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Driving under the influence (“DUI”) is among the most common offenses in the United States. Every day in the state of Pennsylvania alone, dozens of people are arrested and charged with DUI. If you are a permanent resident, nonpermanent resident, or nonimmigrant visa holder and you have been arrested or convicted of a DUI, it is imperative that you are prepared to address a range of potential immigration consequences. If properly addressed, most DUI convictions on their own should not cause significant problems. However, it is important to have an experienced immigration attorney review your case.
An immigration attorney can help you address a DUI arrest or conviction to ensure that any possible immigration concerns are addressed properly. At Skinner Law Firm, we can advise and represent you on all drunk driving, drugged driving and immigration concerns—from the initial arrest through immigration court. Call us today at (610) 436-1410 to schedule a consultation.
A first offense DUI can have an impact on immigration status in one of two major ways. First, a green card holder convicted of a “crime involving moral turpitude” (“CIMT”) within five years of being admitted to the United States can be deported. Second, if any person is convicted of an aggravated felony at any time, he or she can also be deported. Depending on the circumstances of the case, our attorneys can assist you in preventing DUI charges from affecting your immigration status.
A Pennsylvania conviction for DUI is not an aggravated felony. Pennsylvania is one of the few states where multiple DUI convictions will not result in a felony charge. While the definition of a CIMT is vague, a simple DUI conviction likely does not fall under this category. However, if your case involves driving with a suspended license, minors, death, drugs or other serious factors, it may rise to the level of a CIMT. It is extremely important not to assume that your DUI case will not carry any immigration consequences.
It is always possible that any DUI arrest or conviction could bring you to the attention of immigration officials. Don’t assume that immigration officials will not get involved in your case. If you are arrested for DUI or have a previous DUI conviction, be sure to consult an attorney right away to know your rights and obligations under immigration law.
Anyone convicted of a “crime involving moral turpitude” is inadmissible into the United States. Additionally, any person convicted of a drug or prostitution offense, or multiple offenses where the combined prison sentences total more than five years, is inadmissible. If someone is inadmissible, he or she cannot obtain a visa or renew a green card.
When seeking a green card or visa to enter the country, you will be asked to disclose all criminal history. If you are unsure about a drunk driving offense, be sure to talk to a skilled immigration attorney about how to disclose a DUI offense. While a DUI conviction is unlikely to keep you from being admitted, it may bring more scrutiny to you from immigration officials. More importantly, you need to consult with an immigration attorney to be sure other factors in the case don’t make you inadmissible.
If you are a permanent resident, visa holder or without legal immigration status in Chester, Delaware or any surrounding county, it is important to obtain an attorney if arrested for DUI. The best way to avoid any potential immigration consequences is to avoid a conviction. In Pennsylvania, first-time drunk driving offenders are likely eligible for Alternative Rehabilitative Disposition (“ARD.”) A person who successfully completes ARD can have his or her DUI charges dismissed.
At Skinner Law Firm, we serve as both immigration lawyers and criminal defense lawyers. If you face charges for drunk driving in Chester, Delaware or in any other county, we can fight to get you into ARD or fight to get your charges reduced, dismissed or otherwise resolved without any further immigration consequences.
If you are a noncitizen facing a DUI charge, you will want the assistance of both a skilled criminal defense and immigration lawyer. Call today at (610) 436-1410 to set up a consultation regarding your particular case.