A DUI Can Cause Problems with Travel and Immigration

A DUI Can Cause Problems with Travel and ImmigrationA conviction of driving under the influence may affect your life in many unexpected ways. Even though you paid your fines and court costs, completed your probation, and now have your driver’s license back, you still may not be able to put your DUI completely behind you. One way a DUI can make life difficult is when it comes to travel or immigration cases.


You spend weeks getting ready for your biannual fishing trip to Quebec with your oldest friends. You pack up the car and all pile in to head north. Once you reach the United States and Canadian border, you hand over your passport as you have done without issue many times in the past. This time, however, the guard denies you entry to Canada, citing your DUI conviction from last year.

You did not commit a violent crime or a felony, and this is your first DUI offense, so never in a million years would you expect that a first offense DUI conviction would bar you from Canada. However, some countries are extremely strict when it comes to allowing individuals with certain convictions across the border. In Canada, for instance, a DUI is an “indictable offense,” which is comparable to a felony, and those with felony convictions may not enter. Even for short trips, you would have to request special permission, which Canada often denies.

A DUI conviction may also bog you down in customs when leaving or entering the United States. In addition, when you are on probation for DUI, you may have strict limitations on where you may move or travel without specific permission from certain authorities. DUI convictions can make travel frustrating – or impossible – in many situations.


It used to be that only convictions of certain crimes – usually felonies – would result in removal or deportation proceedings against non-U.S. citizens. However, under the current administration, a presidential order permits U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers to target any removable individual with any criminal case – even without a conviction. Once the court enters a guilty plea or conviction for a DUI or another criminal offense, ICE officers will likely receive notice and take the individual into custody as soon as possible. The defendant will then likely face removal or deportation proceedings.

The Supreme Court of the United States held that all criminal defense attorneys must fully inform non-citizen defendants about any possible immigration consequences, even if it requires the assistance of an immigration attorney. If your attorney did not inform you of potential consequences and you now face deportation, you should discuss your situation with a law firm that may help you appeal your case or withdraw your guilty plea.


The criminal defense attorneys at Alpert Schreyer, LLC, ensure our clients fully understand all possible court-ordered and collateral consequences of any guilty plea or conviction at trial. We work to minimize the effects of a criminal case on your life, so please call (301) 494-9620 or contact us online if you need assistance.

Leave a Reply