While there is usually nothing inherently wrong with enjoying a beer or cocktail, driving after consuming alcohol may land you in legal hot water. In fact, operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration above 0.08% violates Colorado law. If you do so, you face stiff penalties.
You may not realize, though, that a DUI conviction may harm your immigration status or prospects. Accordingly, you should understand the immigration consequences of a DUI arrest, conviction or plea. Here are two potential possibilities:
Sometimes, a DUI can make obtaining a visa or green card difficult or impossible. According to U.S. immigration law, if you have committed a crime of moral turpitude, you are typically ineligible for admission to the United States. Fortunately, a run-of-the-mill DUI is not typically a crime involving moral turpitude.
If your DUI has aggravating factors, though, you may have committed one. Similarly, if you have more than one DUI on your record, immigration authorities may consider you to be a habitual drunkard. This is a separate yet equally troubling ground of inadmissibility.
While certain conduct renders an individual inadmissible to the United States, other conduct may result in your deportation. This is true whether you have a green card, a visa, temporary protected status or no status at all. Significantly, committing an aggravated felony usually makes someone deportable. While a single, garden-variety DUI probably does not rise to the level of aggravated felony, some factors may make it such.
Furthermore, if you couple your DUI with violent conduct, immigration officials may argue that you should not remain in the country. Unfortunately, if an immigration judge orders your removal, ever returning to the United States may become exceedingly difficult.
Criminal law and immigration law are both complex. Therefore, you may need to ask for legal assistance from two or more attorneys. Still, you should have a general idea of the immigration consequences that may stem from a DUI arrest, conviction or plea. If you want to avoid them, you must aggressively defend yourself against DUI charges.