Athletes Driving Under the Influence


When thinking of professional athletes, images of cereal boxes, athletic company endorsements and Gatorade commercials are often conjured. However, as of late it seems as though DUI convictions are the newest association made with professional athletes. A recent report published by Yahoo! Sports confirmed the trend, citing that 73 players on NFL rosters in 2008 alone were arrested on charges of driving while under the influence.

As role models in the public eye, there are a multitude of reasons why DUI convictions are problematic for athletes. Serving as ambassadors for their respective teams, athletes convicted of a crime are undoubtedly disappointing their fan base and potentially tarnishing the reputation of their team. Additionally, the professional association of the particular sport may reprimand the player in question to emphasize the severity of the crime and to demonstrate to other players that irresponsible behaviour will not go unnoticed. Based on the context of the crime in question, athletes could also face probation, fines, and potentially even jail time.

In addition to the legal consequences of committing a crime, athletes must also contend with overcoming their inadmissibility to Canada. Many foreign nationals, particularly Americans, are unaware of the fact that their criminal history, even with a DUI on their record, makes non-Canadians criminally inadmissible to Canada. Athletes with criminal histories, who may need to come to Canada as part of their athletic career, are no exception.

To overcome criminal inadmissibility, foreign nationals must undergo one of two processes. If the conviction took place less than five years ago, temporary resident permits must be issued for the person in question to enter Canada. If an application is successful, the applicant will be allowed to enter Canada for the duration outlined in the permit, which can be up to two years.

Alternatively, five years after the completion of the sentence associated with the applicant’s most recent conviction, he or she may be eligible to apply for criminal rehabilitation. Should the applicant meet the outlined criteria, this process will make the foreign national admissible to Canada on a permanent basis.

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