Are you a Permanent Resident Charged with a DUI in Canada? Information You Should Know

Are you a Permanent Resident Charged with a DUI in Canada? Information You Should Know

In December 2018, the Canadian government increased the maximum sentences of all DUI charges (as well as Dangerous Driving) to up to 10 years imprisonment.    While most individuals who commit DUI offences are unlikely to receive a punishment anywhere near that number (unless, of course, one is sentenced for an offence that caused death), the increase has created a situation whereby individuals who are not Canadian citizens face the risk of deportation if convicted of a DUI.

To understand how, the starting point is that, for all DUI offences, there is a minimum punishment that has to be imposed of at least a fine and a driving prohibition.  The fine entails a criminal conviction.

Now, to shift the focus to Immigration Law for a second – the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (“IRPA”) stipulates, for example, that for Permanent Residents of Canada, they could be deemed inadmissible in Canada on the grounds of “serious criminality” if they either sentenced to over 6 months in jail for any criminal offence or are convicted of a crime that carries, as a maximum punishment, of at least 10 years in jail: s. 36(1) of the IRPA.

Without getting into any more legal detail, suffice it to say that this means that a Permanent Resident, who may have no ties to their home country, is at risk of being deported if found guilty of a DUI offence, such as Impaired Driving, Refusing a Breath Sample and Operation with Excess Blood Alcohol Concentration.  The same holds true for foreign nationals, individuals on work permits, student visas etc.

The Federal Government’s increasingly punitive stance in relation to drinking and driving in Canada may have significant implications for non-citizens.

If you are a permanent resident or otherwise have no citizenship here in Canada and are charged with a DUI, ensure you receive adequate legal advice from both a criminal and immigration lawyer, given the overlapping legal issues here.

For a free consultation on what your legal options might be in a situation like this, contact an experienced DUI lawyer at (647) 878 – 635 for more information.

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