Is a DUI conviction enough to lead to deportation?
Fortunately, a DUI itself is not a basis for deportation in the Immigration and Nationality Act. However, the circumstances under which you found yourself when the DUI occurred could.
If it can be shown that you are not of good or moral character, then it is possible for you to be deported, but that’s not necessarily linked to a DUI on its own. For example, if the DUI led to a homicide and hit-and-run, you may be at a greater risk of deportation than if you were stopped for driving unusually and accused of being intoxicated.
Even better support for the idea of not deporting individuals purely due to a DUI conviction is a recent news report and release from the presidential administration. The White House confirmed on February 8 that it would not be pushing to prioritize deporting illegal immigrants who were convicted of drug-related crimes or DUIs. If you’re in the country illegally or legally, that’s a positive factor that works in your favor.
What can you do to protect your right to your Green Card and to avoid deportation after committing a crime?
If you are accused of a DUI, it is always a good idea to talk to your immigration attorney about that issue. While deportation may not be an immediate threat, there are other impacts that a DUI could have on you, such as heavy fines, a risk of imprisonment or even accusations of committing a crime of moral turpitude (which could impact your right to stay in the country).
Remember that most deportable offenses are felonies. If this is your first DUI, then it’s likely to be a misdemeanor charge. However, if your blood alcohol concentration was extremely high or you were involved in a collision, then the stakes may be higher.
When you speak with your attorney, be honest with them about what happened. They need to know the truth about your situation, so that they can help you build a strong defense for court. They’ll work closely with you try to find a solution to your problem that allows you to stay in the country and minimize the penalties that you face.
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Ted Hess & Associates, LLC, is located in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. We provide immigration services to those who live or work between Silverthrone/Breckenridge and Grad Junction and Between Grand Junction and Montrose.