News & Blog

DUI Issues and Immigration

July 28, 2016 • DUI Defense

When you are trying to immigrate to the United States, a criminal charge can have a detrimental impact on your immigration efforts. Even green card holders can sometimes face serious immigration consequences from criminal charges, up to and including deportation.  A crime on your record can prevent you from being able to get a green card and could stop you from traveling back into the United States if you went abroad.

Because having a criminal record can have such a profound adverse impact on immigrants, those individuals who are not United States citizens but have been accused of a crime must be especially proactive in determining the best legal strategy to try to avoid a criminal conviction. Since drunk driving is a crime, this includes responding aggressively to charges of impaired driving by contacting a Tallahassee drunk driving lawyer as soon as possible after an arrest.

Will a DUI Affect Your Immigration Status?

If you are found guilty of drunk driving, this does not necessarily mean you will be deported, unable to get approved for a green card or face other immigration consequences. The impact of your conviction will depend on what specific crimes you were found guilty of.

A simple DUI is often just a misdemeanor charge, and is not considered a deportable crime under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The INA also doesn't list a DUI conviction as a reason to deny a green card to an immigrant. 

However, on occasion, there are aggravating factors associated with impaired driving, many of which could result in you being charged with more serious offenses that can subject you to deportation and disqualify you from getting a green card. 

For instance, drug-related DUIs; DUI manslaughter (if an accident occurs); felony DUI; and DUI with children in the car that results in a charge of child endangerment are all examples of offenses that could possibly lead to deportation.

If you have been convicted for any serious charges related to impaired driving, you could also have problems if you travel abroad and you try to return to the United States. There is a separate set of laws outlining the grounds for inadmissibility, which could bar re-entry into the country. 

A person could become inadmissible for re-entry if drug or alcohol addiction create inadmissibility on medical grounds; if a crime involving a controlled substance was committed; if there is a record of conviction for a crime of moral turpitude; or if the person was convicted of two or more crimes with a sentence of five or more years.

Because of the potential for serious charges and resulting consequences for immigration efforts, it is very important to get legal help from a drunk driving attorney whenever you have been charged with impaired driving.

Even a conviction for a simple first offense could come back to haunt you by resulting in a more serious charge if you are ever arrested again. Such charges can never be taken lightly. Contact an attorney for help right away when you're arrested so you can begin defending the charges and protecting your record.