Can I Get a Passport After a Florida DUI?

By Jonathan Blecher on December 13, 2016

When you are convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) in Miami and throughout Florida, not only will you face probation, jail, and fines, but other aspects of your life will be affected as well. What other aspects am I referring to?

Some of them include your auto insurance premiums, your ability to obtain a college scholarship (for younger DUI defendants), child custody (for parents in the midst of a child custody battle), employment opportunities (especially in occupations dealing with children, driving, or sensitive information), the ability to possess firearms (felony DUI), and in some cases travel. Travel, how so?

What about a passport, will a DUI conviction on your record automatically bar you from obtaining a U.S. passport? Read on as I explain the consequences of a Florida DUI on international travel.

Can a DUI stop you from getting a U.S. passport?

As a general rule, a Florida DUI conviction, even a felony DUI, won’t preclude (prevent, bar, stop, block) a DUI defendant from obtaining a U.S. passport, nor will it cause an existing passport to be canceled or revoked, but it is possible.

If a DUI defendant has egregious or unusually serious circumstances, the judge presiding over the case may decide to block the defendant from international travel – it’s at the judge’s discretion. While rare, a judge may decide to block a person from leaving the country under these types of circumstances:

  • It was a serious felony DUI and lives were lost because of the defendant’s DUI.
  • The judge believes that the defendant is a “flight risk” for some reason.
  • As a condition of the defendant’s probation or parole, the judge restricts international travel.
  • The defendant was charged with a federal offense.

U.S. passports are not typically denied because of a DUI conviction, but it can happen when the circumstances are right. Of more concern is not so much a DUI blocking you from obtaining a U.S. passport, but a DUI preventing you from entering other countries.

Canada for example is notorious for not allowing people with DUI convictions entering their country, even misdemeanor DUIs. Why? Because Canadians feel that DUIs are serious offenses. While there are limited exceptions, as a general rule Americans are barred from entering Canada with a DUI conviction on their record (there are ways to get around this if the DUI is older than 10 years).

So, if you have family in Canada, or if you visit Canada regularly for your job, a DUI conviction for drugs or alcohol can present serious problems for years to come. The best way to ensure that other countries do not place restrictions on your travel is to fight your charges and avoid a DUI conviction in the first place.

If you’re facing DUI charges in Miami, contact my firm, Jonathan Blecher, P.A. to receive legal advice from a former prosecutor with over 30 years’ experience!

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