With the holidays just around the corner, a lot of people are thinking about international travel. Even if it’s too late to apply for a U.S. passport, we still may be thinking about applying one for next year’s summer vacation.
But, what if you were recently arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) in Oakland or any other part of California? If you are convicted, will you be denied a U.S. passport because of the DUI on your criminal record?
As a general rule, a person will not be denied a U.S. passport because they were convicted of a misdemeanor DUI, or even a felony DUI. In other words, having a recent DUI (in the past 10 years) on your record does not automatically bar you from obtaining a U.S. passport.
However, international travel may be restricted, meaning, you may be able to obtain a passport without a problem, but certain countries may not let you in. If you are found guilty of DUI, we recommend checking the laws in the country that you are trying to visit before you purchase a plane ticket.
For example, Canada is very strict about letting travelers with criminal records visit their country. If you have a recent DUI, Canada will bar you from entering the country. Since Canada frowns heavily on DUI offenses, it does not allow people with misdemeanor or felony DUI convictions into the country, but there are a few limited exceptions.
Other Reasons Why You May Be Denied a U.S. Passport
While a DUI should not stop you from getting a U.S. passport, it is possible for a California judge to set conditions that restrict international travel as a condition of your probation. Here are the reasons why you may be prohibited from travelling internationally (obtaining a U.S. passport):
- The judge presiding over your DUI case considers you to be a “flight risk,”
- You were convicted of a felony drug offense,
- You are on court-ordered probation or parole,
- You owe more than $2,500 in back child support,
- You have unpaid federal loans,
- You committed certain federal offenses,
- You owe money to the Internal Revenue Service, or
- You committed a serious felony DUI and the judge doesn’t want you to flee the country.
If you are facing drug or alcohol-related DUI charges in Oakland or anywhere else in the East Bay, we urge you to contact the Law Office of Nabiel C. Ahmed for a free criminal defense consultation.
If you intend to travel internationally for your job, for school, volunteer work, or for pleasure, you don’t want to leave the country without discussing the legal ramifications with a skilled defense attorney first.