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January 4, 2010 - DUI Charge Can Bar Olympic Tourists from Entering Canada, Lawyers Warn

Americans wanting to get into Canada to attend Olympic events may be told to turn around and go home if they've been convicted - or even charged - with drunk driving.

In Canada, drunk driving is considered a criminal offence, though in the United States, it's often considered only a misdemeanour.

Drunk driving doesn't bar Canadians from the U.S., but it can bar Americans from getting into Canada and with thousands of Americans expected to come to Vancouver and Whistler for the Games, lawyers on both sides of the border say the potential is there for many to get an expensive shock.

A Seattle lawyer says he recently had a client turned away from the border even though he had only been charged, not convicted, of DUI.

But Phillip Chicola, the U.S. consul general in Vancouver, says Americans shouldn't bother complaining to their government about it.

Chicola says it's Canada's law and there's nothing his office can do to help.

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