Being able to build a life in America is a dream come true for many people from all over the world. Immigrants have made the U.S. a thriving melting pot of vibrant cultures and have influenced our economy, art, food, music, and much more. Those with a green card have permanent residence in the country, but unfortunately, many live in fear that they could one day be deported.
In the current political climate, deportation is a tangible threat. But committing a crime could always increase your risk of losing a green card. If you’ve been accused of a DUI and are not a U.S. citizen, you’re probably wondering whether you could face deportation due to your DUI. The answer, as it turns out, isn’t straightforward.
Is a DUI grounds for deportation from the U.S.?
A conviction for driving under the influence in and of itself is not grounds for deportation, but it’s still possible to be deported for this offense if you’re convicted of a DUI with aggravating factors. Aggravating factors for DUI may include:
- Having a child in the car at the time of the DUI stop
- Having a BAC of 0.15 or higher
- Causing property damage in a DUI accident
- Causing minor injuries in a DUI accident
Even though DUI is a misdemeanor offense, an aggravated DUI conviction could catch the attention of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. They might conclude that you committed a crime of moral turpitude (CMT), which is sufficient for deportation if committed within 5 years of entering the country if the original conviction carries a possible sentence of one year. If you already have a CMT on your record, a second one could make you deportable regardless of how long you’ve been in the U.S.
A felony DUI conviction may be grounds for deportation. Felony DUI covers many scenarios involving drinking and driving, like:
- DUI manslaughter
- DUI with serious bodily injury
- Your third DUI within 10 years
- Your fourth DUI
A green card holder could also face the possibility of deportation for a drug-related DUI and having a prior marijuana possession conviction. Other crimes that could result in the revocation of a green card are:
- Sexual assault
- Crimes of domestic violence
- Human trafficking
- Theft crimes
- Drug crimes
- Fraud crimes
For a complete list of offenses that may make an immigrant deportable, review Statute §1227 of the U.S. Code.
Can I be deported after my first DUI conviction?
A first-time DUI with no aggravating factors is a first-degree misdemeanor crime and is not sufficient for deportation. However, that’s not to say you can’t face penalties for DUI. If you’re convicted of DUI for the first time and there were no aggravating factors, you could increase your risk of deportation the second time you’re found guilty of a criminal offense. Other potential penalties for DUI in Florida include:
- A fine of up to $1,000
- A jail sentence of up to 1 year
- Community service
- Driver’s license suspension
- Vehicle impoundment
As a permanent resident, it’s in your best interest to seek legal counsel immediately after a DUI arrest in West Palm Beach or anywhere in the Sunshine State.
Defending DUI and Alcohol Charges for More Than 25 Years
At The Law Office of Gabriel & Gabriel, our firm has defended DUI charges in Palm Beach and the surrounding areas for more than 25 years. Attorney Brian P. Gabriel has extensive experience seeking justice for those facing DUI, whether it’s their first or fourth in the state. The State of Florida treats DUI offenses seriously. As a green card holder, we understand this may be an uncertain time. You can trust our firm to provide competent and personal representation throughout the entire criminal process.
Brian Gabriel is well-known in Palm Beach County for challenging the results of the Intoxilyzer 8000, the state-approved breath test machine. He understands the science behind breath tests and will look for weaknesses in the State’s case against you. Often, we find police officers didn’t follow the proper procedure for conducting a DUI stop and arresting a suspect, and in many cases, we’re able to seek a dismissal of all charges. Find out how we can help by calling 561-622-5575 for a free consultation or complete our contact form.