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Will a DUI Affect My Immigration Status?

The rules for legal immigration to the United States are strict. Because the United States has an abundance of law-abiding people waiting for approval to legally immigrate and they don’t want to import individuals who will cause problems, breaking the law has consequences.

While it would certainly be better to understand the DUI and immigration consequences before you decide to drink and drive, compounding the mistake by not seeking legal assistance isn’t wise. Understanding a DUI and immigration status implications of being charged is important to consider right away. Your defenses may dwindle if you delay.

If you are planning to apply for citizenship, you must provide details about your entire criminal history, including charges that are dropped or dismissed. Failure to disclose the full and complete information on your N-400 application can lead to dismissal or outright rejection of your application. So, being arrested for a DUI can affect your immigration status.

The N-400 application asks, “Have you EVER been arrested, detained, or cited by the police or any other law enforcement officer?” If the answer is yes, you will be required to bring documentation of the disposition of every instance to your interview for all arrests and detentions, even if the records were expunged or a plea bargain reduced the charges. The copies must be original certified copies to avoid delays.

Crimes of moral turpitude are significant when it comes to immigration matters. Recklessness has been deemed a “culpable mental state if it entails a conscious disregard of a substantial and unjustifiable risk posed by one’s conduct.” (26 I&N Dec. 464 (BIA 2015) Choosing to drive while the ability to drive is impaired by alcohol has been deemed reckless behavior in more than one case.

Can You Get Deported For a DUI

Can a DUI Effect on Green Card?

If you were planning to apply for naturalization, you’ll want to wait for five years after being charged with a DUI. Although your criminal history over the past five years is the primary consideration when you apply for naturalization, your entire criminal history must be disclosed.

If your green card renewal period is within the next few years, you should consult an immigration attorney for advice.

Also, if your DUI involves serious bodily injuries that result in your being sentenced to more than six months in jail or prison, the DUI effect on green card can be serious.

If this is not your first DUI, or you have other charges associated with the DUI or even unrelated charges, removal proceedings may begin as the result of the DUI.

Being charged with an “Under 21 DUI” has more serious DUI and immigration consequences than a DUI at older ages since California has a “Zero Tolerance” law for underage drinking. Because consuming alcohol when you are underage is illegal, your driving does not have to be impaired for you to be charged. Testing positive for any alcohol in your system is sufficient to be charged with an underage DUI.

dui green card

Can You Get Deported for a DUI?

If you have a green card, driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs can you get deported for a DUI if you panic and flee the scene of an accident where you caused serious bodily injury or death. If you aren’t involved in an accident associated with your DUI, the DUI effect on your green card will be non-existent unless you’re a habitual drunkard.

If you are not a permanent resident, the law can get you deported for a DUI not involving a felony conviction, or result in re-entry being denied, or refusal to renew a visa.

A conviction under Section 101(a)(48) of the Immigration and Nationality Act defines a “conviction” broadly. It is important to have experienced help. DUI and immigration consequences are complex topics that require knowledge of someone with experience in these matters.

Your plea and the charges you’re convicted of can affect your visa or lead to you being deported. Hiring a Los Angeles DUI attorney to assist you with the charges is important to the outcome of your case.

Shaheen Manshoory
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