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Can I Be Deported for DUI if I'm Married to a U.S. Citizen?

Are you an immigrant who is married to a U.S. citizen? As the spouse of a citizen, you should be eligible for a green card because you are considered an “immediate relative” of a U.S. citizen, and in this case, we’re referring to your husband or wife.

Under U.S. immigration laws, immediate relatives are given special immigration priority. This means they don’t have to wait in line for a visa number because the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) does not limit the number of visas that can be issued to immediate relatives, including spouses, unmarried children and parents of U.S. citizens.

Now that you have applied for a green card, you’re awaiting its approval. But as you know, in order for you to enjoy your permanent resident status, you need to show the USCIS that you are worthy of citizenship. That you are a person of “good moral character.” But what if you are a good person, but you have a habit of drinking and driving?

What if you got in trouble with the law one too many times? For example, what if you have three DUI convictions, and two are for wet reckless? You know that multiple DUIs are considered severe crimes, and you truly regret your mistakes. You know something might happen with your immigration case. Will your convictions get you deported? Maybe, maybe not, but it is possible.


Criminal convictions can lead to serious immigration consequences; however, not all convictions are treated the same. In this situation, we advise having an immigration attorney represent you at your immigration hearing in federal court. We can’t entirely predict how your criminal convictions will affect your immigration status because the truth is that it’s up to the federal magistrate who’s in charge of reviewing your case.

We can tell you that it’s unlikely that your DUIs will be considered a serious enough crime to block you from getting your green card. But there is one factor that could have a bearing on your green card application: the length of the sentence could have an impact on how the immigration department views your specific case. Essentially, the longer the sentence, the greater cause for concern.

Immigration cases are not black and white. How a DUI affects immigration status depends on a number of factors, such as your criminal record history, and the seriousness of the DUI offense. If you have a pattern of criminal behavior and an immigration judge says “enough,” you could face removal proceedings or your green card can be denied. In any case, you should hire a local DUI attorney to help you fight your current DUI charges.

Related: Can a DUI Stop Me from Becoming a U.S. Citizen?

If you’re facing DUI charges and are afraid of how it can impact your green card status, contact our Orange County DUI firm for a free case evaluation!