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How to remove a DUI or impaired driving offence

January 31, 2024
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Andrew Tanenbaum
Pardons Canada

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Removing a DUI (Driving Under the Influence) or an impaired driving offense from a criminal record in Canada is a complex legal procedure, fundamentally involving applying for a record suspension, formerly known as a pardon. This article outlines the legal process, eligibility criteria, and other important considerations for individuals seeking to remove a DUI or impaired driving offense from their criminal record in Canada.

How to remove a DUI or impaired driving offence

Understanding Record Suspensions

A record suspension, under the Criminal Records Act of Canada, allows individuals with a criminal record to have their record set aside. It does not erase the conviction but makes it inaccessible through standard criminal record checks, aiding in employment, travel, and other opportunities where a criminal record may be a hindrance.

Eligibility for Record Suspension

Eligibility for a record suspension for a DUI or impaired driving offense in Canada involves several criteria:

  1. Completion of Sentence: All aspects of the sentence, including jail time, probation, fines, or driving prohibitions, must be fully served.
  2. Waiting Period: A mandatory waiting period must be completed after the sentence:
    • Five years for summary conviction offenses, typically applicable to less severe DUI cases.
    • Ten years for indictable offenses, generally for more serious instances of impaired driving.
  3. Good Conduct: Applicants must demonstrate they have not been convicted of new offenses and have lived a crime-free life during the waiting period.

Ineligibility Factors

Certain convictions, like sexual offenses against minors, may render an individual ineligible for a record suspension. However, most DUI or impaired driving offenses, unless extremely serious or part of a pattern of repeated offenses, do not automatically lead to ineligibility.

Application Process for Record Suspension

  1. Criminal Record: Obtain a copy of your criminal record from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) through fingerprint identification.
  2. Court Documents: Collect all court documents related to the DUI offense, proving that all aspects of the sentence have been completed.
  3. Local Police Records: Get a criminal record check from local police in every area where you have resided during the last five years.
  4. Application Form: Accurately complete the application form available from the Parole Board of Canada.
  5. Application Fee: As of 2023, the fee is $644.88, subject to change.
  6. Submit Application: Forward the completed application, along with all supporting documents and the application fee, to the Parole Board of Canada.

Legal Considerations

  1. Severity of the Offense: The nature of the DUI offense can impact the application process. More severe cases might require a more comprehensive explanation and evidence of rehabilitation.
  2. Impact on Driving Record: While a record suspension can help clear a criminal record, it may not affect driving records held by provincial or territorial motor vehicle agencies.
  3. Revocation and Cessation: A record suspension can be revoked or cease to be effective if the individual is convicted of a new crime, is found to be no longer of good conduct, or if the suspension was obtained through false or misleading information.
  4. Travel Considerations: A record suspension does not guarantee entry into other countries, such as the United States, where DUI convictions may affect admissibility.

Post-Record Suspension Scenario

Once a record suspension is granted, the DUI conviction will not appear in most criminal record checks, easing limitations faced in various aspects of life, especially in employment. However, the record is not erased and can still be accessed under certain circumstances, such as in criminal investigations or by certain government agencies.

The process of removing a DUI or impaired driving offense from a criminal record in Canada through a record suspension is a legal avenue that offers individuals the opportunity to mitigate the impact of past mistakes. It involves a detailed application process, adherence to legal requirements, and often proof of personal rehabilitation. While it does not erase the conviction, it provides a means for individuals to move forward with fewer obstacles related to their past criminal record, supporting the principle of rehabilitation and reintegration into society.

You may consider using Pardons Canada (pardons.org) to assist in the pardon, file destruction and US waiver application process. Pardons Canada (pardons.org) has been helping Canadians for over 35 years and has an expert staff of over 25 employees at their head office to gather and prepare all of the necessary documentation for the application process.  You can speak to any counselor at 1877-929-6011 extension 1 and they would be happy to provide a free consultation on your specific case.

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Pardons Canada

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