How A DUI Penalty Can Affect Your Mexican Travel Plans

Mexico has such a wonderful blend of old world cultures that most Americans find it fascinating to visit. From an Aztec temple in the middle of Mexico City to the glistening beaches in Cancun, tourists have always been attracted to this neighbor south of the border. The convenient location of this vacation destination also makes many in the United States want to jump into the car and drive on down for a quick visit. However, this may not be such a simple process, especially for Americans who have a drug or DUI conviction on the record.

Whether a traveler with a DUI conviction will be allowed entry into Mexico or turned back at the border seems to be a matter of several factors. DUI laws are constantly in a state of flux, and the best option is to call the Mexican Consular’s Office or to consult with an experienced immigration lawyer in the area which you wish to visit for appropriate counsel. Many travelers with a DUI infraction attest to having no difficulty crossing the border for a visit while others have been turned away and refused entry. All of the following factors may come into play at the point of entry:

• The severity of the infraction: If the offence was prosecuted as a misdemeanor, it is more likely that it will not be a problem for Mexican authorities; however, if a DUI felony conviction has been rendered, the situation will be more serious. According to Mexican law, any type of DUI conviction is a felony, but they are aware of the differences in other countries.

• The length of time since the DUI occurred: If you have been convicted of drunk driving within the past decade, you can be refused entry into Mexico.

• The consequences that were paid: When crossing the border into Mexico, it does matter that all jail terms, probationary periods, and monetary penalties have been completed. Any unresolved issues related to a DUI case could prevent a traveler from being allowed into Mexico.

• The nature of the border guard: Tourists have reportedly been waved through entry points into Mexico with very little scrutiny. Depending on this type of luck, however, is risky business and could completely ruin vacation plans.

Getting into Mexico with a DUI that will show up on any background report could be easier than getting back into the United States. The United States Border Patrol will check for felony convictions before allowing re-entry into the country. While a DUI may not keep you from returning to the United States, the investigative process could certainly cost you time and may result in a short detention.

Tourists need to remember that most countries now share a common database of information concerning crimes that have been committed and convicted felons. Lying about a DUI or neglecting to mention it will only make matters worse. It would be better to get an experienced lawyer to clear up all issues before attempting to make a trip into another country.

Sandra Davies is a contributing writer at Katz & Phillips, P.A. If you need travel advice from an Orlando DUI Attorney or want information on Florida DUI penalties please visit their website.