The Canadian government has always been difficult when it comes to allowing folks with DWI conviction on their records to gain entry. The Canadian rule about entry is pretty straightforward. A person will be denied entry into Canada if they have been convicted outside of Canada of an offense that, if convicted in Canada, would constitute an indictable offense under Canadian law.
A foreign conviction is considered indictable if there is an equivalent offense under the Canadian Criminal Code. Unfortunately, Canada usually considers any alcohol related driving offense to be equivalent to their alcohol statute. And to further complicate things, the Canadian Government considers Reckless Driving equivalent to their “Dangerous Operation of Motor Vehicle” statute. So pleading down a DWI to Reckless Driving, while it might be a great result for a particular set of facts, could make a person ineligible to enter into Canada.
There are two ways a person can become eligible to be admitted into Canada after they have been deemed inadmissible. The first way is Criminal Rehabilitation, and the other is to apply for, and receive, a Temporary Resident Permit. To be considered for Criminal Rehabilitation, a person must wait until five years has lapsed since the completion of all the conditions of their sentence. To obtain a Temporary Resident Permit, a person must show a significant reason to travel to Canada.
If, however, a person has more than one conviction on their record, they must apply for criminal rehabilitation. A person may also be considered rehabilitated if there has been more than ten years since the completion of all the conditions of their sentence, and the person has only one conviction. If a person has more than one conviction, they must be prepared to show that they have been rehabilitated. This is something that can rarely be done without the help of a lawyer.
While pleading guilty to a DWI may not seem to be a big deal to some folks, it can have far reaching consequences. Most folks from Texas don’t think about going to Canada, but you just never know when a job might need you to travel there for business.