How does a DUI affect immigration status?

If you are an undocumented aka an illegal immigrant any type of alcohol related driving charge 99.9% of the time leads to you getting kicked out of the country. If you’re in the US appropriately one alcohol charge will not get you kicked out…most of the time. Yet, multiple DUIs means you run the risk of deportation. The regulations for deporting immigrants is found in the INA or the Immigration & Nationality Act, which, at this point does not really list a DUI as a crime that an individual can be deported on.

Any driving under the influence charge when added with any other criminal conduct will negatively impact your ability to stay in the United States AKA = deportation for you. Such charges can also negatively impact immigration applications.

Your Status:

The INA’s total determination is dependent on criminal intent.  No criminal intent = no immediate  deportation. Any pleas in court other than innocent will be considered criminal intent and immigration status will now be suspect.

  1. Drug DUI Penalties. In a majority of states DUI penalties are generally the same regardless, if it was alcohol, drugs, or any other illegal substance. The INA itself lists drug crimes as a means for a denial of a green card, a visa, and for deportation. Drugs + DUI = High chance of deportation.


  1. Uh oh you drove on an inactive license. If you are driving after your license has been suspended you are considered to be breaking the law as soon as you start driving the vehicle. If you knew the action was illegal and you still acted, on it the court views it as established criminal intent. Suspended License + DUI = High Chance of deportation.


  1. DUI + Minor in the vehicle.  You guessed it. Child Endangerment in the U.S = immigration problems. Federal government will get involved whenever it can if it determines a child is in danger. In many cases, a DUI will cause an immigration application to hit deferred status, or your protection under DACA (Deferred Action For Child Arrivals) to be rejected.

DUIS and Immigration Overall:

When it comes to duis and immigration you should always contact a DUI attorney before making any decisions. You should also understand what your DUI attorney actually does. If this is your first DUI you should understand the process as well. If you are ever in such a situation again you should know exactly what to do when your pulled over by the police. If you need help about explaining your DUI on a job application we have an article that should give you some information on how to do so.

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