Will You Be Penalized In America For A DUI Committed In Canada?

Canada is a popular tourist destination and, as such, many people visit America's friendly northern neighbor. Unfortunately, some people drink too much, drive, and end up getting a DUI in that country. One common question many people have is whether or not a DUI in Canada will affect their driving privileges in America. It doesn't, but there are other legal consequences you may face.

Civilian DUI Convictions

In general, an American who gets a DUI in Canada will not face administrative or criminal prosecution in the US for the crime. You will be arrested, charged, and tried in Canada. If you are sentenced to jail time, you will typically be required to complete it in a Canadian jail or prison. However, Canada currently does not have an agreement with the United States that requires the country to report DUI convictions to the American's home state. Thus, you will not face any of the sanctions in the US that are normally associated with DUIs.

It's important to note, though, that you may face other legal issues. If you're convicted of a DUI in Canada, you may be barred from entering the country for a period of time, as Canada will turn away any non-Canadian citizen with a non-rehabilitated conviction on their records.

Another issue is if you leave the country without resolving the case, you could be extradited back to Canada, since America does have an extradition treaty with its northern neighbor, and driving drunk is illegal in both countries. Whether this will happen may depend on the seriousness of the charges. The Crown prosecutor may not think it is worth his or her time and energy to drag you back if there were no injuries or property damage. However, if you got into a serious accident and someone died, the prosecutor may put in a request that you be arrested and sent back to Canada to stand trial.

Military DUI Convictions

Military members who receive DUI convictions while in Canada are handled a little differently depending on whether they were on-duty or off-duty. If you were off-duty and away from the military base when you were arrested, you will typically be treated like a civilian and made to go through the host-country's court system. On the other hand, the Canadian court may refer your case to the military court if you're arrested for a DUI while on-duty, even if you were off-base when it occurred. This may result in a court marshal, jail time, and you being asked to leave the service.

Regardless, a charge or conviction usually won't affect your driving privileges in America. However, your commanding officer may subject you to severe administrative actions, including reduced rank, which can affect your standing in the military. Additionally, the military may revoke your driving privileges in the host country for a period of time as many people arrested for drunk driving in Germany have learned.

For more information about DUI arrests in Canada or assistance with handling the legal fallout associated with a conviction, contact an attorney, such as those at Connolly & Associates.