Under the Canadian Criminal Code, DUI offences are characterized as serious criminal offences and as such, can have significant effects on immigrants in Canada as well as people who are seeking Canadian citizenship. In fact, people who are permanent residents in Canada can face deportation as well as a change in status if they are convicted of a DUI. In the event that they are arrested outside of Canada, then they can lose their study permit, work permit, or residency status. Yes, the effects of a DUI conviction are so severe that it can impede someone’s citizenship even if it took place more than 10 years ago in Canada or in another country.
Impact of a DUI on Permanent Residents
Before 2018, DUI offences were characterized as having standard criminality under the Canadian Criminal Code. At this time, foreign nationals who have a DUI record may be prevented from entry or deported by immigration officials. Since the amendment in 2018, not only foreign nationals are affected by this but also permanent residents. Note that the maximum penalty for DUI offences has been changed to 10 years after the amendment and as such, foreign nationals will face standard criminality while those who are permanent residents in Canada will face serious criminality just like people with other driving offences such as hit and run, reckless driving, and fighting with the police officer. Being charged with an offence of serious criminality automatically means having to face issues with immigration status.
DUI Effect on Your Immigration Status
The Canadian Border Services will get involved when a Canadian permanent resident is convicted of DUI. They will notify the offender about the serious criminality category of the offence and the offender will have an opportunity to respond to the notification. The Canadian Border Services will determine if they will proceed with the deportation or not based on the severity of DUI charges as well as the response from the offender. If the Canadian Border Services will proceed with the deportation process, then the immigration division of the immigration and refugee board will hold an admissibility hearing to see if the offence warrants deportation. A removal order may be issued if the division decides that the offender is inadmissible. An appeal is possible for the law offenders who were sentenced to less than six months of jail upon consideration by an appeals board. The appeals board can choose to uphold the removal order or set it aside as well as impose conditions that can allow the offender to keep their status.
Note that CSBA officers can only deny entry into Canada to foreign nationals who were convicted of a DUI and cannot do the same to permanent residents unless the residents have a final determination or if the residents were not able to comply with residency obligations.
DUI’s Impact on Your Canadian Citizenship
With all the above said, note that those who had been granted Canadian citizenship by naturalization will not be affected by a DUI. However, if the citizenship was granted under false representation, then that could be grounds for revocation of citizenship.
If you are a foreign national or a permanent resident in Canada who may be trying for citizenship in the future, then it is in your best interest not to be involved in any DUI cases. If you are already charged, then your best course of action is to contact a DUI lawyer to avoid a conviction. Contact Calvin Barry if you are looking for a DUI lawyer in Toronto and nearby areas.