If you have a DWI conviction on your record, even if it was from several years ago, you may still be finding new ways that it continues to impact your life. If you’re considering traveling out of the country, whether for business or on vacation, you may find that your DWI prevents you from doing so.
Countries have varying laws regarding allowing people to enter who have a criminal record. While a DWI may not be one of the more serious convictions someone may have on their record within the U.S., it’s a more serious offense than it is here in some countries.
Let’s take a look at the two nations that share borders with the U.S. see a DWI and how it could impact your ability to spend time there.
A U.S. citizen who’s been convicted of drunk driving in the U.S. within the last 10 years can be denied entry into Mexico. The country considers these offenses “indictable” crimes, which are comparable to our felonies, and it prohibits those who have committed such crimes in other countries from entering under their laws.
You may know someone who managed to make it over the border with barely a glance at their passport by guards – particularly at a busy entry point. However, just be aware that if you try it, you may not be so lucky.
If you’ve been convicted of drunk driving conviction within the past five years, then Canadian law prohibits you from entering the country. After five years, if you have no other criminal record, then you can enter if you pay a $200 fine or apply for what’s called “criminal rehabilitation.” If you wait ten years after your conviction, Canada will consider you “rehabilitated by time,” and you’ll be allowed to enter.
Several countries in the Middle East and Asia also take a tough stand on visitors who have drunk driving convictions. Before you book your travel anywhere outside the U.S., it’s best to find out what restrictions, if any, the nation(s) you’re visiting have for visitors with a criminal record and if there are opportunities to enter if you get a travel waiver.
If you don’t want to have to worry about your DWI preventing you from traveling abroad and you have no other criminal record, you may want to look into getting an expunction of your conviction. An experienced attorney can help you.