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Can a DUI Stop Me From Entering the U.S.?

Not only is Orange County an ethnically diverse area, but all of California is, especially with our close proximity to Mexico. Since our DUI defense firm is located in South Orange County, which is hours away from the Mexican Border, we represent a number of Mexican immigrants who are lawful permanent residents (Green Card holders), but we also represent other foreign nationals as well who are facing DUI charges.

Since immigration is a hot topic right now, a lot of Orange County residents are concerned about how a DUI might affect their immigration status, or how it will affect a loved one’s ability to visit the U.S. and apply for a visa or a Green Card, and understandably so.

Suppose your loved one wants to come to the U.S. to visit you and possibly stay permanently; however, they have a DUI (or equivalent) in their home country. Will a recent DUI conviction bar your relative from visiting you in the United States? Read on as we answer this question.

Is a DUI Grounds for Denied Entry?

According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, a single DUI conviction is not typically grounds to bar someone from entering the United States. However, if an immigrant has multiple DUI convictions, or if the individual has a DUI conviction and other misdemeanor convictions, he or she would be considered “inadmissible.” In that case, the individual would have to obtain a waiver before they were able to enter the U.S. lawfully.

A person may not enter the U.S. if they have been convicted of a crime of moral turpitude. While DUI is not usually considered a “crime of moral turpitude,” the following crimes are and would deem the immigrant inadmissible:

  • Theft
  • Rape
  • Forgery
  • Fraud
  • Bribery
  • Manslaughter and murder

As of this writing, DUI is not a “crime of moral turpitude,” meaning a single DUI conviction is not going to make someone inadmissible to the U.S. But as we mentioned above, if someone has multiple DUIs on their record, or if they have a DUI conviction, along with other misdemeanor convictions, they can be barred from entering the United States.

Looking for an Orange County DUI defense attorney? Contact the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc. for a free consultation!