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. Continue reading