Can a Michigan DUI Conviction Affect Your International Travel Plans? (Part 1)

Cruising the Caribbean? Viewing the northern lights in Denmark, or the opera house in Australia? Not with a DUI on your record!


In a word: yes! Having a drunk driving conviction on your record can have a HUGE impact on your future, and this includes limiting your international travel plans! We recently discussed the way that a DUI can hamper your travel plans to Canada. But did you know that being convicted of drunk or drugged driving here in Michigan can affect your chances of travelling to many different countries around the world?


What countries let you in with a criminal record?


The answer to this is “very few!” If you show up in Germany, Indonesia, or South Africa on vacation, you’ll be asked in your immigration and customs paperwork if you have any criminal convictions on your record. If you answer truthfully and say yes, chances are you’ll be turned away. Which means your vacation pictures will all be of the airport, and they’ll have you on the first plane home!


However, it’s important to note that most border security agents around the world don’t have access to the United States criminal databases. This means that if you choose to be dishonest, they probably won’t have any way of knowing you lied. The problem with this, is that if you get into ANY kind of trouble while on vacation (even trouble you didn’t start) the local police will figure it out asap! They’ll reach out to your home state once they figure out who you are, and they’ll quickly discover that you lied when entering their country! This can bring serious criminal repercussions for you!


What do I do if I’m cruising to other countries?


Many people choose cruises as their vacation of choice these days. And why not? They offer round the clock entertainment, food and opportunities to meet new people. Plus you don’t have to cook or clean up anything! However, for people with a DUI on their record, the challenge comes when the cruise boat docks in a foreign port.


You may really want to spend the day snorkeling in Jamaica, or sightseeing in the Yucatan (who wouldn’t?) But to do that, you and your DUI have to get past the border patrol agents in those countries. Even more complex is the fact that each country deals with criminal convictions differently. Jamaica may not have the same restrictions as Mexico. The Bahamas may feel differently about your drugged driving history than Barbados does.


Every country has a different approach to DUIs


Great Britain doesn’t actually consider a DUI to be a criminal offense. They call it a misdemeanor, but in the UK that simply means “bad behavior” which isn’t actually criminal. So if the only thing on your record is drinking and driving, you shouldn’t have a problem getting in to see Stonehenge and the Tower of London.  Australia, on the other hand, has some of the strictest regulations when it comes to criminal histories! Very few people make it past the Aussie border patrol with a criminal record of any kind! In fact, did you know that applying for a visa to travel to Australia includes submitting to a character test! Wow.


Join us next time, as we take a look at why your DUI can restrict travel to certain countries, and what you can do about it! Until then, we want to remind our readers that the best way to avoid being arrested for drunk driving is to never drink and drive! If you already made the mistake though, our experienced DUI defense attorneys can help you work towards keeping it off your record!


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