A Missouri DUI/DWI or Other Drunk Driving Conviction Can Limit Your Right to Travel

Guilfoil Law Group April 20, 2021

One little known consequence (even among Missouri Lawyers) of a Missouri DUI / DWI or other drunk driving conviction, is that it can limit your right to travel. There are many countries (including Canada) which classify some “crimes” as a basis for limiting, or in some cases, outright banning your right to enter the country.

While most DUI / DWI or other drunk driving convictions are misdemeanors and not felonies, both can have dire consequences for travel to some countries. Some countries, including Canada, treat all convictions the same, as general “offenses,” regardless of whether it is a first-offense, simple DWI misdemeanor, or whether it is a repeat offense DWI resulting in a felony conviction.

Our office knows of one specific case where a woman was a senior member of a company that merged with a company from Canada. Due to the consolidation, there were two departments which had the same function, and they were all meeting in Toronto after the merger to determine who would stay and who would go. When she attempted to get off of the plane in Canada, she was denied admission to the country due to a DWI conviction on her record, and was sent home (and this was a misdemeanor conviction, and NOT a felony DWI case). She soon after lost her job.

If the DWI conviction is a felony, countries are more likely to impose a lifetime, total ban on the right to enter the country. With lesser misdemeanor convictions, there is usually a window on how long the travel restriction will last.

Many times, it is required that a Missouri DUI / DWI lawyer contact an immigration specialist for help in these issues. Just as you should not hire your divorce attorney, your bankruptcy attorney, or your corporate attorney for your DWI case, a DWI attorney should often not handle this type of situation alone, as there are many ends and outs to the specialization of immigration law.

You may be required to retain two attorneys to effectively retain your right to travel. Experienced Missouri DWI attorneys have dealt with this issue before, and have such help immediately available, as this issue is becoming more and more common with out-of-the-country travel becoming a common requirement of employment.

Sometimes even with a conviction on your record, your Missouri DWI lawyer can work with an immigration specialist to apply for application for limited admission to a country. You should be aware that these situations can take months to resolve, so time is of the essence.

As reported on renowned Atlanta DUI attorney Bubba Head’s webring,, there is an interesting news article from 2000 indicating that President George W. Bush even had some issues with his ability to travel to Canada, due to his 1976 DWI conviction in Maine.