Sentencing Severity Surge: DUI Conviction

Increasing the penalties for driving while impaired, Bill C-46 was approved on June 21, 2018 and upon effect in December 2018, will significantly impact admissibility to Canada.

What does it mean?

Through revision of the current maximum incarceration to “no less than 10 years” for driving while impaired, the offense effectively ascends from the category of “criminality” to “serious criminality”. As this higher conviction classification is employed by Canadian Immigration Law to determine inadmissibility, Bill C-46 will affect both foreign nationals and permanent residents of Canada.

Current situation?

At the moment, the maximum penalty for impaired driving is 5 years and a conviction may not affect the immigration status of a temporary or permanent resident given that the imprisonment term was no longer than 6 months. Additionally, foreign nationals with criminal history limited to a single instance of driving while impaired can be eligible for Criminal Rehabilitation which effectively resolves inadmissibility to Canada issues.

What will change?

Following the Bill taking effect in December, not only will the tougher repercussions affect consequent domestic and international convictions, but also temporary and permanent residents with prior convictions. This is because a conviction denoted as a “serious criminality” renders admissibility to Canada much tougher as well as more expensive. Furthermore, a permanent resident’s appeals rights will also be restricted if deemed inadmissible to Canada as a result of this conviction.

Temporary and permanent residents convicted of driving while impaired in Canada will be liable to loss of immigration status and deportation from Canada, regardless of what the actual sentence for the conviction eventually is. Even if the government does not resort to deportation, this conviction must be disclosed by the temporary or permanent resident at the port-of-entry when seeking readmission into Canada, due to which Canadian immigration may enforce restrictions on mobility. Also, foreign nationals with a single impaired driving conviction will lose eligibility for Criminal Rehabilitation which is the only permanent approach to overcoming Canadian inadmissibility.

What can you do?

If you have been convicted of impaired driving and rendered inadmissible to Canada, it can be addressed via 2 methods:

Temporary Resident Permit

  • Temporarily grants entry to Canada
  • At the discretion of Canadian Immigration: they decide whether granting you admission is worthwhile to Canada
  • This application can be done at a Canadian visa office or at the port of entry, however it is best to prepare a well-documented application and apply as early as possible prior to your required date of entry

Criminal Rehabilitation

  • Permanently clears your record according to the Canadian government and removes inadmissibility
  • Eligible to apply 5 years after the completion of the sentence for your conviction; this includes satisfying all conditions of your sentence such as fines and probation

At FWCanada, we are happy to offer free consultation to promptly provide honest assessment of your case and chances of success. As one of the leading immigration law firms in the country specializing in criminal inadmissibility, we have extensive experience in handling a wide range of cases. We prioritize detailed review of each client’s case to optimise application approval.

Please call on our toll free number: 1.855.316.3555 to ask all your burning questions and remedy confusions, because providing honest and accurate advice is our ethos.

FWCanada is a Montreal-based immigration law firm that provides professional legal services on Canadian immigration. For more tips and updates on Canadian immigration, follow FWCanada on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.