Travel Restrictions for Those With a Criminal Record in Hawaii


Travel Restrictions for Those With a Criminal Record in Hawaii

Having a criminal record can make travel difficult, even just between islands in Hawaii. There are restrictions felons face when trying to visit or move between the Hawaiian Islands that those without a record don’t have to worry about. This article will go over what kind of convictions can limit travel in Hawaii, what restrictions convicted felons face, and what options there may be for those looking to travel within and outside of Hawaii with a record.

What Kind of Convictions Can Restrict Travel in Hawaii?

In general, more serious felony convictions are more likely to cause issues with travel compared to minor misdemeanors. Some specific types of convictions that are likely to lead to travel limitations include:

  • Violent crimes like murder, manslaughter, assault, domestic violence, rape, etc.
  • Drug trafficking or distribution charges
  • Sex crimes involving minors
  • Gun charges like being a felon in possession of a firearm
  • Crimes involving fraud, theft, or dishonesty like identity theft or embezzlement
  • DUI or DWI, especially repeat offenses

Lesser misdemeanors like petty theft, public intoxication, disorderly conduct, trespassing, etc. are less likely to cause travel issues, but it still depends on the specifics of the case.

The severity of the conviction and sentence matter too. In general, more serious crimes that led to lengthy prison sentences are more concerning when it comes to travel compared to minor offenses with short jail terms.

What Kinds of Travel Restrictions Do Felons in Hawaii Face?

Felons in Hawaii face a few different types of potential travel restrictions:

Probation and Parole Restrictions

Felons who are currently on probation or parole may be limited in their ability to travel between the islands or outside of Hawaii. Standard probation conditions require getting permission from your probation officer before leaving the island or district you live on. For parole, permission from your parole officer is needed as well. Travel requests are evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Interstate Travel Restrictions

Under federal law, felons lose their constitutional right to travel between states in some circumstances. Felons who are under supervised release cannot leave their home state without permission from their parole/probation officer.

Interstate travel may also be restricted for felons who still owe fines, fees or restitution related to their conviction. Outstanding debts can lead to a warrant or detainment when going through airport security.

International Travel Restrictions

Having a felony record can make visiting other countries much more difficult, or even impossible. Many nations ban or restrict entry for foreign visitors with a criminal record. For example, Canada generally does not allow those with a felony conviction to enter.

Waivers allowing temporary entry may be available depending on the crime and how long ago it occurred. But the process is complex, so consulting an immigration attorney is recommended if you hope to travel internationally with a record.

Airport Security and TSA Checks

Air travel comes with additional scrutiny for convicted felons. Your criminal record will be flagged when tickets are booked and during check-in. You can expect to go through extra security procedures at airports like enhanced screening and searches.

TSA agents have wide discretion on who is allowed to fly, so be cooperative during screening. Have paperwork related to your conviction handy in case there are any questions.

Cruise Line Policies

The major cruise lines like Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian have restrictions on passengers with felony convictions. Their official policies prohibit guests who are currently on parole, probation, or under supervised release from traveling.

However, exceptions may be made for certain types of convictions that are more than 10-15 years in the past. The cruise line can still deny boarding to anyone they deem a security risk though.

Rental Car Restrictions

Felons often face difficulty renting vehicles or driving rental cars, especially right after being released from incarceration. Most rental companies do not rent to anyone currently on probation or parole.

Past felonies may also lead to denial, particularly violent crimes, sex offenses, and motor vehicle charges like DUI. Having a valid driver’s license is key, since suspended or revoked licenses also lead to automatic denial.

Are There Any Exceptions or Options for Felons?

While travel can be very limited for convicted felons, there are some potential options to make travel in Hawaii and beyond possible:

  • Seek permission to travel: Felons on probation or parole should cooperate with officers and demonstrate why travel is needed. With good behavior, permission may be granted, especially for family emergencies.
  • Complete probation/parole: Once supervision is completed, standard travel restrictions for felons no longer apply. Interstate and international travel becomes much easier.
  • Expungement: Having your record expunged or sealed by a judge removes convictions from public databases. This can help remove obstacles to air travel and renting vehicles.
  • Pardons: A governor’s pardon may restore some rights, like being able to own a firearm. While rare, pardons can potentially help with international travel to countries that bar those with a criminal record.
  • Consult an attorney: An experienced criminal defense or immigration lawyer can advise if any options exist to overcome travel barriers related to a conviction.
  • Book with felon-friendly providers: Some rental car companies and cruise lines are more open to customers with a criminal history compared to others.
  • Appeal airline denials: If barred from boarding a flight, you can file an appeal with the TSA and argue why you do not pose a security threat.
  • Contact embassies: To enter countries with strict policies, contact their embassy about specific entry requirements and restrictions for US citizens with records.
  • Check databases: Commercial background check services can be used to search what convictions appear in various databases airlines and others use for screening.

Tips for Smoother Travel with a Criminal Record

While travel with a criminal history often means extra hurdles, being prepared can help the process go more smoothly:

  • Know your rights: Learn the policies and rules that relate to your right to travel as a felon. Consult with legal counsel if needed.
  • Get documentation: Have paperwork from your case, parole/probation status, proof of restitution payment, etc. readily available.
  • Book nonstop flights: Avoid layovers when flying, as multiple screening processes mean more chances for hassles.
  • Request TSA pre-check: Applying for expedited TSA screening can reduce scrutiny of your record and speed the airport process.
  • Review convictions: Mistakes can occur in databases, so confirm what is on your record before travel and have corrections made if needed.
  • Carry contact info: Have phone numbers and addresses for probation/parole handy in case they need to be contacted during your trip.
  • Check visa requirements: Research well in advance what documentation like visas may be required for entry to foreign countries.
  • Allow extra time: When flying or crossing borders, build in plenty of extra buffer time in case there are delays related to your record.
  • Keep cool: Stay calm if confronted about your criminal history when traveling. Losing your patience will only make matters worse.

The Bottom Line

In summary, felons in Hawaii face substantial restrictions when it comes to travel within the state and beyond. Serious convictions for violent crimes, sex offenses, and drug trafficking pose the biggest barriers for air travel and entry to other states and countries.

While exceptions exist, extensive planning is required for smooth travels as a convicted felon. Consulting an attorney to understand your rights and options is highly recommended. With the proper preparations and patience, barriers can hopefully be overcome for those seeking to visit family or take a much-needed vacation.