A conviction for driving under the influence (DUI) in Florida has many ramifications, such as DUI School, DUI probation, fines, driver license suspension, vehicle impoundment, an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) requirement, and skyrocketing insurance premiums among other ramifications. Additionally, a DUI conviction can affect housing, employment, professional licenses, security clearance eligibility, college applications, college athletics, and even child custody. But what about a U.S. passport? Can a recent DUI conviction bar you from traveling abroad?
Generally, a DUI will not stop someone from obtaining a U.S. passport. In some circumstances, however, overseas travel may be restricted for various reasons. This typically happens when a DUI defendant is a perceived “flight risk” or when as a condition of the individual’s probation or parole, the defendant is forbidden from leaving a specified area, such as county lines or the state.
Other Countries May Not Let You In
While it’s unlikely that your DUI will lead to a U.S. passport denial, there is another, more pressing issue: other countries may not let you enter their borders with a DUI on your record. For example, Canada and Mexico prohibit U.S. citizens with a DUI on their record from entering their borders.
If a person has a DUI and needs to enter a nation, there might be special procedures that allow them to do so. For example, if a person wants to enter Canada, they can apply for criminal rehabilitation or a temporary residential permit (TRP). Applying for a TRP allows a person to enter Canada regardless of past criminal convictions in the United States. However, the process is strict, and applicants must provide reasons for approval of their TRP. Notably, the Canadian government must be convinced that a person’s admission into the country has benefits that outweighs the risks of their entry.
However, Canadians wishing to travel have it a bit easier. If a Canadian has a single DUI conviction on their record, it won’t prevent them from entering the U.S., but if they have multiple DUIs or if they have a single DUI in addition to other misdemeanors on their record, they can be deemed inadmissible and must obtain a waiver before entering the United States.
What Can Bar Me from Getting a U.S. Passport?
A Florida DUI may not stop you from getting a U.S. passport but that does not mean that a passport is guaranteed. There are several issues that can block a U.S. citizen from obtaining a U.S. passport, including:
- Certain court orders can block a passport from being issued.
- Certain court declarations can lead to the denial of a passport.
- If a person defaults on an assistance loan from the Department of State, they must repay the loan or arrange to do so before they can get a U.S. passport.
- If a person owes more than $2,500, their passport request will be denied.
- If someone had a passport in the past and it was revoked, they can be denied a passport.
- If someone receives an IRS taxpayer notice in the mail about their large, unpaid and overdue tax debt, they can’t get a passport.
- If a minor is party to a child custody dispute, they cannot be issued a passport.
DUIs and Immigration Status
Here in Florida we have a large, diverse immigrant population, so it isn’t uncommon to encounter someone worried about their DUI and immigration status. A simple misdemeanor DUI should not lead to deportation, but in certain cases a DUI can trigger removal proceedings. If a person commits a felony DUI that kills or injures others, they’ll likely receive prison time and will be deported once they serve their sentence.
The following can lead to a deportation:
- Felony DUI
- Drug-related DUI
- Prior conviction for marijuana
- Multiple DUI convictions
- DUI causing serious bodily injury
- DUI causing death to another person
- Multiple criminal offenses on record
Not every DUI means deportation, but under the right circumstances it can affect immigration status. If a Green Card holder wishes to become a naturalized citizen, a DUI can block them from becoming a U.S. citizen, this is especially the case when the lawful permanent resident has too many criminal convictions on their record. The U.S. is strict about only letting people become citizens when they are of a “good moral character,” so a DUI can be used against a Green Card holder for this purpose, especially when they have a history of criminal conduct.
Contact Our Tampa Criminal Defense Firm for Help Today
Whether your facing new DUI charges or having difficulty obtaining a passport, our firm is ready to help. Thomas & Paulk, P.A. has helped thousands of people dealing with criminal issues, and we’re ready to use our experience to pursue the most beneficial outcome for your situation. When you call our firm, you’ll be connected with a member of our team who will help you discover your options at no cost.
We’re standing by to help at (813) 321-7323. Call now for a free consultation with our experienced Tampa criminal defense firm.