A driving under the influence (DUI) conviction can lead to serious consequences for anyone, but the consequences for a permanent resident (Green Card holder) can be worse, especially when immigration is a hot topic in political circles. This applies to an immigrant who has a Green Card and someone who is in the U.S. illegally, but has been “under the radar.”
If you have U.S. permanent resident status (a Green Card), the immigration consequences of a DUI will depend on the circumstances of your case. If you are not a U.S. citizen, please do not try to analyze your case without speaking to an Orange County DUI defense attorney.
Driving Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol
In California, DUI means to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In regards to drugs, it includes illegal street drugs, lawfully prescribed medications, and over-the-counter drugs, such as allergy medications with sedating effects.
The facts around each DUI vary widely. While a DUI may be a minor first-time offense, many involve “aggravating circumstances” such as a multiple DUI, an accident involving property damage, bodily injuries, or worse, a fatality.
Such factors could lead to a felony conviction, and they will be taken into account when the immigration authorities are deciding if a DUI is a deportable offense.
Can I Get Deported for DUI?
In word, yes. Even if you have a Green Card, it can’t protect you from deportation in all situations. If you are convicted of DUI, you could be placed in removal proceedings. In such a case, an immigration judge will decide if your crime falls under one of the grounds of deportability.
If the immigration judge rules against you, you could be deported and prohibited from reentering the United States for many years.
If you’re a Green Card holder, you could be deported for:
- Any fraud-related crime
- An aggravated felony
- Any crime of “moral turpitude”
- Any violent crime
- Domestic violence
- Two separate crimes of moral turpitude
- Any drug-related crime, including driving under the influence of drugs
If you are convicted of DUI, it will be up to the immigration authorities to review the circumstances of your case and whether you have any prior criminal convictions, and to decide whether you should be deported. Essentially, it will come down to the facts of your case and your criminal record history (if any).
The above is only the tip of the iceberg. If you leave the U.S. for any reason, a DUI could trigger the grounds of inadmissibility, which are found in Section 212 of the INA. If you’re a Green Card holder, a DUI conviction can complicate the naturalization process.
If you’re a non-U.S. citizen, and you were recently arrested for DUI, the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc. can inform you of your rights and provide you with a strong DUI defense – call today!