A DWI charge or conviction can have an effect on many areas of your life, especially those that you think may not be likely to be impacted.
One area where this is true is if you are a pilot or a merchant marine, as the United States Government and the licensing agencies responsible for overseeing these professions have rigorous requirements for reporting alcohol related arrests and/or convictions. These reporting requirements are mandatory in certain situations whether the arrest and/or conviction was job related or not.
The reporting must be made in writing by way of the Notification Letter to the FAA within sixty days of the conviction or motor vehicle action. It must contain certain information about the offense so, it is vital to retain the services of an experienced DWI attorney to guide you through this process. Federal Law considers intentionally making a fake or fraudulent statement or representation in any matter within the jurisdiction of any department or agency of the United States a federal crime punishable by not more than five years in a federal penitentiary and/or not more than $250,000 fine for an individual or not more than $500,000 fine for an organization.
A DWI conviction for a commercial or military pilot or Merchant Mariner can mean the end of his career. This is an extremely harsh outcome in a legal system where equity should play a part in determining an appropriate punishment for someone. As such, it is reasonable, and should be expected, to approach the District Attorney to discuss other possible outcomes in situations where a onetime mistake can have lifelong repercussions.
A DWI conviction can also impact your ability to travel, especially to a place usually that is usually simple for Americans to travel to: Canada. Although most citizens of the United States may freely travel in and out of Canada without any difficulties, those convicted of certain crimes may be denied entry to Canada because such persons are considered Members of Inadmissible Classes. Canada considers driving under the influence of alcohol an extremely serious offense and often restricts entrance to those with this charge.
If the person seeking admission to Canada was convicted outside Canada and at least five years has elapsed since the end of the custodial portion (if any) of the sentence imposed, he may apply for a Minister’s Approval of Rehabilitation. If granted, the Minister’s Approval will permanently remove inadmissibility resulting from the conviction. The term “custodial portion” means the period of time that you are in jail or in the custody of the state. This can include probation if the sentence was such that you were in the custody of the state and the jail time was suspended.
If less than five years has elapsed since the end of the custodial portion of the sentence, then the person seeking entry may apply for a Temporary Resident Permit if the person is only seeking entry for a single or limited period.
Before either the Approval of Rehabilitation or the Temporary Resident Permit is granted, the Canadian government will consider how old the convictions are, the number of offenses on the applicant’s record, the applicant’s standing in the community, probation reports, and the applicant’s purpose for entering Canada.
Those with DWI convictions are advised to apply well in advance of their travel plans. The Canadian government is similar to any other bureaucracy in that it does not move quickly. Applications can be made at any of the Canadian Visa Offices in the United States.
As you can see, DWI conviction can impact your life in unsuspecting ways. If you work with a skilled DWI attorney, your chances of maintaining normalcy are greatly improved.