Any criminal charge may adversely affect immigration status in the United States. Although immigrating itself is by no means easy, a DUI arrest and possible conviction stand to complicate this already difficult process. During an arrest, the suspect (regardless of citizenship status) will have his or her fingerprints and photograph entered into a national database, which goes on the individual's permanent record and will materialize whenever a background check is done. For citizens, the concern is usually prospective employers or academic institutions who may be inclined to view a DUI conviction extremely negative. For those whose immigration status is still up in the air, the concern is the impact this will have when an immigration officer reviews his or her application for an immigration benefit, including work authorization, asylum, naturalization, visa renewal, green card, or adjustment of status.
The most dangerous consequence of a DUI conviction for some immigration applicants may be the denial of re-entrance to the United States. Dependent on the nature of the crime, the existence of a prior criminal record, and the person's current place in the immigration process, consequences may include deportation and denial of citizenship. These are not guarantees, rather they are possibilities after a DUI conviction. However, a DUI resulting in vehicular homicide will categorically result in an immigrant's inadmissibility to the United States.
Section 101(a)(48) of the Immigration and Nationality Act defines the term "conviction" with respect to a non-citizen as follows:
- a formal judgment of guilt entered by a court, or if adjudication of guilt has been withheld, where a judge or jury has found the alien guilty or the alien has entered a plea of guilty or nolo contendere or has admitted sufficient facts to warrant a finding of guilt; and
- the judge has ordered some form of punishment, penalty, or restraint on the alien's liberty to be imposed.
If your Fulton County DUI attorney can successfully argue that your specific offense does not meet the definition of conviction set about here, it could thwart the potential consequences for an immigrant after a DUI.
Can an Immigrant Be Denied Admission to the United States for a Pre-existing DUI Conviction?
Those who have been convicted of driving under the influence prior to an attempt to gain admission into the United States may be denied on account of a DUI conviction if there was an aggravating factor. Aggravating factors include the presence of a minor in the vehicle, a BAC limit two or more times the legal limit, multiple convictions on record, or a DUI while driving on a suspended license or excessive speed.
Fulton County DUI Attorney
In order to protect the progress you have made in the immigration process, it is critical that you combat your DUI charges from the moment they are leveled against you. A skilled Fulton County DUI attorney will be able to scrutinize the details of your arrest and identify issues with the prosecution's case against you. If you are an immigrant who has been charged with drunk driving in Fulton County, immediately contact a Fulton County DUI attorney to review your case.