A conviction for driving under the influence (DUI) can have numerous consequences for your life. You may be fined and incarcerated. Your license could be suspended. A conviction can also be placed on your criminal record for up to 10 years.
You may decide to apply for a green card within this 10-year period. You can use this article to find out if a DUI will affect your green card application. The Simmrin Law Group can help you focus on how the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) agency handles DUI offenses.
DUI Convictions and Green Card Applications
You should know that some DUI convictions will not negatively impact your green card application in the U.S. The USCIS has set forth a number of crimes that will make you inadmissible to the U.S. and therefore unable to receive a green card. These acts include:
- Crimes involving controlled substances
- Crimes of moral turpitude (CMTs)
- At least two crimes that led to incarceration of more than five years
Most DUI charges do not fall into the above categories, meaning that you may be able to secure a green card even with a DUI conviction on your record.
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Exceptions for Serious DUI Charges
While DUI charges are not generally enough to derail your green card application, this is not always the case. Some DUI charges are treated more seriously by the court system. You may be unable to secure a green card if, in addition to a DUI, you were convicted of:
- Reckless endangerment
- A hit-and-run
- Drinking with a minor in your vehicle
Additionally, if you have multiple convictions for DUIs on your record, you will have a more difficult time applying for a green card.
DUIs and Good Moral Character
The USCIS doesn’t look only at the facts of your charges when considering a green card application. The agency also considers whether your record demonstrates good moral character. Officially, individuals may be denied a green card for many reasons. For example, you could face serious issues with your green card application if you:
- Are considered a habitual drunkard
- Committed aggravated felonies
- Were incarcerated for more than 180 days
These are only examples of behaviors that do not demonstrate good moral character. The USCIS can look many years into your record when considering a green card application. Keep this in mind when you apply for a green card.
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Renewing Your Green Card with DUI Convictions
You can face a legal challenge when both applying for an initial green card and when renewing your green card. In both of these situations, you are legally required to report all criminal charges and convictions on your record.
If you were charged and convicted of a DUI while in the U.S. with a green card, you must report these crimes. In many cases, they may not be enough to result in your removal from the country. However, they could count against your good moral character, making it more difficult to renew your green card.
Additionally, a DUI conviction in California can work against you if you wish to apply for permanent citizenship in the U.S. However, you can demonstrate that you do have good moral character after a DUI conviction by demonstrating the ways that you have changed your life since your conviction.
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Handling DUI Charges in the State of California
You can protect your residence status in the U.S. by getting professional help with DUI charges. DUI charges will not count against you if they are dismissed by the court system, or if a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles wins your case in court.
The professionals at the Simmrin Law Group are here to help you right now. Our DUI lawyers in Los Angeles understand what it takes to help clients in your situation. We can:
- Stand up for you during legal interviews
- Investigate your case thoroughly
- Ensure police officers respect your rights
- Work to get your charges dismissed
- Assess any plea bargains you are offered by prosecutors
- Defend you in the courtroom
Make sure you treat a DUI accusation in Los Angeles seriously by contacting us right now to get help.
Speak to a Los Angeles DUI Lawyer About Your Green Card Application
DUIs can impact your green card application in some circumstances. Fortunately, the Simmrin Law Group can help you take on DUI accusations head-on. Get in contact with our DUI lawyers in Los Angeles now by completing our online contact form or calling (310) 997-4688.
You can get a FREE consultation about your legal options right now from our criminal defense lawyers.