Each and every single year, thousands of immigrants in the United States (some of them here legally and longtime residents, others here illegally, and others still applying for US citizenship) are arrested and charged with driving under the influence – a DUI.
And while many of them are (understandably so) shaken to the very core because of the steep penalties that the US places on those that choose to drive while under the influence, almost all of them are universally shocked to discover that there are even more significant and steep penalties for immigrants that are charged with this crime all over the US.
If you are an immigrant in the US and have been charged with a DUI or our friends with an immigrant that has been charged with this serious crime, it is of the utmost importance that you seek out professional legal assistance and representation at your earliest possible convenience.
This is something that you’re going to want to jump out ahead of and results as quickly and as painlessly as possible to ensure that you get the kinds of results you’re looking for, and that your immigration status is it negatively impacted.
There are serious consequences for immigration status when a DUI charge is levied
It’s important to understand that driving under the influence is considered to be a serious offense.
But those that are here as an immigrant are going to deal with the steepest consequences of them all.
Any DUI arrests, criminal charge, or conviction will likely impact the immigration status of anyone here in the United States. During the booking process, immigrants will potentially be fingerprinted and have photographs taken to be registered in the national database (just like anyone else), but those records can also go to the US Immigration and Nationalization Service.
That record is as permanent as it gets, and the information will potentially be brought up whenever an immigrant applies for work, applies for a visa renewal or asylum, hopes to have their immigration status adjusted, pursues naturalization, or tries to take advantage of refugee status with a travel document or green card.
On top of that, having even just a single criminal conviction on record (here in the United States or in your home country) can lead to a denial of admission into the United States or removal/deportation in some certain circumstances, but not necessarily for a DUI according to Colusa County DUI Attorney Michael Rehm. A regular misdemeanor DUI is not considered a crime of moral turpitude according to federal immigration law, as long as no drugs were involved.
What kind of recourse do immigrants have available?
Obviously, immigrants will have an opportunity to plead their case and take advantage of the US legal system before they are convicted of any crimes – just like any US citizen would.
If an immigrant is unable to afford an attorney or representative one will be provided for them, and they will have every opportunity to take advantage of legal services and representation to help guide them through this oftentimes difficult process.
It is critically important though that immigrants contact legal representatives as soon as reasonably possible to make sure that they stand every chance of not having their immigration status adjusted (or worse).