Need info on DUI and getting into Canada

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rbranstner's picture
rbranstner
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Joined: 12/14/04
Need info on DUI and getting into Canada

I know a guy who just got a DUI in the US and I have heard bad things about trying to ever get into Canada. I did some checking online and it looks like once 10 years has past you are free to get back into Canada but if it hasn't been that long you have to apply for permits and pay a $150 fee. I am just wondering if anyone has any first hand knowledge on this subject. Is it going to be more hassle then it is worth to get across or isn't it as bad as it sounds? Any info would be much appreciated.

sfhunter's picture
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It is as bad as it sounds. Depends on which prov you go into and if they decide to poke around. Been through one prov. one day and couldn't get into another the same day. Was a hassle to just to get back into the us after that. Depends on how far you are traveling to get there. If you go a ways to get to Canada and end up not getting in it might be worth it to get the permit. I'm finally free of that situation though.

Gregg H. Kathol

cynical's picture
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I've heard it is a big hassle as you mentioned above.
On a lighter note I find it amusing Canada has such strick entry rules regarding dui since Canadians are some of the biggest booze hounds I've every known

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rbranstner's picture
rbranstner
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Does anyone know exactly what you have to do to get across if the offense is less than 5 years old and this is their first offense of any kind.

billyjack's picture
billyjack
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i heard that it was something like 5 years. do you know if the same is true for a minor? we planning on taking a trip up there and someone said that you can't get in with minor or dui.

ws

disco's picture
disco
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You can get to the border and if they do not poke around you can get through. I know guys that were turned around and went to a different port an got in.

If you do not want to risk it you have to contact one of the Canadian Consulates in the US. I do not know the web address off hand. Tell them the offense and ask for a Temporay Visotors permit. They are about $150 bucks and it is only good for the one time you are there.

They are getting tough going through. I had a friend that could not get through at Warroad because he wrote a $4 NSF check in 1999. It was all paid an legit too. They look at your criminal histroy, match your crime up with the Canadian equivlent, and base it on that. A DUI is a felony in Canada. Basically they get to decide if you get to pay the $150 bribe to get in.

Allen's picture
Allen
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I don't think I would risk trying to sneak across without telling the friendly Canuck border patrol.

Failing to declare the DUI, or other infraction that puts you on their black list, and skipping the paperwork is not worth the risk of being turned into an example by the Mounties.

“Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it.” ~ Mark Twain

Huntingbucks's picture
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I have the number to the Emerson, Manitoba Port of Entry. This port is on I-29 just North of Pembina, ND on the Canadian side. They are very busy so they should be able to answer all your questions. 1-204-373-2197. Best time to call is Mon.-Fri. 8-4 and ask for an Immigration Officer. I know there are fees for Dui and other minor offenses. Hope this helps.

Bowhuntin's picture
Bowhuntin
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rbranstner,
I'm guessing your buddy is planning a fishing trip to Canada and is wondering if he will be allowed to pass through customs when he arrives. If that is correct, why would you ask for advice on FBO? As you can see from the above posts there is a difference in opinion on this, and you would have to decide who knows what they are talking about, and who is full of sh**.

I cross the border fairly often and do know the official Canadian law regarding this, but instead of me telling you something that you could either believe or not believe, you'd be better off checking with Canadian customs, they are the ones who will either deny or allow your friends entry into their country.

Oh, by the way, it's called extortion if someone else besides a government does it, and Huntingbucks is getting pretty close to answering your question!!

Huntingbucks's picture
Huntingbucks
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Bowhuntin,
I agree. I thought I would post so anyone could get there own questions answered straight from the horse

Allen's picture
Allen
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Bowhuntin,

Darn good point.

Legal advice from me will be worth every bit that you pay for it!

Justa na obeservation here, but there are attorneys who are members of this site. Don't see them offering up the free legal advice very often.

Seems people are always far more willing to be online experts in professions they did not spend a small fortune and a good portion of their life to learn. I guess I am not really much better, there are lots of FBO topics that I deal with on a professional basis, but tend to keep a good keyboard or two away from on the internet!

“Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it.” ~ Mark Twain

Allen's picture
Allen
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Apparently I am a great typist and should offer up some free online courses!

Just two beers and two left hands full of thumbs and yo too could typs six words a minute....incorrectly......

“Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it.” ~ Mark Twain

Bowhuntin's picture
Bowhuntin
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Huntingbucks,
Are you from the area? I go through at Pembina pretty often, and also at Warroad. Pembina is one of the busiest ports there is on the USA/Canadian border, so it is sometimes better to go through the Noyes port a mile east of Pembina, but why take a chance on a fishing trip if you have vacation scheduled and everything?

Bowhuntin's picture
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Allen,
Hope you didn't take offense to my post, you gave the best advice, or at least the best next to mine!!! There are lots of experts on here, that's for sure, the trick is to figure out which ones know what they're talking about, and which are full of sh** up to the ears!!!

Huntingbucks's picture
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Bowhuntin,
I am from that area. I know that number to the Canadian Officers is correct. And is available by calling any US Port of Entry and asking. Just trying to be a nice guy and help a few people out looking for help.

Allen's picture
Allen
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Naw, no offense taken. I too try to stay away from specific legal advice unless I can cite the actual passages in the law. Just don't know the actual phone number for the Canadian version of border patrol

On a humorous note: A number of years ago I had to go back and forth to Canada for work. This really raises red flags at the border. Words like "work visas" were really hot issue to them with their unemployment rates. Well, I was already employed in the U.S. and just had to go up to Canada as part of work. So after repetitively getting grilled over why I didn't need a work visa, I pulled into the entrance one time and when asked if I had anything to "declare" I said "yeah, I hate coming to Canada!". It took the poor gal by such surprise she let me pass by just wishing me a happy day. It was the first time in many trips that I didn't undergo the hour plus grilling in the border shack over why I was going to Canada.

About a mile or two up the road I had to actually pull over because I was laughing so hard at my own terseness with the gal. I think I sat there for almost 5 minutes until I got my composure back.

I think it was also the ONLY time I had actually included an hour in my travel time for the grilling at the border. Funny how things work out for me at times.

“Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it.” ~ Mark Twain

Bowhuntin's picture
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Huntingbucks,
Nice of you to help out, hope anyone who has questions takes your advice and calls customs so they get it from the horses mouth.

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whats not funny is that we have to go through all the Canadian stuff and at the same time our borders are being crossed by thousands of people that have done way worse than been caught for a dui. Yet we have to be scruitinized just to take a foshing trip to Canada. Something is entirely wrong with this picture.

you gonna set steel or whistle dixie

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Here's how it works. You pull up to the port. They automatically run the plates on the vehicle and match it with the drivers license of the driver. Most cases that's all that happens. If that checks fine, your in. Ocassionally they will ask for others licenses. Sometimes they run the license numbers, sometimes not. They usually just look to make sure you appear to be who you are. If they run the license and a DUI shows up that is less than 10 years old, here's what happens. They will deny you access to Canada. When you complain, they will say "well you can apply for a one time admittance for $150. However there is no guarantee you will get in and if you don't we keep the $150." Chances are better the older the DUI is. If it's fresh, probably not. You are more likely to be ID'd if your pulling a boat, because chances are they will pull you to the side and look the vehicle over. While doing that they will ID you.

Bowhuntin's picture
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When you pull up to the port of entry they run the plates on the vehicle and the information they get is a history of that vehicles border crossings, such as where and how many times, any wants or warrants of the registered owner, the owners name and address, and also a history of the owners border crossings if they own more than one vehicle. Very seldom have I ever been asked to produce a drivers license, actually I can't ever remember being asked for it. They will ask where you live, citizen of what country, any cigarettes or firearms on board, and any live bait if pulling a boat or in posession of fishing equipment. If they ask if you've had a DUI don't lie because the answer to that question is at their fingertips. And don't plan on crossing.

Tonts1's picture
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Bowhuntin, how are you? Do you think it's different for hunting as opposed to fishing? When we go up to hunt, we have the Canadian PAL and zip right through (also have our guns registered), but those who go with us without the PAL get asked a lot of questions, have to produce ID. I have heard it is easier to get through while fishing. My brother has had a DUI (within the last 10 years), and he got in last fall. They didn't even ask him, he did, however, have a backup plan at the border to be picked up so his friends could continue on if he couldn't.

Also, can't you get a special exemption from the Queen?

marine_man's picture
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I've crossed twice in the past 4 months.. the first time we got sent inside to answer a bunch of questions.. the second time we got through fine...

You MUST have a passport or birth certificate as well as a picture ID to cross the border... at least at the Pembina location... both times we were asked for it.

marine_man

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I think I read somewhere that a birth cert. and drivers license will no longer work in 2007 and you will have to have a passport to cross into Canada.

While there is something to be said for respecting the laws of a country that you are visiting, it seems to me that the policy of refusing to admit those convicted of first offense DUI's (or charging $150) is detrimental to a Canadian economy that relies, at least in part, on tourism dollars spent by people from the states who just want to get away to a place where they can fish in solitude. I wonder whether lodge owners have made any lobbying efforts toward relaxing the border crossing requirements. Not to take DUI lightly, as it is a serious offense, and although only a misdemeanor in the US, it has somewhat severe consequences for those convicted. But normal, otherwise law-abiding people make mistakes, and with tougher standards on DUI (.08 and a tougher prosecutorial attitudes) a lot of people find themselves with this bleimish on their record. Nonetheless, it's not the crime of the century. From reading these posts, it seems to me that there are some very negative feelings among American fishermen. This can't be good for business.

Tonts1's picture
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zpeters, perhaps the Canadians take DUI's more seriously than we do. I have no problems with that law.

This is from the official US Gov't website on Canadian Passport requirement:

December 31, 2006 - Requirement applied to all air and sea travel to or from Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Bermuda.
December 31, 2007 - Requirement extended to all land border crossings as well as air and sea travel.

Bottom line is if you plan to go anywhere, I'd get a passport. Very easy to get and make travel much easier.

Tonts

Farnorth's picture
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The information quoted above about implementing passport requirements is not a Canadian change. It refers to U.S. requirements for entering the U.S. I expect that Canada will probably mirror our changes as they have cooperated with us regarding port of entry hours, etc.

I live 14 miles from the border and cross frequently. I expect that my family will go through the process of getting passports. For people who cross infrequently and seldom travel out of the country, it is a decision that carries a cost. Passports for adults cost $97 and children under 14 are $82. That will cost me $358. I can live with that but I expect some people won't spend the money and will stay in the U.S. for their travel. The government website indicates a processing time of 6 weeks. You can speed up the process by paying an additional $60 per passport if you are in a hurry. Look at www.travel.state.gov for more information. This is the State Department website.

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Farnorth,

I suppose you can disregard the information I posted if you intend to not return to the US. Also, it is my understanding the amount is going to go up, so I suggest getting a Passport now if you intend to go anywhere outside the US. I believe the price you quoted is only the Passport fee, and the US Postal Service charges to process. I received mine a few weeks ago and I believe we paid a total of around $140 apiece.

I go to Canada once a year to hunt geese. The cheapest, most fun vacation I go on, so that price is negligible.

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Tonts,
I won't argue with you if you paid $140. The website indicated that the processing fee was $30 and was part of the $97 cost. Whatever, it's probably not that big of a deal in the long run when you consider the passport is good for 15 years.

I wasn't trying to be a smart aleck when I pointed out the source of the changes. I was merely attempting to avoid somebody going on a rant about how the Canadians are causing all of the problem. It is our rules that are changing with regard to passports, not theirs.

For a hunting or fishing trip of a lifetime, the cost of a passport is not a big deal. It IS important to somebody with a family who might consider a one time excursion to Canada for shopping, sightseeing, or a vacation. I can see somebody deciding to change their vacation plans and stay within our borders due to the added cost of passports for the whole family.

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Tonts,
I'm trying to keep dry up here, Drayton blocked main street off today and we are building an earthen dike along side the street to keep all that water from out west (and east) off main street. This is not good when the snow pack melts in 3 days. All we need now is a couple inches of rain throughout the valley!!

marine_man,
How far do you live from the Pembina crossing, and how far into Canada did you travel when you got asked for a photo I.D.? I live 30 miles south of Pembina and cross there fairly often and they never ask for a photo I.D., but I never go too far into Canada either. Maybe that makes a difference? Or maybe I just look more honest than the average guy? HA!

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Farnorth,
Good point, it isn't the Canadians idea for the passports it's the USA. Millions of wetbacks illegally in the country but we require the people who legally cross the border to show a passport. Only an American politician could dream up an idea like that!!

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Here is the situation with a prior DWUI and entry into Canada. This is accurate information, as a relative of mine is currently in the middle of the nightmare and I've been helping him. He has a DWUI conviction from 1991. Has since entered Canada a number of times, but sick of worrying. He had to contact the Canadian consulate in Seattle, WA (which is a whole story in itself)! He was informed that, according to Canadian law, there is no time exclusion; any felony and some misdemeanors (i.e. assault/domestic violence), no matter how long ago they occured. However, border agents typically can exercise discretion in enforcing the law. One word of caution: If you are asked about any criminal record by border agents, and you lie, you run the risk of arrest. If you're honest, they may or may not grant you entrance. Canadian consulate sent him an application (can't recall the exact name of the document; something about "rehabilitation"). He completed the form and was required to obtain all court documents related to his case(e.g. judgment & order, proof that sentence was satisfied. etc). He then mailed all documents, along with a check for $150.00, to the Canadian consulate headquarters. They returned it, advising he needed to submit another document to the FBI in Washington, D.C., so that agency could run a formal criminal records check(called an NCIC check). Ironically, after receiving it, his DWUI was not on the FBI records! Anyway, that piece of paper was sent to Canadian consulate headquarters; now he is waiting to hear an answer. The whole process has taken him approximately 5 months and still not finished yet. It is his understanding if the Canadian consulate grants him a "certificate of rehabiliation", he can enter Canada as many times as he desires, provided he has passport/photo ID and no further law violations.

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Tonts1
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Farnorth, I stand corrected. I looked at my checkbook: $134 to Passports, and $60 to Postal Service. $97 apiece.

Bowhuntin,

I was there in '97, not a homeowner, but was displaced. What a time. Never want to go through something like that again. Hope you stay dry.

One other thing, it appears to me the crossing you choose makes a difference. Smaller ones seem to be better. The first time I went to Canada to hunt was three days after 9/11/01, talk about security. We must have spent 2 hours there and they looked at every single thing we had in our vehicle. It has gotten much more lax, IMHO, lately, but with the PALs for hunting, they pretty much waive us through.

Tonts

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