Any criminal conviction may affect the status of an immigrant in the United States. When a person is arrested, his or her fingerprints and photographs are taken and registered in the national database. The arrest record a permanent record and it will be referenced for any applications, including work authorization, visa renewal, asylum, adjustment of status, naturalization, or admission into the United States. A criminal conviction may lead to a denial of reentry into the United States, or removal or deportation from the United States.
The Supreme Court in Leocal v. Ashcroft, found that neither a misdemeanor nor a felony DUI resulting from multiple convictions is considered a crime involving moral turpitude for immigration purposes. The Court also held that that a DUI was not a "crime of violence," and, thus, not an aggravated felony, even if the immigrant is sentenced to imprisonment to more than 365 days.
The Supreme Court reached the right decision, but failed to address other offenses where there is no specific intent to commit an offense, which can lead to unfair repercussions for immigrants. Although some courts have suggested that an offense of recklessness should not be classified as a crime of violence, the Supreme Court failed to address this issue, leading to devastating consequences for some immigrants. As a result, being convicted of other statutes, such as child endangerment, reckless driving, or manslaughter, in the commission of a DUI can be a crime of moral turpitude.
Although a DUI conviction may not automatically lead to deportation, multiple convictions may cause other problems. For instances, a person that has multiple convictions of DUI may show evidence of alcoholism, which may be grounds for inadmissibility or removal. INS may consider any criminal conviction to determine good moral character for purposes of an application for naturalization.
Because DUIs can have cause irreparable damage, it is important to hire an experienced DUI attorney. We regularly represent immigrants in DUI cases and we will work with your immigration attorney to minimize the negative impact of the DUI conviction on your immigration record. Contact us today to discuss your case for free.