Drunk Driving Leads to Trouble at the Border

By Andy Semotiuk | October 3, 2012

Immigration lawyer Andy Semotiuk: Here is another story of drunk driving leading to trouble with immigration authorities. In this case, it wasn’t a past DUI conviction that got someone into hot water, but rather the fact that the woman from Michigan was drunk at the Canadian border checkpoint:

Kocian drove right past a customs booth at the Blue Water Bridge in Point Edward before slamming on the brakes.

She handed a customs officer her auto club card when asked for the vehicle’s registration and smelled strongly of alcohol.

She was arrested by the Canada Border Services Agency officer for impaired driving and held in custody until she was sentenced.

Breath tests showed her blood-alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit.

The elevated blood-alcohol level warranted a $1,400 fine, said assistant Crown attorney Suzanne LaSha.

It is an aggravating sentencing factor she drove to the border with a blood-alcohol level of more than twice the legal limit, said Justice Deborah Austin.

Austin gave her 90 days to pay a $1,300 fine and imposed a one-year driving ban in Canada.

Note that Canada treats DUI and impaired driving convictions more seriously than the US does. In Canada, if you have a DUI on your record, you can be blocked from entry into the country. This is not true for the United States.

There is a one-time exception to this general Canadian rule, which was brought in due to the large number of Americans who were having trouble coming to Canada on fishing and hunting trips. However, if you plan to travel to Canada more regularly, or more than once, you need to apply for a Temporary Resident Permit.

If you have a DUI on your record, talk to a reputable immigration law firm before making a trip to the border.