Can a DUI affect your green card status?

If you’ve been charged with a DUI, it can affect your permanent resident status. Driving while intoxicated is a serious charge that can make it hard to apply for citizenship and may even lead to deportation. Not every DUI charge comes with these penalties, so it’s important to have a legal professional examine your case. The attorneys at De Castroverde Criminal & Immigration Lawyers are experts on the legal issues of immigration and can answer questions you have about your trial.

Can a DUI Affect Your Green Card?

Immigration Court - Statue

To protect your permanent resident card status, it’s beneficial to hire an attorney for your DUI case. A DUI can negatively affect your green card and may even lead to deportation. Typically, a DUI charge on its own is not enough to revoke a green card, but it might land you in immigration court. Immigration court judges have the authority to review your DUI charges to see if the facts constitute grounds for deportation. If your immigration court trial is unsuccessful, then your green card may be revoked. This may prohibit them from entering the country again for a number of years.

What Are the Grounds for Deportability?

The grounds for deportation are a set of guidelines used by immigration courts when deciding whether someone should be allowed to stay in the country. If the judge rules that your DUI case meets or exceeds the minimum requirements for deportation, then your green card status could be in jeopardy. Here is a list of the grounds for deportation:

  • Aggravated felonies.
  • Crimes of moral turpitude are committed within five years of admission.
  • Crimes of violence.
  • Two crimes involving both moral turpitude and controlled substances.

When reviewing a DUI case, immigration courts need to decide if the incident involved a crime of moral turpitude. Crimes of moral turpitude are a category of misdemeanors and felonies. These are crimes that consist of particularly egregious and malicious actions. DUIs are not always considered crimes of moral turpitude, but in some cases, they can be.

If the incident involved the use of drugs, if there were children in the car, if you were driving with a suspended license, or if somebody died as a result, then an immigration court might categorize the DUI as a crime of moral turpitude. These aggravating factors are just a few of the things that the court considers when assessing a DUI case, but the key characteristic of crimes of moral turpitude is that they require intent by the defendant.

Because normal DUIs do not involve intentional conduct by the defendant, most cases do not rise to the level of moral turpitude. If you aren’t sure if your case meets the standards for a crime of moral turpitude, then you should immediately contact a legal professional to help you prepare for trial.

Grounds of Inadmissibility

Not only can a DUI charge end with you being deported, but it can also cause problems if you leave the country and want to come back in. If your case doesn’t meet the standards for the grounds of deportation, you still might have issues with the grounds of inadmissibility. These rules regulate who is allowed into the country, and people with criminal records are often turned away. Whether you’re applying for a green card or already have one, you are subject to these rules. Grounds of inadmissibility include:

  • Convictions of crimes of moral turpitude: If you are convicted of a crime of moral turpitude, it will appear on your record when seeking re-entry into the country. With this mark on your record, the immigration office may deny your entry until you have a clean record for at least five years.
  • Convictions of two or more crimes with sentences over five years: If you have been convicted of multiple crimes that resulted in over five years of sentences, then you may be deemed inadmissible. The immigration office wants to prevent repeat offenders from entering the country, so even if you have a green-card, you might not be able to enter the country.
  • Drug or alcohol addictions: If you have a record of drug or alcohol addiction, you can be denied entry into the country. If you have drug or alcohol-related offenses on your record, an immigration court can decide that your addiction bars you from entry.
  • Previous crimes that involved controlled substances: Green-card holders who have criminal records with controlled substance violations can be turned away from the country. A DUI charge does not always bar you from entry on its own, but if it helps to create a pattern of behavior that involves controlled substances, your green card could be at risk.

What Type of Lawyer Do I Need To Hire?

If you are nervous about whether your DUI charge will affect your green card, you need to hire an immigration lawyer. Immigration lawyers specialize in these types of cases and can argue your case to get the charges dismissed or reduced to reckless driving. Since reckless driving charges do not come with the same green card consequences as a DUI, reducing your charges is an effective way to prevent immigration issues.

The qualified lawyers at De Castroverde are experts at handling these types of cases and can help keep your green card out of danger. Our team of immigration lawyers can prepare you for your court date while developing strategies that minimize the risk to your legal status. Because we understand the legal ramification that a DUI conviction can have on legal aliens, we know what it takes to keep our clients safe.

This was just a brief overview of how DUI charges can affect your green card. If you aren’t sure how the facts of your case compared to these legal guidelines, then contact one of the legal professionals at De Castroverde Criminal & Immigration Lawyers today. Our team is waiting to get you the help you need to keep you and your family in the country.