Immigration Consequences of a DUI
If you are a non-citizen with a single conviction for California DUI—without any additional aggravating factors—the odds are that you will not face immigration consequences such as deportation. But under certain circumstances, a California DUI conviction may be considered a deportable crime or an inadmissible crime under criminal immigration law and thus affect your ability to stay in the United States. (Note: If you are convicted of a 'deportable crime' you can be forced to leave the U.S.; and if you are convicted of an "inadmissible crime" you cannot be admitted to the U.S. which means you will not be allowed to re-enter the country after you've left it, even if you are a legal immigrant. It also means that you are ineligible to receive any kind of benefit from the U.S. immigration authorities, for example, an adjustment to legal immigrant status if you are here illegally.)
Specifically, you may be deported or have trouble adjusting your immigration status if you are convicted of:
• DUI while driving on a suspended license, This is because driving on a suspended license does require a culpable state of mind—you need to have known that your license was suspended and driven anyway. Therefore, DUI while on a suspended license is considered a “crime of moral turpitude”, which makes you both "deportable' and "inadmissible" under the Federal Immigration Laws and can thereby affect your immigration status.
• DUI of drugs (Drugs that are illegal under federal law rather than California Law)
w because the INS, a federal agency, only enforces federal law). This is because you can be made either deportable or inadmissible under the federal immigration laws if you are convicted of a crime involving controlled substances. California's DUI of drugs law makes it a crime to drive under the influence of drugs…which is clearly a crime related to controlled substances and thereby can affect your immigration status.
• DUI in connection with child endangerment charges, (i.e., if you are convicted for driving drunk with a child in the car.) This is because of the danger you are subjecting children to when you drive while intoxicated with children aboard. Child endangerment—like driving on a suspended license—does require a criminal state of mind: you need to have knowingly put the child in danger to be convicted of this offense. Therefore, it is considered a “crime of moral turpitude” which makes you both "deportable' and "inadmissible" under the Federal Immigration Laws and can thereby affect your immigration status.
• Multiple DUIs (or a DUI on top of convictions for other crimes). This is because when you are convicted of two (2) or more crimes, and the total sentences for all the crimes of which you were convicted add up to five (5) years or more you are deemed "inadmissible" under the Federal Immigration Laws and can thereby affect your immigration status. Contact the Lee Law Group if you are a non-citizen facing DUI charges because we understand immigration law as well as criminal law and can craft a defense strategy that will avoid the potential immigration consequences of a DUI conviction.
IF YOU AN IMMIGRANT OR A NON-LEGAL STATUS PERSON CHARGED WITH A DUI CASE CONTACT THE LEE LAW GROUP AND WE WILL BEGIN FIGHTING FOR YOU