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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. Thankfully, although you may have been charged with DUI, you can still get a passport and board a plane. With a heavy travel season upon us, many people are making holiday getaway plans. If you’re trying to venture out of the country after a DUI, rest assured that a DUI conviction won’t typically impede your out-of-country travel plans in terms of obtaining a passport, but there are some snags you should be aware of.

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

Under common conditions, California drivers’ passport privileges aren’t likely to be revoked, even in cases of multiple offenses or felony DUI cases. 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 were arrested for a federal offense.

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, our neighbor to the north, 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. It’s always best to research the country you’re planning to visit long before you go, but 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.

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, 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.

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