A DUI arrest and conviction are not sufficient grounds upon which an immigration application can be denied or grounds for deportation. However, a DUI may have a serious impact on your current immigration status as well as an immigration application.
Existing Green Cards
In most cases, a first offense DUI, absent any additional aggravating charges of hit-and-run or manslaughter, should not significantly or detrimentally impact your green card.
However, if you are undocumented, and receive jail time, there is a greater chance that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) may attempt to put you in removal proceedings. This is because your application will request an update for any criminal charges and having a DUI conviction may also affect the “good moral character” requirement. Therefore, if you are close to a renewal period, you should speak with an attorney regarding how to have the charges reduced so as not to incur any jail time if possible.
Green Card Applications
If you are attempting to obtain a green card, you will be required to honestly answer questions regarding any criminal history you may have. This will include any DUI convictions on your record. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has an incredible amount of discretion with reference to immigration applications. Therefore, every official in every situation may not have the same answer regarding your criminal DUI charge and your immigration application.
If a USCIS official believes that your criminal conviction shows that you have a lack of good moral character or that the DUI also includes some sort of reckless endangerment (hit and run, manslaughter, etc.) then they may deny your application. Additionally, having more than one DUI on your criminal record could be a solid cause to deny your application, as you may have been sentenced to prison. In many cases, one simple DUI with jail time could make you completely ineligible for permanent residency (obtaining a green card) in the United States.
Contact an Experienced Attorney
In most cases and most circumstances, a first DUI conviction will not result in any effect upon your immigration application or disqualify you to receive a green card in the United States. However, you will always need to address the fact that you have this criminal conviction on your record as you move through the process.
Contacting an experienced attorney immediately after receiving a DUI charge can help reduce or dismiss the charge completely, thus avoiding any issue with your immigration application. While it is always hard to completely predict with absolute certainty how your DUI will affect your application, visiting with an attorney can help ensure that you receive the legal guidance you need to ensure your rights are protected.
Contact the experienced criminal defense attorneys at The Moorhead Law Group at 303-447-1400 or online today for a free consultation to discuss your legal options if you were arrested, charged, and convicted of a DUI and are concerned how it may affect your immigration application.