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Tom B.
Tom B., Barrister & Solicitor
Category: Canada Law
Satisfied Customers: 2125
Experience:  23 years in practice
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If I get a DUI will I for sure get a criminal record? Is there

Resolved Question:

If I get a DUI will I for sure get a criminal record? Is there anyway around it? I wanted to go to university in London, England and am worried about not getting let into the country or unable to get a work/school visa.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Canada Law
Expert:  Tom B. replied 2 years ago.

Tom Bulmer :

Hello

Tom Bulmer :

Have you been charged?

Customer:

Not yet, 20 days I have a court date.

Tom Bulmer :

There are methods of avoiding such a charge but they are all fact based. In other words, if the evidence does not prove a "DUI" (Impaired or over .08), then the Crown may accept a lessor charge under a provincial law such as driving with undue care. The latter is motor vehicle and does not involve a criminal conviction.

Tom Bulmer :

However, assume for now that the Crown wants a Criminal Conviction.

Customer:

I will get a DUI for sure, I know this already. I was almost quadruple over the limit so that is inevitable.

Customer:

When I spoke to the cop that night, he said I would probably lose my license for a year and then a breathalizer for a year. Understandable and I think I deserve that. I did ask then if this would effect going to England and he said it shouldn't. But I do know some ppl who cannot even leave Canada for 5 years because of a DUI and criminal record.

Tom Bulmer :

Regardless, on your first court day, you will receive a package of all evidence against you. You should ask for an adjournment of a month and read it with care and consult a lawyer. You may be correct that there is something inevitable but you need a bit of breathing space.

Tom Bulmer :

You can leave Canada at any time. What the cop did not understand is whether another country will accept you.

Customer:

I have spoken to a lawyer briefly (friend of a friend) and they had said as well that England shouldn't be a problem, America on the other had would.

Customer:

Not sure why? Laws higher?

Customer:

hand*

Customer:

I don't know if it would matter, but I would never be driving in England

Tom Bulmer :

A criminal conviction does seem to be of a higher consequence in the US than in the UK. Having said that, a US citizen is often barred from entry to Canada for a DUI. We have rather strict entry requirements as well.

Tom Bulmer :

It is all about entry and not about driving.

Tom Bulmer :

http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/britishcitizenship/eligibility/goodcharacter/#

Customer:

That's what I thought.

Tom Bulmer :

Please look at this site and inquire.

Tom Bulmer :

From my read, you have a better chance if convicted visiting the UK than the US but I am not a lawyer in either sovereign state. They make there own rules that can change on a dime.

Tom Bulmer :

Foreign countries make their own rules of entry.

Customer:

Just so I understand fully... an unspent conviction.. is what I have right now, correct? I'm between the event and court date.

Tom Bulmer :

Correct. So, tomorrow you can get on a plane anywhere and tell anyone that you have no criminal conviction.

Tom Bulmer :

You are not yet convicted of anything.

Customer:

Right

Tom Bulmer :

So, you need to see the package to see if there are any defences on this charge and ask for an adjournment on the charge for at least a month. Then, you decide what you want to do about the charge. In the interim, you can travel to the USA and should investigate the ramifications with the UK of any future possible conviction.

Tom Bulmer :

The UK seems to be interested in "unspent" convictions. You may wish to inquire whether that means unpaid fines or yet not to be final driving prohibitions.

Customer:

Why should I postpone for a month? If I speak to a lawyer before and give them everything I have right now (tickets, papers etc. from that night) and all the information I have that would contribute to my conviction, wouldn't that be enough?

Tom Bulmer :

If convicted you will get a $1000 fine and a 12 month driving prohibition and I have no idea what the UK considers an "unspent" conviction.

Customer:

Here would that be considered unspent?

Customer:

Because after the 12 months I don't need to go back to court do I? That's the final conviction.

Tom Bulmer :

You can do as you please but sometimes a breath detection device is not working and sometimes the police to do demand properly and there can be other defences. At least you owe yourself to have that file reviewed by a lawyer if only the Duty Counsel lawyer of the day at the court house.

Customer:

I went with the police officer back to the station and did the 2 breathalizers there, so I don't think I would be able to use that it wasn't working as anything since I technically did 3 altogether.

Customer:

One at the scene and 2, 15 minutes apart or however long, back at the station.

Customer:

Which at the time, my understanding was that going along with the cops and cooporating was the best thing to do, and doing the second breathalizer was better than denying it. But so far, all I've heard is bad things because I did go with them back to the station.

Tom Bulmer :

I suspect "unspent" means that something else has to happen. But, I do not know what a UK customs official has to say. I am rather certain that you could go now and that you could go much later.

Customer:

Also.. I still have my N... which I know I will probably lose my license longer or more fines because of that. Do u have any idea about that as well?

Customer:

And I've had a 24hr with that already... and ICBC suspended my license for 3 months about 2 months after it all happened. I'm not sure if that suspension will show up to the police because I had 3 months to hand it in on my own and it was all just because of too many point on my N.

Tom Bulmer :

I am only advising you to seek legal advice. I am not your lawyer and impaired is a really a complex area. A mere burp can change everything. But, on your belief you are guilty, the question becomes when you become guilty by a guilty plea. As soon as you enter a guilty plea, you have a criminal record.

Customer:

I am planning on speaking to a lawyer beforehand

Customer:

I think it would be stupid to try anything but a guilty plea

Customer:

There really is no point seeing as they have 2 readings of my blood alcohol level

Tom Bulmer :

BC is going through a transition. Part of the law that gave you a suspension has been found unconstitutional as long as the "offender" was also charged with a criminal offence. You need to discuss this with a lawyer.

Customer:

I will be sure to mention that

Tom Bulmer :

You can decide what to do on your instincts or you can decide what to do based upon the law. It may be that they all come together and become the same. But. today, you do not know whether you are guilty of anything.

Customer:

How? When I have a paper that says my exact blood alcohol level? And that it increased from the first to second.

Customer:

When does a criminal record get cleared? As in years? I have the number 5 stuck in my head for some reason?

Tom Bulmer :

I do not want to raise a false hope. A lawyer will want to know how the breath demand was given and why. A lawyer may want to see if the machine was calibrated properly. If the subject was not observed properly for 20 minutes and then burped.......it goes on and on.

Tom Bulmer :

If convicted, you may apply for a pardon after 3 years.

Customer:

Ohh ok

Tom Bulmer :

Most of the time a DUI is just that and there is not much anyone can do. However, I had success because police did not deal with the issue properly or that it was likely the readings were not accurate. I am not stating that you have a defence just that you have a right to investigate. It will not be until June that the BC Supreme Court deals with the suspension issue. So, my advice is, do not make life changing decisions without talking to a lawyer.

Tom Bulmer :

Here is the link to the lawyer referral service....

Tom Bulmer :

http://www.cba.org/bc/public_media/main/lawyer_referral.aspx

Customer:

thanks

Tom Bulmer :

They will give you the names of lawyers in your area that will meet with you for free or at little cost.

Tom Bulmer :

You need to ask for criminal defence lawyers.

Customer:

ok

Tom Bulmer :

I hope this has assisted. If so, please "accept" my answer for my time.

Tom Bulmer :

Please also let me know what happened.

Tom B., Barrister & Solicitor
Category: Canada Law
Satisfied Customers: 2125
Experience: 23 years in practice
Tom B. and 2 other Canada Law Specialists are ready to help you

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