March 22, 2024

Can a DUI Get You Deported?

Can a DUI get you deported? For non-citizens, a DUI conviction can lead to severe consequences beyond fines, license suspension, and jail time. Understanding the immigration implications of a DUI is crucial, as it can potentially result in deportation.

Can a DUI Get You Deported?

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Dane Perikly

Director of Virtual Services & DUI Education

Last Update on March 26, 2024

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Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious offense that can lead to severe consequences, including fines, license suspension, and even jail time. However, for non-citizens, the stakes are even higher. If you find yourself in this situation, you may be wondering, can a DUI get you deported? A DUI conviction can potentially result in deportation, making it crucial to understand the immigration consequences of a DUI.

DUI and Deportation Laws

The consequences of a DUI conviction can be severe for anyone, but for non-citizens, the stakes are even higher. A DUI conviction can lead to deportation, making it essential to understand the complex laws governing DUI and immigration matters.

Under U.S. immigration law, certain criminal convictions can result in deportation, even for lawful permanent residents (green card holders). DUIs are among the offenses that can trigger deportation proceedings, as they are considered crimes of moral turpitude or aggravated felonies, depending on the circumstances.

It’s important to note that you can be deported for a DUI, regardless of your first offense, a misdemeanor, or a felony charge.

The immigration consequences of a DUI conviction can be far-reaching and may include:

  • Deportation
  • Inadmissibility to the United States
  • Denial of adjustment of status (green card application)
  • Denial of naturalization (citizenship application)

 

The severity of the consequences depends on factors such as the nature of the DUI offense, the individual’s immigration status, and their criminal history. For example, suppose you’re charged with a DUI that’s considered an aggravated felony, such as a DUI causing injury or a DUI with a child in the vehicle. In that case, the chances of deportation are significantly higher.

There is no statute of limitations for deportation based on criminal convictions. This means that you can face deportation proceedings even years after a DUI conviction, emphasizing the long-lasting consequences of a conviction for non-citizens.
Yes, even as a green card holder, you can face deportation for a DUI conviction, especially if it’s considered an aggravated felony or if you have multiple DUI convictions. It’s essential to understand the potential immigration consequences of a DUI and take steps to protect your status.
If you’re a non-citizen charged with a DUI, it’s crucial to seek legal advice from an attorney experienced in both criminal defense and immigration law. They can help you understand the potential consequences of a DUI conviction and work to mitigate the risks to your immigration status.

Whether a DUI can lead to deportation.

The short answer is yes; a DUI conviction can lead to deportation for non-citizens, including green card holders.

However, the likelihood of deportation depends on several factors, such as:

  • The severity of the DUI offense (misdemeanor vs. felony)
  • The individual’s criminal history
  • The individual’s immigration status
  • Aggravating factors (high blood alcohol content, accidents, injuries)

 

In general, a DUI conviction is more likely to result in deportation if it’s classified as an aggravated felony or a crime of moral turpitude under immigration law. Aggravated felonies are serious crimes that can include DUIs with aggravating factors, such as a DUI causing injury or a DUI with a child in the vehicle.

Crimes of moral turpitude, which can include multiple DUI convictions, are offenses that violate community standards of morality. If you’re deported for a DUI that’s considered a crime of moral turpitude, you may face a temporary bar to reentry.

Even if a DUI doesn’t result in immediate deportation, it can still have significant immigration consequences, such as making you ineligible for adjusting your status or naturalizing as a U.S. citizen.

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Can a DUI conviction lead to deportation for non-citizens?

While a single, simple DUI may not always result in deportation, DUIs with aggravating factors such as injuries, repeat offenses, or drug involvement can significantly increase the risk of being deported for a DUI.

Legal Consequences of a DUI for Non-Citizens

Non-citizens arrested for a DUI face the same immediate legal consequences as citizens, such as arrest, fines, license suspension, and possible jail time.

However, they also face additional immigration-related consequences, including:

  • Deportation proceedings
  • Mandatory detention during deportation proceedings
  • Ineligibility for certain immigration benefits
  • Denial of reentry to the United States

 

The severity of these consequences depends on factors like the nature of the DUI offense, immigration status, and criminal history. Undocumented immigrants may face expedited removal proceedings.

Non-citizens facing DUI charges should seek experienced legal representation from an attorney knowledgeable in both criminal defense and immigration law to help protect their rights and minimize the impact on their immigration status. Effective legal interventions can potentially mitigate the consequences of a DUI.

Get Help for DUI at Cornerstone

At Cornerstone Healing Center in AZ, we offer personalized recovery programs, expert care, and a supportive community to guide you on your journey to sobriety.

Immigration Status and DUI Charges

DUI charges can impact individuals in various ways, depending on their immigration status, potentially leading to severe consequences that can significantly affect their lives and legal standing in the United States.

  • Green Card Holders: being charged with a DUI can put them at risk of deportation, mainly if the offense is classified as an aggravated felony or a crime of moral turpitude. Moreover, a DUI conviction can hinder the naturalization process, possibly leading to the denial of a U.S. citizenship application due to questions about the applicant’s moral character.
  • Temporary Visa Holders, such as students and workers, encounter unique challenges when faced with a DUI conviction. They may have their current visa revoked and experience difficulties when attempting to renew it or apply for a new one. Furthermore, reentering the United States after traveling abroad could be compromised, affecting their capacity to sustain employment, education, or family ties within the country.
  • Undocumented Immigrants face even more severe repercussions. Being charged with a DUI can promptly initiate deportation proceedings, frequently without the possibility of bail. This may result in mandatory detention and impede future efforts to regularize their immigration status or reenter the United States.

 

A DUI charge can significantly impact ongoing immigration applications and status adjustments, leading to denials or delays. Additionally, negative media portrayals of immigrants involved in criminal activities, such as DUIs, can influence public opinion and lead to stricter immigration policies.

This societal context can further complicate the challenges faced by non-citizens dealing with a DUI charge, affecting both their legal outcomes and social integration.

Immigration Consequences of DUI

A DUI conviction can make a non-citizen inadmissible to the United States. This significantly affects their ability to enter the country, secure a visa, or change their existing visa status.

Aggravated Felonies: Although a typical DUI may not be classified as an aggravated felony, any DUI connected to drug-related offenses can contribute to a finding of inadmissibility.

Crimes of Moral Turpitude: In some cases, a DUI may be viewed as a crime of moral turpitude, mainly when it involves reckless conduct or causes injury to others. This classification can have negative repercussions for visa applications and status adjustments.

Deportation for DUI Conviction

The impact of a DUI charge on an individual’s immigration status can be severe. Green card holders may face deportation, especially if the DUI is considered an aggravated felony or a crime of moral turpitude. 

Temporary visa holders can have their visas revoked and face difficulties with future applications or reentry. 

Undocumented immigrants charged with a DUI can be placed in removal proceedings and mandatory detention, with little chance of obtaining legal status later.

A DUI charge can also derail pending immigration applications, leading to denials or delays. The broader societal context, influenced by negative media portrayals of immigrants involved in crimes like DUI, can further complicate matters for non-citizens. 

They may face harsher legal consequences and challenges with social integration and acceptance.

Non-citizens charged with a DUI should be aware of the potential immigration consequences, which can include deportation, visa revocation, and application denials. 

It is essential to seek guidance from a skilled lawyer to navigate these intricate legal matters.

Deportation Risk for DUI Offenders

The risk of deportation for non-citizens convicted of a DUI varies depending on the specific circumstances of the case. Some scenarios that can elevate the risk include:
  • Aggravated DUI: If the DUI offense is classified as an aggravated felony, such as causing injury or death, the risk of deportation is significantly higher. If you’re convicted of a DUI that’s considered an aggravated felony, you can be deported for a DUI more easily.
  • Multiple DUI Convictions: Repeated DUI offenses can increase the likelihood of deportation, as they may be viewed as a pattern of criminal behavior. If you’ve been convicted of a DUI multiple times, the chances of being deported because of a DUI are higher.
  • DUI with Drugs: A DUI involving drugs, even if it’s a first offense, can be considered a more serious crime and elevate the risk of deportation. The immigration consequences of a DUI with drugs can be severe.
  • Undocumented Immigrants: For those without legal status in the U.S., any DUI conviction can trigger deportation proceedings. If you’re an undocumented immigrant charged with a DUI, the risk of deportation is high.
Ultimately, the best way to avoid deportation due to a DUI is to avoid drinking and driving altogether. However, if you find yourself facing DUI charges, understanding the potential risks and taking proactive steps to address the situation can be crucial in protecting your immigration status.

Key Takeaways

DUI and Deportation Laws

A DUI conviction can lead to severe immigration consequences, including deportation, making it crucial to understand the legal framework and potential ramifications.

  • Immigration and Nationality Act (INA): The INA sets the foundation for immigration law, specifying when certain crimes, including some DUIs, can lead to deportation. If you’re a non-citizen charged with a DUI, understanding the INA’s impact on your case is crucial to determine if you can be deported for a DUI.
  • Deportable Offenses: Not all DUIs automatically result in deportation, but certain factors increase the risk. Repeat offenses, drug involvement, or causing harm to others can elevate the likelihood of being deported because of a DUI. Non-citizens must understand these nuances when facing DUI charges.
  • Recent Changes: Legal updates have clarified when a DUI might be considered a deportable offense. These changes highlight the importance of examining case specifics to determine the immigration consequences of a DUI conviction, as the consequences of a DUI can vary.
  • Landmark Cases: Court decisions have helped define when a DUI is a deportable act, especially when it involves intentional endangerment. Staying informed about these cases can help non-citizens understand their rights and options when charged with a DUI.
  • Legal Representation: With high stakes involved, non-citizens charged with a DUI should seek experienced legal counsel. An attorney knowledgeable in criminal defense and immigration law can provide valuable guidance in navigating complex legal issues and mitigating the immigration consequences of a DUI conviction.

The interplay between DUI offenses and deportation laws, non-citizens can be better equipped to make informed decisions and protect their rights when faced with a DUI charge.

Our DUI Online Courses

For non-citizens facing DUI charges, seeking support and guidance is essential. Organizations like Cornerstone Healing Center online services that provide valuable education and tools for moving forward. These services are designed to empower individuals with knowledge and resources to make positive changes and navigate the legal system effectively, not to help them evade responsibility. By staying informed, seeking help when needed, and working towards rehabilitation and positive change, non-citizens facing DUI charges can take steps to protect their futures and build a better life for themselves and their families.

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Author & Reviewers

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Dane Perikly

DIRECTOR OF VIRTUAL SERVICES

Dane is the Director of Virtual services at Cornerstone. He contributes guides on DUI education so that you can understand all there is to know about DUI charges, education, and the overall process of meeting Arizona requirements after a DUI. He cares deeply about raising awareness of the dangers of DUI and illustrating the impact on victims and on those charged. 

lionel estrada lisac clinical director
CLINICAL DIRECTOR

Lionel is the Clinical Director of Cornerstone’s Scottsdale treatment facilities. He has had over 4 years at Cornerstone. He is personally in recovery and passionate about helping others overcome substance abuse and mental health challenges, he is trained as an EMDR, adopting a trauma-informed approach to treat the underlying issues of conditions.

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