Can I be deported for DUI / DWI?

Can I be deported for DUI / DWI?Can You Be Deported For DUI or DWI Convictions? If you are not a citizen, one of your first questions if you are arrested or convicted of a DUI or DWI will likely be “Will I be deported?”

A DUI or DWI conviction will not always result in removal proceedings or being deported. But, there are some cases where a DUI or DWI conviction can lead to removal proceedings and you could be deported. For example, this may be true if there are aggravating factors such as driving without a license, driving with a suspended license or having multiple convictions. If you are not a citizen and are concerned about being deported for a DWI, you should consider consulting with a immigration attorney in addition to your DWI defense attorney. Your immigration attorney can work with your criminal defense attorney to help ensure that you get the best possible result from your case while also minimizing the immigration consequences of the conviction and any risk that you will be deported for a DUI or DWI conviction.

You could still face immigration consequences even if you are not convicted of a DUI or DWI or if your DUI or DWI conviction does not make you deportable. In many cases an arrest for DUI or DWI will bring you to the attention of ICE. If ICE finds that you are not in a lawful status or that you are removable for some other reason, you may be placed in removal proceedings so that the government can deport you. As a result, even though you may not be deported for your DUI or DWI, the arrest may be what leads to your deportation for some other reason.

Deported for DUI and Other Immigration Consequences of a DUI or DWI Conviction

You may face other immigration consequences if you are convicted of DUI or DWI:

  • If you are placed in removal proceedings for some other reason, a DUI or DWI conviction may lead to your being detained while you are in removal proceedings. Basically, because of your conviction, you may spend weeks or months in jail while you fight being deported.
  • Your DUI or DWI conviction may make it more difficult to obtain an immigration bond if you are detained by ICE or it may result in a significantly higher bond amount.
  • You should also keep in mind that many forms of relief from removal/deportation are based on the discretion of the immigration judge. Although a DUI or DWI conviction alone may not be enough to convince the judge not to exercise discretion in your favor, the judge will be aware of the conviction when making her decision.
  • A pattern of DUI or DWI convictions may lead immigration officers reviewing any future immigration applications to examine whether you have an alcohol or drug related problem, and therefore could limit your immigration options.

A DUI or DWI conviction is a serious matter. Even though you may not be deported for the conviction, you may still face other immigration consequences if convicted. Even if you’ve only been arrested for a DWI, you could still face immigration consequences in the future. Make sure that you understand your options if you’ve been arrested for a DWI.

About Kimberley Schaefer

Kimberley Schaefer is an immigration lawyer with client meeting locations in Boise, ID and Reston, Virginia. She helps future Americans become citizens by assisting them with immigrant visas, fiance visas, adjustment of status and green card applications, applying for immigration waivers, fighting deportation and applying for asylum. To contact her, you can call (208) 918-0852 or send Kimberley an email now.

Comments

  1. A friend of mine has a DWI case with an alledged alcohol reading of 0.23. He is being tried for felony because he had a child of 7 years old in the car at time of arrest. Will this amount to an aggravated DWI that would lead to a deportation even if there is no previous criminal records? There was no accident or bodily harm to his child and wife who were in the car. My coleague’s immigration status is G4 visa.

    • kschaefer says:

      The only way to properly assess the immigration consequences of a criminal conviction is to review the actual court documents and the particular statute that is involved. Your friend needs to ensure that his criminal defense lawyer understands his immigration status. After all, his criminal defense lawyer can’t help protect his immigration status if the lawyer doesn’t know that it is an issue. Your friend should also consult with an immigration lawyer as soon as possible so that he can get a detailed evaluation of his situation.

Comment Policy: Do you have a comment about this article? Your comments will be visible to everyone and are appropriate for general questions about immigration issues. Have a specific question about your case that you'd like to ask privately as part of a consultation? Please use the contact form instead.


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  1. [...] legal permanent resident, you might be concerned about being able to get your citizenship or other immigration consequences of a Virginia DWI conviction.  Those are both very important concerns and it’s a good thing that you’re thinking [...]

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