DUI Entry to Canada

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Traveling to Canada with a DUID

The acronym of DUID stands for Driving Under the Influence of Drugs. This charge carries the same penalties that a drunk driving charge would have, the difference being that there is no established "legal limit" for the amount of drugs in your system at the time of arrest. For example, someone is at a party and inhales off of a marijuana joint a couple of times. Later he or she is pulled over by a police officer and the officer determines that they are intoxicated from drug use. This scenario could result in being arrested under a DUID charge. In determining whether you are intoxicated from a drug, a police officer will often consider whether you are physically or mentally compromised while operating the motor vehicle. Regardless of the details of the arrest, the fact remains that a DUID charge or conviction makes you inadmissible to Canada and you may be denied entry without special permission. It doesn't matter whether you are coming to Canada as a tourist, a student, or a worker. A DUID charge can keep you from entering Canada.

Like other driving under the influence charges, a DUID on your record can be overcome by applying for either a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) or Criminal Rehabilitation. A TRP application can be processed relatively quickly, and if successful, will grant someone a temporary period to visit Canada (up to 3 years). For a more permanent solution to a DUID inadmissibility, you could apply for Criminal Rehabilitation. This application takes much longer to process (on average 6 to 12 months) but if successful will allow you to travel to Canada without obtaining special permission.

The other option applies to individuals who only have a single DUID misdemeanor and have completed their sentencing. Upon waiting 10 years and not being charge with any other offenses, you will qualify for deemed rehabilitation and be allowed to enter Canada.

Contact our team of experienced Canadian immigration lawyers and consultants today to explore your options for entering Canada.

Drugs that may Result in a DUID

Any drug, legal or illegal, can qualify you as intoxicated while operating a vehicle. Even something as innocent as a sleeping aid prescribed by your family doctor can result in a DUID. Here is a list of some of the more common drugs involved in DUID charges:

Do all States Have a DUI Drugs Law?

Out of all the states, 15 have introduced "zero tolerance" laws for DUID. They are, in alphabetical order: Arizona, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin. These 15 states will charge drivers with a DUID if they have been determined to be under the influence of a drug while operating a motor vehicle. In addition to these 15 states, 4 other states have specific legal levels for THC content while driving: Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Washington.

Furthermore, Colorado, Washington State, and Montana have enacted a legal limit of 5 parts per billion of THC in the blood. Many states have introduced specific training for police officers and highway patrolmen to detect the signs of drugs in someone's system.

California and DUID

State laws are divided into sections which in turn can be divided into subsections. A good example of this is Section 23152 of the California Vehicle Code. This section of the law outlines the legal ramifications of driving while impaired. The more commonly known subsection of this law is 23152 (b) which states that someone must not operate a vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or higher. However, this same section of the California Vehicle Code also has an (a) subsection. This subsection declares that someone must not drive while impaired by any drug or alcohol. The law here is very general. Basically, if the police officer determines that you are intoxicated, you can be charge under Section 23152 (a). This charge does not specify a legal limit or measurement for the amount of drugs or alcohol in the system.

In California, a DUID is considered a misdemeanor. Under certain circumstances, however, this could result in a much more severe penalty. Let's say you have 3 or more intoxicated driving offenses already on record or caused an accident that resulted in bodily harm. If you then receive a DUID, it can now be classified as a felony and even result in jail time as a sentence.

For more the more typical DUID conviction, you might receive:

A DUID in California has the same consequences as a DUI or DWI in Canada. It may result in someone being criminally inadmissible and denial of entry at the border or port of entry. This means that you will need special permission to enter Canada.

Driving While High or "Stoned Driving"

Marijuana use has become much more tolerated in recent years, with many states changing their legislation in regards to the drug and its use. Currently, Alaska, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Oregon, and Washington have legalized marijuana for medical and recreational use. Many other states have changed legislation to allow medical marijuana use as well. As marijuana use becomes more legally acceptable, law enforcement agencies are struggling with how to effectively regulate and control driving while high. Different statistics have come out about how commonplace stoned driving is in America. For example MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) published results from research stating "Almost 7% of drivers, mostly under age 35, who were involved in fatal traffic crashes tested positive for THC, the principle ingredient in marijuana."

One way in which officials will test individuals once arrested for DUID is with a urine or blood test. These test are not very reliable as indisputable evidence that a driver was under the influence of a drug. THC, the principle ingredient in marijuana, can stay in someone's system for weeks. That means that the individual charged may have used marijuana several days before driving and is not sufficient evidence to result in a conviction. The problem with the general and often immeasurable nature of drugs in the system means that a police officer may determine that a driver is under the influence of drugs but not have the means to determine which drug or the degree in which it is present. There have even been cases of a person being charged with a DUID due to seeming intoxicated for other legal reasons: being fatigued, having nervous energy, having an injury, etc.

Another modern tool in the police officer's arsenal to detect stoned drivers is saliva testing. The advantage of saliva testing is that it provides a very definitive time frame for when the driver used marijuana. The presence of THC can only be detected in saliva from 1 to 2 hours after use, which provides evidence of a high likelihood that the driver in question is still under the effects of the drug. As testing methods continue to improve and more and more people have easy access to marijuana, the federal government will most likely require all remaining states to update their marijuana laws and introduce DUID legislation.

What constitutes Driving Under the Influence of Drugs can be a very grey area. Americans have access to numerous types of over the counter drugs that can impair the system just as much as something like marijuana. If a police officer determines that a driver is intoxicated from a drug, the charge may not carry as much weight if a reliable testing procedure was not employed or if the officer was not classified as a drug recognition expert (DRE).

Are there any other Acronyms similar to DUID?

A DUID charge is definitely the most common acronym used to describe driving while under the influence of drugs. Much rarer is the charge OWPD (Operating With the Presence of Drugs). Like a DUID, there are no specific legal limits ascribed to the presence of drugs in a driver's system.

Conditional Discharge Programs and Expungement

Quite often first time DUID offenders can avoid a criminal record by completing the requirements of a conditional discharge program. If given the option, an offender can undergo addiction counseling, take a drug rehab program, perform community service or work for free programs, etc. Even though someone is actively participating in a conditional discharge program, he or she will remain criminally inadmissible to Canada until they complete the program and have proof of a favorable ruling. On the other hand, if an offender's DUID conviction is successfully expunged, this will allow him or her to enter Canada like any other American citizen

If you are planning to travel to Canada with a DUID, contact us today for a consultation. Our team of experts (Lawyers and consultants) can help determine the best steps to take in overcoming your inadmissibility.