In the state of California, an initial charge for driving under the influence (“DUI”), can sometimes lead to a conviction for something known as a “Wet Reckless”. This occurs when the prosecution agrees to a plea of guilty or nolo contendere to a charge of reckless driving instead of the initial charge of DUI. The conviction, though for reckless driving and not for a DUI, then nonetheless specifically mentions that alcohol was involved in the offense. As this is not a DUI conviction, it brings up the following question: “Can a wet reckless conviction prevent entry into Canada?”
In order for inadmissibility to apply, there has to be a Canadian equivalent for the offense in question. In this case, a wet reckless could be interpreted in one of two ways. First, if we are to take the charge to the letter, it would represent a conviction for reckless driving, for which there exist a Canadian equivalent offense. However, if we are to take the presence of alcohol, while the offense was committed, into consideration, then this would lead to an alcohol-related driving offense, for which there also exists an equivalent.
In either case, having a wet reckless on your record can lead to issues at the border if the proper authorization has not be requested. The fact that the initial DUI charge did not result in a conviction should not be misinterpreted as meaning that there is no problem with respect to inadmissibility issues. Applying for a temporary resident permit would be a possible, though temporary, option for anyone who needs to enter Canada. Applying for criminal rehabilitation would also be a possible option, provided over five years have passed since the completion of every condition pertaining to the wet reckless conviction. Please contact us for any specific questions you might have.