Do you have a DUI charge on your record and want to know how to get a DUI pardon in Canada? A DUI conviction is one of the most often pardoned criminal offences in Canada under the Criminal Code. If you are convicted of DUI, you must apply for a Canada DUI pardon. On the other hand, if you are not charged with a DUI following an arrest, you should ask for a DUI removal and file destruction to have your fingerprints and police information removed. A DUI arrest is treated quite severely in Canada, and it is unusual to be judged not guilty of a DUI.
What is a DUI?
A DUI is the most common type of impaired driving charge in Canada. Impaired driving is a criminal offence which consists of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. A DUI is a type of impaired driving offence that involves operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol only.
In Canada, since 1921 a DUI is considered a federal criminal offence. You can be charged with a DUI conviction if your blood alcohol level exceeds 80mg of alcohol in 100mg of blood (.08).
If an officer suspects you of driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol and you refuse to provide a breath sample, you can still be arrested, fined and/or have your licence suspended. This charge will also show on your criminal record.
What is the penalty for a DUI?
Each province has their own additional penalties for DUI convictions. For example, in British Columbia if your blood-alcohol concentration is over 0.05:
- For a first offence the individual can be hit with an immediate licence suspension, $200 fine, three day licence seizure and you will have to apply to have your licence reinstated.
- If you receive a second offence within a five year period, you may receive a $300 fine, have to attend a responsible driver classe, 7 day licence suspension and vehicle impound.
- A third offence can result in a thirty day licence suspension and vehicle seizure, $400 fine and admission to the interlock program. Also known as a ‘blow-n-go’. This involves having a device installed in your car where you are required to provide a breath sample before your car will start to ensure you are not over the legal limit.
If you are convicted of a driving offence that resulted in serious injury or death, including a DUI conviction, this can carry a maximum penalty of life in prison
What is a Pardon?
A Pardon, now known as a Record Suspension, is an application submitted to the Parole Board of Canada (PBC) to clear your criminal record. Once the PBC deems you eligible and grants your Pardon (Record Suspension), your record will be clear within Canada. If a prospective employer, volunteer agency, landlord or school requests a criminal background check, once the Pardon is granted, your criminal record will come back clear. There will be no mention of the DUI and you can move on with your life. There are many benefits to getting a Record Suspension.
How do I get a Pardon for a DUI charge?
To be eligible for a Pardon (Record Suspension) there are certain criteria you have to adhere to. Once you meet this criteria, you can start your application to get a Pardon.
To apply for a record suspension, you must have completed all of your sentences, which includes:
- all fines, surcharges, costs, restitution and compensation orders;
- all sentences of imprisonment, conditional sentences, including parole and statutory release;
- any probation order(s).
Documentation required for the application can be found on the Canadian government website. Gathering these documents can take approximately 4-6 months to obtain, therefore we recommend starting to prepare your application 3-4 months prior to your eligibility date.
Some individuals might not have the time or knowledge required in obtaining these documents, or may just want a professional service to ensure the application is fully completed and all necessary documentation is submitted to avoid delays. That is where AllCleared comes in! We are one of the first Pardon services within Canada and have over 32 years experience in preparing these applications. Our knowledgeable staff constantly keep up to date on the ever changing legislation in relation to these applications. Did you know that the eligibility criteria changed again in 2020?
We keep our clients up to date on all the changes and ensure the best possible application is submitted to the Parole Board of Canada for review.
Once the PBC receives the application. For summary convictions they can take approximately 6-9 months to review and grant the Pardon. If there are any indictable offences on your record they can take up to 12 months to review and grant the Record Suspension.
All in all the application process can take approximately 1-1.5 years.
Do I need a Pardon to enter the US with a DUI?
Firstly, the US does not recognize Canadian Pardons, therefore if you have a criminal record you need to obtain a US waiver in order to be admissible into the United States.
A DUI translates to a traffic violation in the US, as opposed to a criminal offence. You will not need a US Waiver if you only have one DUI charge, and may travel freely into the US.
If you have more than one DUI convictions, specifically three DUI charges, you will be inadmissible into the US and require a US Waiver to gain entry. Check your eligibility here.
- According to The Police-reported crime statistics in Canada, 2019 the rate of police-reported impaired driving (alcohol, drugs and unspecified) increased 19% in 2019. This increase was primarily due to increases in both alcohol-impaired (+9%) and drug-impaired driving (+43%). New impaired driving legislation, which came into force in 2018, provided police with greater authority to conduct alcohol and drug screening, which may have allowed police to detect more instances of impaired driving. Under this legislation, a relatively high number (4,618) of incidents were reported in 2019 as impaired driving caused by a combination of alcohol and drugs.
- The Parole Board of Canada’s 2019 Corrections and Conditional Release Statistical Overview showed that Impaired Driving, Common Assault and Theft are the three most frequent cases in adult courts. Criminal code traffic charges amount to 12.72% of adult offences and out of this percentage, 10.08% of those traffic charges are impaired driving.
- In 2019-2020, the Parole Board of Canada received 12,441 record suspension/pardon applications and accepted 9,587 applications (77%) for processing. There were 2,643 record suspension/pardon applications (21%) that were rejected at screening due to ineligibility, no payment, wrong processing fee and/or missing documentation.