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Criminal Charges & Canadian Border Crossing Issues

A past criminal conviction on your record does not prohibit you from traveling across the Canadian border for both business and leisure activities. With experienced legal support, there are several options in order to overcome inadmissibility to Canada

  • Being deemed rehabilitated at a Canadian Border
  • Approval of Rehabilitation through a Canadian Consulate in the U.S.
  • Approval of a Temporary Resident Permit through a Canadian Consulate in the U.S.
  • Expungement of the Criminal Conviction

The Law Offices of Daniel J. Brazil, P.A. understand how our past can sometimes affect our future choices. Like many in the state of Minnesota, our clients wish to travel to Canada for recreation or business. However, with heightened enforcement at the border, a trip to Canada is increasingly becoming a challenge for clients with past criminal charges. For clients that have spent their lives traveling back and forth to Canada, being refused entry can be frustrating and embarrassing.

The uncertainty of not knowing if you will be denied entry at the border can be avoided. The immigration and criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Daniel J. Brazil, P.A. are here to help with any potential problems while planning your trip to Canada. As there are many types of criminal convictions that prohibit people from crossing the border, there are just as many outlets to overcome these hurdles.

Convictions that Prevent Entry into Canada:

DUI/DWI, Drug crimes, Expungement and Appeals, Traffic violations, civil litigation Embezzlement, Shoplifting, Theft, Assault or Battery, and Firearm charges. Any felony conviction will also result in a denial of admission to Canada.

Who Can and Cannot Enter into Canada?

In Canada, a DUI conviction is a felony and therefore prohibits entrance under the Immigration Act. Thus, anyone with a U.S. conviction that is considered a felony in Canada can be refused entry from Canada. Canadian Customs and Immigration officers have the ultimate authority to permit or deny access to Canada. Many convictions in the U.S., including a DUI, Reckless Driving, Negligent Driving, and Misdemeanor Drug Possession, regardless of when they occurred, can make a person inadmissible to Canada. Inadmissibility is determined by comparing the elements of the crime in the U.S. with the elements of Canadian criminal offenses.

For these reasons, persons with past convictions are highly advised to not travel to Canada without speaking with an experienced attorney about obtaining the appropriate documents. Our offices provide services in legal representation concerning travel to Canada and past criminal convictions. Although we are not licensed to practice in Canada, throughout the process we work closely with a reputable team of Canadian immigration attorneys that can assist in all questions and potential issues as well as how to increase the chances our clients will be granted entry into Canada.

What makes criminal charges serious when crossing the border?

Minnesota DUI/DWI laws have gotten tougher in recent years with the legal limit now being .08 percent blood alcohol content. Minnesota laws are among the strictest in the country, and there is a limited amount of time for a person to act to defend their rights following a DWI arrest in Minnesota. If you are caught driving any type of vehicle with a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher, then you could be facing a DUI criminal conviction. Any criminal conviction, from a felony to a misdemeanor charge, can negatively impact your ability to travel outside of the U.S. However, an experienced Minneapolis defense attorney can effectively challenge every conviction. Along with our proficiency regarding this area, we provide compassion and understanding to ensure the best possible outcome.

Why Do You Need an Attorney?

It is critical that you speak with an attorney proficient in criminal defense immediately. The fact is that many of these charges can be dismissed or reduced. The Law Offices of Daniel J. Brazil, P.A. handle all felony cases that involve problems with crossing the Canadian border, including expungements and trials. From the moment a person is arrested to the time a person travels to Canada, there are several time-sensitive and complicated issues to be addressed immediately. We can help you reduce your sentence and the consequences concerning your conviction in the future.

Aggravating Factors

Factors that determine your DWI/DUI conviction:

  • If you have a past DUI incident within the ten years preceding the current offense
  • If you refuse to provide a urine or blood test, or if you refuse the breathalyzer test
  • If you have a child under the age of 16 in the car with you
  • If you have a blood alcohol reading of .20 or higher

Paths to Overcoming Inadmissibility to Canada

The most frequent problem in regards to overcoming inadmissibility to Canada is filing inaccurate and incomplete court documents. We understand that the process of obtaining and filling out these required documents can be taxing and confusing. It is critical to make no mistakes during this application process. With our team of proficient attorneys and qualified legal staff, we will work together with a timely and precise course of action to eliminate possible inaccuracies during the whole immigration process.

There are four possible options if you have been convicted of an inadmissible offense that thwarts entrance into Canada. These include:

1. Deemed Rehabilitated at a Canadian Border

A person may be deemed rehabilitated upon entry into Canada if: 1) there was only one total conviction, 2) ten years have passed since the conviction, and 3) the conviction would not be considered serious in Canada (most DUI/DWI and other felony convictions are considered serious in Canada). Submitting an application for rehabilitation at the Canadian border does not guarantee the request will be approved. The safest and most efficient option is approval of Rehabilitation or a Temporary Resident Permit, which can be obtained by retaining an experience attorney in advance before you plan on traveling to Cuba.

2. Approval of Rehabilitation

A person may apply for approval of rehabilitation though a Canadian Consulate in the U.S. if more than five years have passed since the conviction. There are various documents required including a completed Application for Criminal Rehabilitation, a United States passport, a recent FBI identification record, and police certificates from the state where the conviction(s) occurred. Our offices will aid clients through every step of this process, including completing the Application, obtaining the necessary records, and coordinating with Canadian Officials about your case.

3. Temporary Resident Permit

If a person is not eligible for deemed or approved rehabilitation, the other option remaining is to apply for a temporary resident permit. This process allows a person to request special permission to enter into Canada with a temporary permit. Through this process, a person submits similar documents required for deemed rehabilitation. Canadian Customs and Immigration officers then review the application form and either permit or deny special admission into Canada. The safest course of obtaining a temporary resident permit is to apply 6 months or more in advance at a Canadian consulate in the U.S. Retaining an attorney who is proficient in Canadian border issues regarding past convictions is essential for approval of a temporary resident permit.

4. Expungement

The process of expungement is complicated, but something that anyone with a past conviction should consider, especially if the conviction is interfering with your business or leisurely travel plans. The difficulty surrounding the expungement process is that it is not set in stone. Because expungement hearings are handled by both the Minnesota Supreme Court as well as the Minnesota Court of Appeals, there are constant updates and changes to the legal proceeding. This is why it is very important to contact a criminal defense attorney if you are considering expungement. The process can take around four months to complete if done appropriately. Many factors determine your ability to have your conviction erased and these factors need to be addressed with aggressive legal defense in order to make a difference to your case.

Contact Us for a Confidential Consultation

To further discuss your specific immigration situation, call 612-874-6109 or contact our Minneapolis, Minnesota, office by e-mail. We will discuss your concerns during a confidential consultation.

Please note that, due to the high volume of calls that we receive on these issues, we charge a $150 advanced flat fee for the consultation. In the event that you choose to retain our firm for assistance with this issue, we will credit the $150 against any additional work on your case.

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