call your employer to explain why you could not fulfill the requirements of the job you accepted – then you get to call your family and explain to them about whatever consequences that may have caused you. Neither the conversations sound enjoyable nor does missing out on the opportunities.
If you have been charged with DUI and know you will need to get to Canada in the future you will want to discuss this with your DUI defense attorney. Of course the primary goal will be to either get the charge dismissed or a not guilty verdict. Then this problem as well as all the other penalties are totally avoided. How would that be for a relief? However, if it looks like a plea bargain is more likely you will definitely want to talk to your DUI defense attorney. He will know how to get the charge reduction phrased so that it will not affect future travels to Canada.
But what if you have already been convicted and now have a need to go to Canada. It is more difficult but all is not lost. You can apply for a temporary resident permit – this can be done either at the border or at a Canadian consulate. The application at the border will be less paperwork but the consulate will give you assurance of your approval so that you can know that you are not wasting your time. You will need to decide which benefit appeals to you more. If more than five years have passed you could apply for an approval of rehabilitation. This would take about a year. These are options that would result in you being able to enter Canada and your DUI defense attorney will be able to counsel you as to which is your best strategy.
Do not let a DUI ruin your business or family plans. You will need the counsel and defense of a Pierce County / Tacoma DUI defense attorney; you will get both when you hire from Smith & White, PLLC for your DUI defense attorney. Call Smith & White, PLLC – your free case analysis awaits you.