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DUI – Immigration: How DUI Affects Immigration Status

Struggling with DUI immigration matters? Do Law Office offers comprehensive legal support tailored to your needs. Book a consultation now for assistance.

What Is DUI Immigration?

A driving under the influence (DUI) charge or conviction can have serious consequences for non-citizens, especially if they have prior DUI convictions. The effects can be much worse for undocumented immigrants, leading to deportation. 

If you are an immigrant in the U.S., your immigration status may be affected if you have more than one DUI conviction or convictions for other crimes involving moral turpitude.

This article will explain in detail the effects of DUI on immigrants. If you were arrested for DUI, it may be in your best interest to contact an immigration attorney. They will be able to give you personalized advice on your situation and legal options.

Types of DUI offenses

Before we delve into the effects of DUI on your immigration status, it may be useful to understand the different DUI offenses first, as different offenses have different consequences.

According to Georgia car accident statistics, DUI is a leading cause of accidents in Georgia. Here are the most common DUI offenses:

  • Driving under the influence of alcohol

  • Driving under the influence of drugs

  • DUI with injuries

  • DUI with property damage

  • Vehicular homicide while driving under the influence

The more severe your DUI charge, the more it will affect your immigration status. A vehicular homicide while DUI can lead to deportation or the maximum punishment. However, a simple DUI may lead to a few hours in jail, fines, or driver’s license suspension.

If you have legal permanent resident status, talk to your immigration attorney about naturalization. As a naturalized citizen, you do not have to constantly worry about deportation. If you commit a DUI or any other crime, you will be tried and sentenced as a U.S. citizen.

What Are the Consequences of a DUI for Immigrants?

For visa holders, a misdemeanor DUI conviction is not a deportable offense unless it involves aggravating factors. However, a felony DUI charge may lead to deportation.

Receiving a DUI while driving on a suspended license and being impaired by illegal drugs may lead to deportation, even as misdemeanors. If other aggravating factors exist, a conviction may lead to deportation and inadmissibility. 

A DUI arrest is worse for an undocumented immigrant. For undocumented immigrants, an arrest for any crime could lead to detention by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). It is then followed by court proceedings. Lack of proper legal defense may lead to faster removal. An immigration attorney can offer you a strong deportation defense to challenge your deportability.

It is vital to understand that once you are convicted of a DUI, your information is available to other agencies. This means that other agencies involved in immigration services can access your criminal record, which may affect your eligibility for some immigration benefits. 

As a non-immigrant visa holder, you may be barred from re-entering the U.S. if you have multiple DUI convictions. Additionally, you may be delayed at the airport due to increased scrutiny. DUI, coupled with other criminal convictions, may lead to detention at the border. You may then be forced to return to your home country.

DUI Penalties for Non-US Citizens

In the U.S., driving under the influence is a serious offense. Both temporary and permanent residents may face serious consequences for DUI in certain situations. 

Depending on the severity of your offense, expect any of the following DUI penalties:

  • Jail time

  • Fines

  • Installation of an ignition interlock device

  • Mandatory DUI education program

  • Community service

  • Probation

  • License suspension or revocation

  • Placement in deportation proceedings

Remember that if your license is suspended, you can visit the DMV and renew it. However, you have to wait for the suspension period to elapse. 

If your DUI conviction is a deportable offense, you need an experienced immigration lawyer to guide you each step of the way.

How Can a DUI Charge Affect Your Immigration Status?

For most lawful permanent residents, the next step is applying for citizenship through naturalization. However, having a DUI conviction may affect your eligibility since it requires good moral character.

A DUI offense is not considered a crime of moral turpitude. However, DUI is considered a harmful behavior. This means a DUI conviction reflects poorly on you.

A DUI conviction may lead to employment termination. If you are in the U.S. on a work visa and you lose your job, you may be required to find another job within 60 days to be able to stay in the U.S. Bear in mind that getting a job as an immigrant with a DUI record is not easy, especially within such a short period. 

You could face harsher penalties if you are convicted of aggravated felonies. If you travel on an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization), you may receive a revocation notice after a DUI. You may be denied entry without a tourist visa or go through a secondary inspection. 

Facing DUI Immigration Issues? Immigration Attorneys From Do Law Office Can Help

Multiple DUI convictions can jeopardize your immigration status. You may also face other adverse immigration consequences. Your deportation or imprisonment not only affects you but also your family and future. It’s crucial to get the right legal counsel to stop this from happening.

An immigration and personal injury lawyer can help you. At Do Law Office, we understand the impact a criminal conviction can have on you and your family. We are ready to assist you in fighting a DUI conviction. We can investigate your case and build a strong defense to get your charges dropped or reduced.

If you are facing deportation, we can represent you in the immigration court and fight for your right to stay in the U.S. Our goal is to get you the most favorable outcome for your case.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation. Time is of the essence.

Contact Us


4500 Satellite Blvd.
Suite 1160
Duluth, GA 30096


Tel: 678-224-8940
Fax: 678-224-8967

4500 Satellite Blvd Ste 1160

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