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Will a DUI Prevent Me from Getting a Passport?

dui attorney los angelesDriving under the influence can change your life, and there are plenty of negative consequences that come with it. Many people ask, “Can you get a passport with a DUI?”

Thankfully, although you may have been charged with DUI, the answer is yes, you can still get a passport. In other words, having a DUI should not get in the way of your international travel plans. But there are some snags that could happen, that you should be aware of.

What Types of Travel Restrictions Can Occur if You’ve Been Charged with a DUI?

Under common conditions, passport privileges aren’t likely to be revoked, even in cases of multiple misdemeanor DUI offenses or a felony DUI case. That said, there are a number of situations in which the court could find you to be a person outside of those common conditions, thus inhibiting your out-of-country (or even out-of-state) privileges.

The following are examples of occurrences that could leave you without the ability to travel freely from country to country:

  • The judge forbids you from international travel as a condition of your parole or probation or condition of pre-trial relapse
  • The court considers you to be a flight risk;
  • You’re facing serious felony charges;
  • You have a federal arrest on your record.

If you are unable to travel internationally due to one of the above mentioned reasons, there’s still hope to clear things up. For example, if you find you’re unable to travel to Canada (or another country) due to your record, you can apply for criminal rehabilitation. If your application is approved, you receive an entry waiver and are able to cross the border without issue.

How Can Your International Travel Plans be Restricted Even if You Have a Passport?

It’s important to bear in mind that, when you’re planning to cross international borders, you’re dealing with more than just United States laws and authorities. Although you may be able to obtain a passport in the U.S. after you’ve been convicted of a DUI, you won’t necessarily be able to travel freely. A number of countries across the globe impose their own restrictions, which may prohibit you from entering their borders if you have a DUI on your record.

As an example, Canada considers DUIs to be serious offenses, and the country reserves the right to prohibit anyone with a DUI conviction – misdemeanor or felony – from entering. Japan is another country that’s known to be particularly strict in terms of the visitors it allows to enter its borders. They will ask you to fill out a questionnaire upon arrival that asks if you have ever been convicted of a crime in your country. If you say yes, they may ask you more questions before determining whether or not you can stay, or they may just say no outright based on your questionnaire response.

It’s always best to research the country you’re planning to visit long before you go, to make sure you can enter the country. If you have a DUI on your record, this due diligence is particularly important, as you could find yourself stuck without entry when your flight or cruise ship arrives. And if you’ve taken a long flight to get to another country, it will be incredibly frustrating to be turned away unexpectedly.

The easiest way to avoid travel complications revolving around a DUI is to avoid the possibility of charges all together. If you’ve been drinking, don’t drive. Make arrangements to get where you’re going by way of a sober driver, or stay where you’re at until the morning comes and your body’s had a chance to metabolize all of the alcohol you consumed the day before.

If you’ve already been charged with a DUI, and you’re now in the process of facing the consequences, it’s important to hire an experienced attorney who can help defend you as soon as possible. Contact Jon Artz today if you need an expert DUI attorney in Los Angeles.

This article has been updated for 2020.

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