How Will a DWI Affect My Ability to Travel?

If you love to travel and were recently arrested for DWI, you should know that some countries will not allow you to enter if you have a DWI conviction on your record. In this blog, criminal defense attorney JL Carpenter will outline what you need to know about travel and why it’s critical that you mount an aggressive defense to fight your charges.

1. Can I Travel to Other States in the US?

Even if you have a DWI conviction, you can still travel to other states in the US. Whether you’re planning a family vacation, a weekend getaway, or a business trip, no state will deny you entry because of your DWI conviction in Texas.

However, it’s important to note that if you’re currently serving your sentence, you have to follow certain rules. If your driver’s license is suspended, you cannot drive at all, let alone to another state.

Your driver’s license must be valid in your home state (Texas) if you plan to drive to another state. If you’re under probation or on parole, you need to get permission from the local authorities to drive to another state. This is nonnegotiable.

2. How Will a DWI Conviction Affect My Travel Plans to Other Countries?

A man at the airport

While European Union countries don’t consider DUI or DWI a “prohibited offense,” which means you can travel to and among those countries with a conviction on your record, other countries aren’t as tolerant.

A DUI in Canada, for instance, is a felony, so Canadian officials will bar you from entering. However, if your criminal record only has a DUI on it, you may be able to pay a fine before entering the country. In some cases, though, you may be permanently banned from entering Canada depending upon your DUI charge.

In Mexico, a DWI conviction within the past 10 years makes a person ineligible for entry because Mexico also views DUI as a felony charge. Yes, immigration officers along the Mexican border can be lax and may unknowingly allow you entry; however, it’s not worth the risk.

Australia doesn’t let anyone who does not pass a criminal background check into the country. This includes anyone with a DUI or DWI on their record, but you may be able to request a travel waiver from the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Other countries in the Middle East and Central Asia have social and cultural hesitations. The United Arab Emirates, for example, is a strict Muslim country that does not tolerate alcohol consumption at all. While they have no laws around allowing those with DUI convictions into their country, the immigration officers have the discretion to bar someone from entering the country.

Japan is a bit different in that it regards honesty as more important than the offense itself. They are more likely to allow entry if you are fully transparent about your criminal record. If you lie, they won’t let you in. But if you contact the United States Consulate, they can help you create a viable plan to enter Japan if you have a DWI conviction.

3. I Need Legal Help. Who Should I Contact?

If you live in Texas and travel for business or pleasure and are facing DWI charges, you’ll need an experienced DWI lawyer in Texas to fight for your rights. JL Carpenter is an experienced, qualified, and detail-oriented criminal defense attorney in the Greater Houston area who has a long track record of aggressively defending clients facing a myriad of charges.

If you’re fighting a DWI case, you may feel stressed, nervous, and anxious. JL builds a strong defense for her clients and provides continual guidance so that they feel more prepared, relaxed, and confident about the outcome.

Take a closer look at her case results. When you’re ready, schedule a consultation. JL represents clients in Clear Lake, Friendswood, Webster, and the surrounding neighborhoods. Her practice areas also include BWI, drug possession, family violence, and domestic violence, among others.