Michigan Lawyer Question for Canadian Citizen Caught Drunk Driving in the United States-Saint Clair Shores Michigan What Happens To My Driver's License?

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I live in Windsor Ontario Canada and I commute to the United States. I work at a small deli right on Harper in Saint Clair Shores Michigan and the damn cops got me for drinking and driving after I had a few. I was drinking some wine with the boys after work and pulled out onto harper and the cops stopped me, gave me and OWI (DUI?) ticket and now I have a court date arraignment at the 40th district court in St. Clair Shores, Michigan. What are the laws and rules for drunk driving in  a Canadian citizen in the States and can I really go to jail realisticly?  How does this effect my drivers license in the united states and canada, someone told me I lose my license.  What are the drunk driving penanlties I can expect and can you help me?


  1. Peter A. Torrice on October 17, 2010 at 4:57 pm said:

    Canadian Citizens or Residents Charged with a Drunk Driving / DUI / OWI or other alcohol related driving offense here in Michigan could have many potential legal issues.

    For the general penalties associated with drunk driving/OWI/DUI in Michigan please visit the link to our main website at http://www.AllLegalMatters.com below:


    One driver’s license issue that the Michigan drunk driving defense attorneys at Canu Torrice Law have experienced through the years is that a plea to a drinking and driving crime in Michigan is not the same as drunk driving in Canada. For example, the attorneys at Canu Torrice Law can plea most 1st time drinking and driving offenders in Michigan to the lesser offense of Operating While Visibly Impaired (OWVI) or “Impaired Driving” as it is commonly called. In Michigan, this would mean that you would not lose your Michigan driver’s license/Michigan Operator’s License (driving license) is merely restricted for 90 days for limited purposes, such as to, from and during work, school, etc. However, under Canadian law, a conviction for Operating While Visibly Impaired/OWVI/Impaired Driving results in a full one (1) year loss of your Canadian driver’s license and you cannot drive for any reason. This presents a major problem for Canadian commuters to the US for work.

    Canadian citizens and nationals living in the province of Ontario beware that if you are convicted of Drunk Driving / OWI / OWVI/ Impaired Driving here in Michigan, will be punished twice if the right steps are not taken. Michigan and Ontario maintain a treaty that requires sharing driver’s license information even though Treaties by a state and a foreign nation are prohibited by the U.S. Constitution; the treaty utilizes a little known exception to the U.S. Constitution concerning Drunk Driving / OWI / OWVI. Section 42.1 of Ontario’s Highway traffic act maintains certain New York and Michigan convictions carrying mandatory suspension of your Canadian license where the conviction itself would not cause an American in the same circumstances to lose his or her driver’s license. The ramification of a conviction for a Canadian citizen who works in the United States can be even worse. Though it carries few immigration consequences, the same as U.S. citizens with Drunk Driving / OWI / OWVI cannot freely travel to Canada. A Canadian citizen with a Drunk Driving / OWI / OWVI cannot freely travel to the US.

    If you are you a Canadian Citizen or Resident arrested on suspicion of a Drunk Driving / OWI / OWVI here in Michigan, you need a Michigan-Canadian drunk driving defense lawyer that knows the law and has helped other Canadians keep their drivers’s license and avoid additional punishments (such as being unable to travel into the US).

    Driver’s license law between Canada and the United States and Michigan are compliated, and you require an attorney that knows the distinctions and differences in driver’s license and drunk driving/OWI/OWVI law. You also need a lawyer that will zealously represent you and do everything possible to get your case dismissed before you are just plead guilty to a crime that could send you to jail and result in a suspension or revocation of your Canadian driver’s license.

    Call me immediately for a free consultation.

    Peter A. Torrice
    Canu Torrice Law
    32059 Utica Road
    Fraser, MI 48026

  2. ontario on October 17, 2010 at 5:08 pm said:

    Thanks for the quick response Peter. I am a canadian that works in Michigan and I don’t want this to get screwed up. My lively hood is in the States and as a Canadian I can not afford to get a OWI in Michigan. Hopefully you can help me with this OWI in Saint Clair Shores. Thanks for your help, I will call you tomorrow.

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