There are certain aspects of your legal record that can affect your ability to obtain a U.S. passport. A passport is an important privilege that is afforded many Americans, and it is a privilege that is worth protecting. If you have concerns about your ability to obtain a passport, read on. It is useful to understand how your legal record can affect your ability to obtain and use your U.S. passport.
A DWI Conviction
A conviction of driving while intoxicated (DWI) in Texas comes with serious consequences that can include jail time, steep fines, license suspension, and exorbitant insurance premiums. In addition to these hefty consequences, a DWI can leave you facing several less obvious but nonetheless difficult hurdles. These can include diminishing your ability to rent a home or apartment, decreasing your employment opportunities, halting your college scholarships, causing you to lose professional licensure, and even having your immigration status altered (if you are an immigrant).
Generally, however, a DWI will not affect your ability to obtain a U.S. Passport. It can, nevertheless, affect your ability to visit certain countries. Canada is one such example. Before you purchase those nonrefundable cut-rate tickets to parts unknown, do some prep work if you have a DWI conviction on your record.
Potential Passport Denial
While a DWI is not likely to impede your ability to obtain a valid United States passport, there are other legal situations that could lead to denial, including:
- If you own more than $2,500 in arrears for child support
- If you are a minor who is involved in a custody dispute
- If you had a prior U.S. passport that was revoked
- If a judge in a criminal court made not traveling outside the country part of your probation or parole
- If the court orders you not to leave a specific area and you are considered a flight risk
- If you defaulted on a Department of State assistance loan – you will need to repay the loan or enter into a payment agreement plan before you are allowed to obtain a passport
Losing your passport privileges can negatively affect your career and your ability to travel freely. A passport is an important privilege of U.S. citizenship, and it should never be discounted.