Illinois is relatively close to the Canadian border, and people from Illinois and other nearby states often move there for work or other reasons but maintain their American citizenship. As in Illinois, driving while intoxicated is illegal in Canada. Recent changes to the Criminal Code of Canada, though, can result in significant penalties for non-citizen residents who are convicted of DUI offenses. If you are accused of a DUI crime in Illinois or elsewhere, it is in your best interest to meet with an experienced Illinois DUI lawyer to discuss your rights.
Changes to the Canadian Law
In December 2018, a new law went into effect in Canada, modifying penalties for DUI offenses. Specifically, it changed certain rules with regard to sentencing in that it increased the maximum penalty for such sentences from five to ten years imprisonment in cases in which the Crown proceeds by indictment. While this change may seem relatively insignificant, it may result in a profound impact on people who live in Canada but are not citizens.
Specifically, under a combination of the new DUI law and a Canadian immigration law, DUI convictions would be considered serious crimes, rendering the defendant ineligible for citizenship in Canada. While the change in the law was solely designed to increase penalties for DUI offenses, it is anticipated that it will have a disproportionate punitive effect on people who are not Canadian citizens. Continue reading →