Traveling to Canada with a DUI Just Got More Difficult

When you are convicted of a DUI in Maryland, you will lose your license for a certain amount of time, based on your prior history and the circumstances of your conviction. Once you get your license back, however, you are generally free to travel wherever you wish to go – unless you’re planning a trip to visit our Neighbor to the North, Canada.

Before 2019 year, Americans who had ever been arrested or convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) were denied entry due to being criminally inadmissible – regardless of whether the DUI was a misdemeanor or a felony. This is because although the United States differentiates the severity of certain criminal offenses, in the context of impaired driving, Canadian law doesn’t.

However, persons with a DUI could wait 10 years, without any additional offenses, and be considered rehabilitated. “Rehabilitated” means they were now able to enter the country without having to complete additional paperwork, waivers, or fees.

Under the new and current law, however, the consequences of driving under the influence are even harsher, whether it’s your first or your third DUI.

After the 10-year period has ended – even if a person has committed no offenses in the meantime – individuals will no longer be considered rehabilitated. Those who have already completed their 10-year timeframe and been deemed rehabilitated are grandfathered in and can continue to travel back and forth. However, people who are not yet rehabilitated are no longer eligible for rehabilitation after their 10 years has ended.

Remember – even if you don’t plan to drive while you’re traveling, if you’re deemed inadmissible, you’ll still be denied entry. And, if you have been charged with a DUI but not yet convicted, you will be denied entry until your charge is dismissed.

What can Maryland drivers do if they want to travel?

There are still a few options for you if you have a DUI offense, although the new law does make them more difficult. Some people may be able to apply for rehabilitation as soon as five years after they complete their sentence. Another option is to apply for a temporary residence permit (TRP). However, with this recent change in the law, it’s likely that applications for TRPs will be heavily scrutinized.

If you’ve been arrested or convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and plan on taking a trip north, it’s crucial you speak to a Bowie DUI defense attorney beforehand so you’re aware of all your options.

The attorneys at Carey Law Office have a deep understanding of Maryland’s DUI laws, and fight hard for our clients. We have offices in Bowie and Crofton, and are proud to serve clients who reside in Anne Arundel County, Prince George’s County, and the neighboring areas. Please call 301-464-2500 or fill out the contact form to arrange a free consultation.