Temporary Resident Permit - Reckless Driving, Canada | Application for Criminal Rehabilitation - Reckless Driving
Marc Laforce, Certified Canadian Immigration Consultant
What is the equivalent of a reckless driving conviction in Canada?
The formal term used for the offence of reckless driving under the Canadian Criminal Code is "Dangerous Operation of a Motor Vehicle", found in Section 249(1)(a).
Reckless driving includes the use of motor vehicles as well as vessels, water skis, surfboards, water sleds, aircraft and railway equipment.
If the offence does not cause bodily harm or death, the maximum punishment for reckless driving is a five-year prison sentence. If the offence causes bodily harm, the maximum punishment is doubled to a ten-year sentence; in an accident involving death, the maximum term of imprisonment is fourteen years.
Can a reckless driving conviction make me inadmissible for entry to Canada?
A "Dangerous Operation of a Motor Vehicle" is a "hybrid" offence, which allows a judge to convict someone of a misdemeanour or felony offence under the Canadian penal code.
Hybrid offences will therefore render a non-Canadian traveler, student, worker or permanent resident inadmissible to Canada.
What are some US strategies for overcoming inadmissibility pending reckless driving cases?
If you're in the middle of a reckless driving case and are required to travel to Canada for business or personal reasons, the ideal strategy is to reduce the charge to an equivalent "careless driving" or similar offence.
For driving to be deemed "dangerous", it must markedly depart from the standard of care you would expect of a reasonable and average driver. To be a "careless driver", on the other hand, the defendant's driving must depart sufficiently from the standard, that is, of a prudent and reasonable driver, to make the driving deserving of punishment. The difference is subtle but distinct in law. Think of a "careless driver" as creating a "breach of duty to the public" and deserving punishment.
While "careless driving" is a serious offence under most highway traffic laws in Canada, it is not a criminal offence and will not make you inadmissible to Canada. For instance, under the Highway Traffic Act of Ontario, careless driving is punishable by a $2000 fine and you can have your licence suspended for two years, but again it is not criminal.
In R. v. Beauchamp (1953), the Ontario Court of Appeal held that a careless offence is illustrated by a motorist who damages a car while attempting to park his vehicle between two cars. This might give rise to civil damages but shouldn't be considered criminal unless the court can prove malicious intent.
I have a reckless driving conviction and need to be in Canada, so what do I do?
Reckless driving offences remain one of the top inadmissible cases for US residents. We have considerable experience in dealing with this particular offence and have learned what works and what doesn't.
Our firm can assist you in either getting the reckless driving offence permanently resolved by way of submitting a Criminal Rehabilitation application to a Canadian Consulate or Embassy or, if your travel is urgent and compelling, finding a lawful entry solution by way of a Temporary Resident Permit.
Either way, we do not recommend that you prepare an application or permit without at least consulting a licenced admissibility expert in the field.
To schedule a consultation, contact Serena Mergeani at firstname.lastname@example.org. Serena may be reached at our US Head Office at 214-295-6051.
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