Can you get into Canada with a DWAI?

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KLM Immigration Law
June 2, 2023
Can You Get Into Canada with a DWAI?

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Are you worried about whether you can get into Canada with a DWAI conviction? You’re not alone, as this is a very common question. Understanding the complex Canadian border crossing rules and the impact of a criminal record and of a DWAI on your entry to Canada can be a daunting task.

Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI) is a charge related to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and it could affect your eligibility to enter Canada. KLM Immigration, an immigration law firm specializing in criminal inadmissibility, can help you overcome the challenges related to past criminal convictions, and help with dealing with Canadian immigration officials. Please note that a DWAI can make a person inadmissible to enter Canada both by air and by land border crossings.

We can help you make your need to enter Canada a reality. Learn more here about our criminal rehabilitation services.

What does DWAI mean?

DWAI stands for Driving While Ability Impaired. It is a term used to describe the act of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

What is the difference between a DUI and a DWAI?

DUIs and DWAI all have to do with a person’s ability to operate a motor vehicle while being in an intoxicated state by either alcohol or drugs. Unlike DUI (driving under the influence), DWAI charges are generally considered less severe in the US, often resulting from a lower blood alcohol content. However, the consequences can still be significant.

Offenders may face fines, license suspension, and even jail time, although imprisonment is less likely unless the reckless driving causes harm to others. It is important to note that Canadian border authorities treat both DUI and DWAI as equal severity offenses in regard to impaired driving. Even if a DWAI is considered less severe in the state where it occured, it will still be seen as a drunk driving offense on your criminal record when crossing the Canadian border.

Why are we inadmissible to Canada with a DWAI?

In Canada, there are laws that govern the admissibility of people with criminal records, and these laws are quite strict. A Driving While Ability Impaired conviction is considered an indictable offense under Canadian criminal and immigration laws. As a general rule, the following offenses might all lead to a refusal at the Canadian border:

  • Careless driving
  • Drunk driving charges
  • Reckless driving
  • Dangerous operation of a motor vehicle

Even if you have been convicted of a single DWAI, a border officer could stop you from crossing a Canadian port of entry because of your criminal background. Or your application for entry could be refused. The Canada border services agency takes border security very seriously.

Similar to the effect of DWAI in Canada, a DUI conviction can lead to a denial of entry and restrict Canadian immigration options. For further information about entering Canada despite impaired driving charges.

Depending on your individual case (first-time DWAI violation, etc.), there might be a permanent solution or a temporary solution to help you gain entry to Canada. Our experienced immigration lawyers can help you assess your driving offenses and determine which course of action is best for you.

How to apply for entry with a DWAI?

The date of your DWAI and whether you have other criminal offenses will determine if you can apply for entry to Canada with a DWAI. Remember that Canada has full DWAI life-long access to any country’s vehicle databases and can see your driving record when you reach the border authorities. Due to the varying degrees of this offense, we recommend speaking to our Canadian immigration law firm for a personalized approach and accurate legal advice.

KLM Immigration: your partner during your immigration process

KLM Immigration is a Canadian immigration law firm that specializes in assisting individuals with criminal inadmissibility. Our experienced lawyers provide personalized solutions and offer free consultations to evaluate each case.

We guide our clients through the necessary steps to enter Canada with a DWAI, such as Criminal Rehabilitation application or obtaining a temporary resident permit.

Another permanent solution to comply with border rules despite a criminal record for past drunk driving charges is to simply allow for the passage of time. Indeed, after a certain period of time since a criminal offense, an individual can qualify for deemed rehabilitation

This means that despite a past criminal charge, an individual is no longer considered a threat to Canadian society due to the passage of time. Canadian border officials should allow this person in the country, on the basis of being deemed rehabilitated. No need to fill an application form or deal with processing fees, Canadian immigration officials should automatically treat you as though you had a clean record.

To ensure that the Canada border services agency understands that they are not dealing with an inadmissible individual, a Canadian immigration lawyer can write you a legal opinion letter. This mitigates the risk of border refusal.

Our team of attorneys is committed to providing you with all the assistance you need to ensure you can enter Canada. We will be there to answer any questions and provide support in dealing with Canadian immigration authorities.

Canada is within reach!

So, can you get into Canada with a DWAI? It depends on your individual circumstances, for example, does your past criminal history include another impaired driving offense? It also depends on the steps you take to overcome your inadmissibility. With the help of a knowledgeable and experienced Canadian immigration lawyer from KLM Immigration, you can increase your chances of successfully entering Canada despite your DWAI conviction.

Reach out to KLM Immigration today and let our team help you meet the criminal rehabilitation criteria of the Canadian government. Our lawyers can provide you with either permanent or temporary solutions if you need express entry. The next time you meet Canadian border agents may very well be a stress-free experience. Enjoy this beautiful country with peace of mind!

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