Florida may still consider your first DUI as a misdemeanor, but not Canada. There, a DUI on your record is a felony. And Canada doesn’t allow felons into the country even if their records have been clean for years. If a DUI shows up in a U.S. criminal database, your hopes of visiting Canada without securing a visa are probably dashed.
Canada Accesses U.S. DUI Information
You may be wondering how Canada has access to U.S. criminal databases? That access is part of post 9/11 information sharing between the two countries. The effort to prevent terrorists from entering the U.S. has created red flags for Florida drivers who have made a DUI mistake in the past.
How to Restore Your Ability to Enter Canada After a DUI
Canada provides three ways to get into the country if you have had a DUI conviction in your past, so not all hope is lost if you want to visit our neighbor to the north. If you have an urgent reason for your visit-a sick family member, a business meeting, etc., you can apply for a temporary resident permit. This is the only option if your DUI happened within the last five years.
If your DUI conviction happened more than five years ago, you can apply for an Approval of Rehabilitation. This process is paperwork intensive and includes your FBI file and police records from every state you have lived in since you were 18 years old. Each offense must be explained. You also have to provide a complete list of home addresses and employers since the age of 18. The fees range from $200 to $1000 Canadian. The process can take up to a year. But once you have gone through this process you have reasonable assurance that you can enter Canada.
If you have had only one DUI that occurred more than 10 years ago, you may be eligible for “Deemed Rehabilitation”, which allows complete access to Canada once again.
While Florida is a long ways from Canada, it is a beautiful country to visit or you may have family that moved there. We recommend that you consult a Canadian immigration lawyer about any criminal offense, no matter how minor or how old before you try to enter Canada. If you don’t do this, it is impossible to know what will happen at the border. We have heard of people who have been put on the next available plane back to the States.
Freedom to Travel – Another Reason You Should Never Represent Yourself on a Florida DUI charge
It is never safe to represent yourself on a DUI charge in Florida or anywhere else. You are far more likely to end up with that DUI charge becoming part of your record. Hiring an experienced DUI attorney could prevent Florida DUI misdemeanor charges from becoming part of your record. Make sure you contact a Florida DUI attorney before you incriminate yourself by making statements. This is your legal right, so don’t be afraid to exercise it!
The Sarasota DUI lawyers [http://www.sarasotaduiattorneys.com/sarasota-dui-defense/] at Musca Law offer a free legal consultation to those charged with DUI in the area. Call 941-309-5231 to schedule yours today.