What Effect Will a DUI Have On My Immigration Process?
If you’re currently pursuing a change in immigration status and have been charged with a DUI, your immigration process just became more complicated.
For anyone charged with a DUI, the consequences can be life-altering, from thousands of dollars in fines to serving years in prison. But when you’re an immigrant looking for legal entry to the country or a change in status, the consequences can derail and end your immigration journey.
What Are The Consequences For A DUI When You’re An Immigrant?
Non-U.S. citizens charged with a DUI should seek help from an experienced immigration attorney immediately because they’re at risk of being deported.
Even if you already have a green card, you’re at risk of deportation after a DUI conviction.
Any green-card holder with a DUI on their record could be summoned to immigration court (removal) proceedings, where an immigration judge will decide whether your crime matches one of the grounds of deportation.
The possible consequences don’t stop there. Even if there are no grounds to deport you if you leave the country to visit family or friends abroad, trouble may arise when you return. Your DUI may pop up on your criminal record as you try to re-enter the United States, and you’ll be deemed inadmissible.
Can I Still Become A US Citizen With A DUI On My Record?
If you’re a current green card holder and wish to earn citizenship in the US, you must prove that you have had the good moral character for at least the last five years before submitting your application. A DUI on your record would not be considered having good moral character.
An experienced immigration attorney might be able to build a case showing your strong moral character, with examples o volunteer work, being a model employee, and being a good family member — but with the DUI, it’s more complicated.
You may want to wait until your record is clean and you’ve established a strong pattern of moral character five years since the date of conviction.
What Should I Do If I’ve Been Charged With A DUI?
If you’ve been charged with a DUI and are currently a non-resident or permanent resident of the United States going through the immigration process, call Fay, Grafton, & Nunez immediately.
We have decades of immigration law experience to help you navigate the complexities of the immigration process with a DUI charge.
We offer consultations for a flat fee of $200 to help you jump-start your case and reach your goal of staying in the United States.