Could an Impaired Driving Charge Prevent Me From Obtaining a Passport?

April 26th, 2021
Could an Impaired Driving Charge Prevent Me From Obtaining a Passport?

Being charged with impaired driving can have a great number of negative effects on your life but can it effect your eligibility for a passport? The answer is both yes and no.

If you are currently undergoing legal proceedings, awaiting trial, or are in the middle of completing a sentence then you may not be eligible for a passport. Even if you are relatively certain you will be found innocent, you should wait until the proceedings have finished as you will likely be denied a passport until a verdict has been issued. However, assuming that none of the above is true, if you already have a criminal record with a driving-under-the-influence conviction and are a Canadian Citizen you should not be denied a passport (in theory).

It is important to note that just because you have received a passport you may still be denied entry into foreign countries. You may be required to obtain a visa before you are granted entry into a foreign country and frequently background checks are performed before visas are granted which may reveal that you have a criminal record if you have been convicted of a DUI*.

Usually, a single DUI is not enough for border agents to deny you entry as it is not considered a serious offence. However, in the past individuals have been denied entry to foreign countries when they have multiple DUIs or a DUI combined with some other minor offences.

The denial of entry to foreign countries is why all criminal charges should be taken seriously no matter how minor. Whether the offence is a DUI, shoplifting or other lesser crime, it will stay on your record and could impact your life in the future. British Columbia has some very tough impaired-driving laws.

Therefore, as soon as you are charged, you should engage an experienced defence lawyer to defend you. Feel free to contact our offices to discuss what our experienced team can do for you.

*DUI stands for Driving Under the Influence (of drugs or alcohol). It is not the legal term used in Canada, but it is a term that most people are familiar with.

Gagan Nahal is a criminal defence lawyer based in Surrey, British Columbia, although he has represented clients across Canada. He works vigorously and tirelessly defending his clients.

If you have any questions about this article or you would like to talk to Mr. Nahal, please call him directly at (604) 527-4769.