Featured News 2016 Will a DUI Affect International Travel?

Will a DUI Affect International Travel?

While the penalties vary from state-to-state, generally a conviction for driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs is punishable by fines, probation, driver's license suspension, DUI School, community service, and of course a stigmatized criminal record.

Most drivers in the United States are familiar with the above consequences of a DUI conviction, but many are not familiar with the lesser-known consequences of a DUI, such as how it can affect child custody (in a child custody dispute), housing and employment, college scholarships, professional licenses and in some cases, international travel.

Can I get a U.S. passport with a DUI?

Generally, a DUI conviction will not bar a U.S. citizen from obtaining a U.S. passport, even if it's a felony DUI. However, that does not mean that it's not possible; it can happen though it's rare. Under the following circumstances, a judge may prevent a criminal defendant from travelling abroad:

  • The defendant is a "flight risk,"
  • The defendant committed a particularly heinous DUI crime, for example, he or she killed three or four people in a DUI accident,
  • The judge says the defendant cannot travel out-of-state as a condition of their probation, or
  • The defendant committed a federal offense.

So, will a DUI conviction automatically stop you from travelling abroad or obtaining a U.S. passport? No, having a DUI on your record should not prevent you from obtaining a passport, unless one of the above examples applies in your situation.

While a DUI should not affect your ability to apply for and receive a U.S. passport, other countries may not let you in. Canada for example, imposes travel restrictions upon people who have DUI conviction on their record. Even if you have a misdemeanor DUI, Canada probably won't let you enter the country with a DUI in the past 10 years.

Basically, before you decide to purchase those non-refundable tickets to Europe in a once in a lifetime sale you found online, check with the country first to make sure they don't impose travel restrictions on foreign visitors with DUI convictions.

The best way to keep your travel options open is to avoid a DUI conviction in the first place. If you're facing DUI or DWI charges, contact a DUI defense attorney for help!

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