How does a DUI affect immigration status? Part 1

Contrary to popular belief, a felony conviction or arrest does not mean you are automatically subject to deportation. To be sure, it isn’t ideal. However, it isn’t the end of the world. A DUI results when you are arrested and charged with operating a vehicle (any vehicle, motorcycle, car or truck) while under the influence of alcohol. The police can determine you are under the effect by administering the field sobriety test or subjecting you to a Breathalyzer test (usually both are done).

If it is your first offense, it is typically a misdemeanor unless there are mitigating circumstances to warrant an increase to a felony, for example, if someone was injured or there was substantial property damage. Many people believe that a felony conviction or arrest could result in your being deported.

But, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) reviews DUI convictions as one factor among many. The USCIS considers the nature of the offense, presence of prior offenses, and other factors. Typically, deportation for a conviction is reserved for felony convictions, like aggravated or violent crimes.

But a criminal conviction could alter your immigration status.

As you can see, a criminal charge can implicate more than just your criminal record. Felony convictions can implicate your immigration status, imperial professional licenses, and business licenses. It is, therefore, critical if you are facing these charges to speak to an experienced defense attorney as soon as possible to secure effective representation. You don’t want to risk your freedom and future.