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Mexico Trip with a DUI: What You Need to Know in 2024

You can travel to Mexico with a DUI, but there are some things to consider. Mexico does not generally ask about criminal history for tourist visits, so having a DUI should not prevent you from entering the country as a tourist. However, if you have a pending DUI case or a history of multiple DUIs, you may encounter issues when crossing the border.
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Will a DUI Prevent Me From Entering Mexico?

According to the SCLG, a standard misdemeanor DUI is unlikely to prevent you from entering Mexico [1].

Mexican authorities can deny you entry into Mexico if you have a criminal conviction on your criminal record for a serious crime. Per the Mexican Consulate, serious crimes include all crimes that significantly and negatively affect a society’s fundamental values – SCLG Stated.

Examples of serious crimes include:

  • Murder
  • Robbery
  • Corruption of minors
  • Terrorism
  • Vehicle theft
  • Environmental crimes
  • Extortion

While most DUI cases are not as serious as these crimes, a Mexican immigration official will likely permit entry for a U.S. citizen with a DUI/DWI record. However, a border agent could block an American from crossing into Mexico if they were convicted of a serious DUI charge, such as a felony DUI.

What if I am on Probation for a DUI?

If you were placed on probation following a DUI conviction (as opposed to serving jail time), it is usually a good idea to avoid international travel until you successfully complete your probation. This is because courts usually impose travel restrictions on offenders as part of their probation conditions.

These restrictions can include prohibitions on traveling outside of the county, state, or even the U.S. If you’re unsure about any travel restrictions imposed on you, it’s best to check with your probation officer or the judge overseeing your probation.

Violating a travel restriction can result in a probation violation and early termination of your probation.

Traveling to Mexico With Other Criminal Offenses

According to the Mexican State Gov, immigration authorities have the discretion to deny entry to individuals who are undergoing criminal proceedings, have been convicted of serious crimes as defined by national laws or international treaties, or whose background could jeopardize national or public security [2].

Serious crimes, as outlined in Article 194 of the Federal Code on Criminal Proceedings, are those that significantly undermine fundamental societal values. These crimes encompass a wide range of offenses, including manslaughter, terrorism, piracy, genocide, drug-related crimes, corruption of minors, child pornography, rape, trafficking in persons, and tax fraud, among others.

It’s essential to consult with legal professionals or immigration authorities for precise and current information on international travel restrictions related to DUIs or criminal records. Rules can vary based on individual circumstances and the countries involved.

Drunk Driving Laws in Mexico

According to AngloInfo, driving under the influence (DUI) in Mexico is a serious criminal offense, and motorists caught over the legal alcohol limit could face imprisonment [3]. The Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) limit is a standard measure used to determine intoxication, typically measured in milligrams of ethanol per milliliter of blood (mg/ml).

DUI regulations vary across Mexican states, with the national limit set at 0.8. However, some states have lower limits, such as 0.4 in Aguascalientes, Chiapas, Distrito Federal, Estado de México, Hidalgo, Jalisco, Michoacán, Tamaulipas, and Veracruz, and 0.5 in Chihuahua.

Foreigners with a DUI conviction within the last ten years may be denied entry to Mexico. Alcohol breathalyzer tests, known as alcoholímetros, are common in certain cities. Police can stop motorists and request a breath test if they suspect the driver is intoxicated.

For learner drivers and drivers of public vehicles, heavy goods vehicles, and vehicles transporting toxic waste, there is a zero-tolerance alcohol policy. In Mexico City, daytime checks focus on service vehicles, while nighttime checks target the general public.

If caught over the limit, a driver may be detained for a minimum of 20 and a maximum of 36 hours, which is mandatory and cannot be replaced by a fine or caution. As of December 2014, drivers apprehended for drunk driving twice in a year or three times in three or more years will have their licenses or permits revoked.

If there is a passenger in the car who holds a valid driving license and is under the legal alcohol limit, then with the permission of the arrested driver they may take the car. Otherwise, the car is impounded.

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If you or a loved one was involved with these matters, you should contact our law firm immediately for a free case evaluation. You may be entitled to a settlement by filing a suit and we can help.

References:

1. https://www.shouselaw.com/ca/blog/can-you-travel-to-mexico-with-a-dui/
2. https://embamex.sre.gob.mx/canada/index.php/en/servicesforeigners/11731-travelling-to-mexico
3. https://www.angloinfo.com/how-to/mexico/transport/driving/drunk-driving

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