With the US immigration laws becoming stricter than ever, immigrants have to comply when applying for permanent residence status. Compliance here means being a law-abiding citizen.
A DUI conviction can affect your immigration status in various ways. So, while navigating a DUI case as an immigrant, contact DUI defense and immigration lawyers from Moffitt Law, LLC. We can help you explore your legal options as a US immigrant charged with a DUI.
DUI and Immigration Status in Georgia: An Overview
Operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated with alcohol or drugs is a punishable crime in Georgia. It carries more severe consequences on immigrants.
The Georgia Traffic and Vehicle Code highlights the laws on DUI. Under this law, you risk facing a DUI charge when arrested for driving with a blood alcohol concentration of over 0.08 in Georgia. The Georgia Department of Driver Services considers impaired driving a safety issue, whether it involves a car, motor boat, or motorbike.
DUI and Green Card Status
Does a DUI affect a green card application? For starters, applying for a green card and taking an exam takes some time.
As you wait for approval, it’s advisable not to engage in any criminal activity or have a criminal conviction. A conviction for an offense like DUI may ruin your credibility in the application.
If you already have Legal Permanent Resident Status (LPR or Green Card), your case may attract serious immigration consequences. One misdemeanor DUI won’t have serious consequences on your Immigration status. However, if certain aggravating factors formed part of your conviction, you risk losing your LPR status altogether.
Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude and Immigration Status
Crimes involving moral turpitude (CIMT) seriously affect a person’s immigration status. US courts define CIMTs as crimes that defy the morality rules and shock people’s consciences.
DUI crimes only qualify as CIMTs if they involve controlled substances like cocaine, methamphetamine, and marijuana. The court can also classify them as such if they involve aggravating factors like reckless child endangerment and driving with a suspended license.
Your green card status is on the line if convicted of a DUI offense that falls under crimes involving moral turpitude. The immigration authorities may also deport you for the same reason.
Deportable DUI Offenses
If a DUI offense makes you deportable, the immigration authorities will arrange for your removal from the country. But before this happens, you will face removal proceedings at an immigration court. You risk deportation if the court forbids you to re-enter the county or revokes your green card.
Offenses like CIMTs, violent crimes, and aggravated felonies usually have legal removal or deportation grounds. Crimes that involve controlled substances also qualify as deportable crimes.
Deportation is a possibility if you face a conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol/drugs with a child present in the vehicle. You may also face these consequences if the DUI charge involves controlled substances.
Inadmissibility to the US After a DUI
The unique circumstances that surround your DUI case can prevent you from getting back to the US if the government deports you. If you are deported, you can’t apply for a visa from your home country. It’s also difficult to attain permanent citizenship status, get permanent residence or green card and adjust your LPR status.
Convictions for crimes that involve moral turpitude usually have a higher risk of inadmissibility. Immigration authorities use them to justify their reasons for denying people entry to the US.
Hire a DUI Defense and Immigration Lawyer Today
Count on Moffitt Law, LLC for legal advice and representation on a DUI case with immigration consequences. We have an experienced lawyer skilled in both criminal defense and immigration law and is committed to protecting your rights within the legal process. Contact us today for a consultation on your case.
FAQs About DUI and Immigration Status
What happens when an immigration court summons you following a DUI charge?
If you’re a green card holder, an immigrant court can summon you once you get a DUI charge. During the proceedings, an immigration judge will determine whether your case has sufficient grounds for deportation.
What impact does a DUI have on an F1 student visa?
Being expelled from a school as a result of a DUI may affect a student’s ability to maintain enrollment in the visa program. A college or university that takes disciplinary action against a student with an F1 visa will also inform ICE.