We live in a time where people travel a lot – for work, for college, for pleasure, and to visit family. In Oakland, San Francisco, and throughout the East Bay, we have a large immigrant population so travel is an important issue that affects countless families in the area.
If you’re facing driving under the influence (DUI) charges and you intend to travel abroad for work or pleasure, you may be wondering, “Can a DUI conviction block me from obtaining a U.S. passport? Can a DUI bar me from travelling abroad?” These are good questions indeed and you should definitely know the answers before you plop down money on non-refundable plane tickets, hotels, and train rides.
Can I Get a U.S. Passport With a DUI?
For starters, let’s address the issue of obtaining a U.S. passport. Can a DUI conviction prevent you from obtaining one? Generally, no. A DUI does not usually prevent U.S. citizens from obtaining a U.S. passport.
You should not have a problem obtaining a U.S. passport, unless you owe more than $2,500 in child support arrears – that’s the main reason why Americans have difficulty travelling outside of the United States. Another reason why a passport can be denied is felony drug convictions.
Restricted Travel Because of DUI
While a DUI should not stop you from obtaining a U.S. passport, that does not mean that you’ll be allowed entry into all countries with a DUI on your record. Canada, for example, frowns heavily on DUIs and does not generally let foreign citizens with DUI convictions enter their country until the DUI is 10-years-old. Mexico is another country that may bar people with DUIs from entering its borders.
“Canada may not allow persons with DUI (driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol) convictions to enter their country,” according to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
If you are convicted of DUI obtaining a U.S. passport should not be an issue, but traveling to certain countries including Canada and Mexico among others can be a problem. So, if you’re convicted of DUI, don’t make travel arrangements without first checking with the country you are planning on travelling to.
One last thing: If you are placed on DUI probation, check with your probation officer before you make plans to travel out of the state or abroad. As part of some defendants’ probation conditions, they are restricted from travelling without their probation officer’s consent, or they are restricted from travelling until the probation is successfully completed.
Related: Frequently Asked Questions About DUI
If a DUI charge is threatening your travel plans, contact our firm to meet with our Oakland DUI lawyer!