Guide To DUI And Immigration

Last Modified: January 22, 2024

DUI charges affect your immigration status. We offer a risk free evaluation of your case and the affects on your immigration status.

How a DUI Affects Immigration

Can you be deported for a DUI crime in California? While the courts have shown that a “normal DUI” does not directly affect immigration status, there are situations where certain kinds of DUI or DUI combined with other crimes can affect an immigrant’s ability to stay in the U.S. or re-enter after leaving.

Ways a DUI affects immigration status

Under normal circumstances, a non-U.S. citizen will not face deportation as a result of a simple DUI. However, DUI with drugs (DUID), DUI with a child in the car, multiple DUIs, or a combination of criminal convictions can lead to several immigration penalties.

These includes possible deportation, denial of citizenship, and inadmissibility to the U.S.

Inadmissibility means the immigrant may not become a U.S. citizen, may not re-enter the country after leaving, apply for permanent residence (green card), or change status from illegal to legal.

What crimes are eligible for deportation?

Serious crimes can result in deportation. Aggravated felonies, as defined by the federal government, qualify as serious crimes. So do crimes with controlled substances (drugs) and those involving knowing child neglect. A DUI with a child in the car is not by itself a violation of this magnitude, and that’s where a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney can help an immigrant fight such a charge.

Another category of crime that can affect immigration status is “crimes of moral turpitude,” (CIMT). The legal definition of this crime is somewhat open to debate, but in general, it is typically crimes of violence or crimes of fraud and are “shocking” in nature. They are crimes against the social norm.

One element of the CIMT crime is specific intent. That means that simple DUI for drunken driving is not this type of crime because there was no specific intent to commit a crime or punish anyone. However, if you are driving under the influence and know that the act is dangerous to human life or you act that way with disregard for others’ safety, then you could be guilty of such a crime. And conviction for it would make you both deportable and inadmissible.

What are inadmissible crimes?

Can a DUI stop you from becoming a U.S. citizen? Certain crimes can keep a person from lawfully entering the U.S., becoming naturalized (U.S. citizen), or obtaining a green card. These include drug crimes, two or more crimes that add up to 5 or more years in prison, crimes of “moral turpitude” within 5 years of entering the U.S., and any crimes that show a lack of good moral character.

Can a DUI affect a green card application?

Basically, to obtain a green card for permanent residence in the U.S., you have to show that over the past five years that you have demonstrated good moral behavior. Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol will be a problem for you – as will any of the other crimes listed above.

If you do have a misdemeanor DUI on your record, contacting a Los Angeles Defense Attorney may be able to help you improve your chances to get a green card by showing you how to demonstrate good moral behavior, perhaps by getting involved with community service or doing some other kind of volunteer work.

How does DUI affect application for citizenship?

You may be interested in filing form N-400 (Application for Naturalization) and are worried that a DUI may prevent you from completing the process.

[If the DUI is serious enough and/or it involved drugs, then you will have a difficult time applying for citizenship.][2] In fact, your green card could be revoked and you could be deported. It would be helpful to consult a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney for citizenship application advice and assistance.

A DUI can expose unlawful presence for an illegal immigrant

Can an illegal immigrant get deported for a DUI? The answer is it depends on the situation. But no matter what the answer is, the DUI charge brings up another problem for the immigrant: the discovery of unlawful presence. The DUI record provides information that can help the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Department locate an illegal immigrant. There are many other factors besides DUI that can lead to deportation, and being exposed to the USCIS can make it easier to implement removal proceedings.

How can a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney help an immigrant with DUI?

The Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorneys, experienced in all aspects of Immigration Law, will help you prepare a proper defense that includes services directed to the cancellation of removal proceedings, obtaining a green card, keeping you in the U.S., helping you qualify for citizenship, and if necessary, cancelling removal proceedings.

In addition to disputing any allegations made against you, an attorney can help show the positive side of your character and the favorable factors that a judge will consider on your behalf.

These factors may include the length of time since the incident occurred, the lack of a serious crime, your recent rehabilitation, your family ties in the U.S., any hardship that would result from your deportation, and the value you are providing to the community. As an immigrant with a DUI charge, it is in your best interests to have a Criminal Defense Attorney represent you for the best outcome possible.

We Offer a Risk Free Consultation for a DUI Affecting Immigration

Contact Attorney Daniel Perlman or Matthew Cohen at Perlman & Cohen, (310) 557-1700.

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