Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can lead to arrest, jail time, and severe financial penalties if convicted. These convictions can stay on your record and affect much more than your pocketbook and freedom for a period of time. If you were arrested, charged, and convicted with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol (DUI) in the state of Georgia, you may have some additional challenges regarding your immigration status as well as your pending immigration application.
If you are not an actual citizen of the United States, you may have what is known as a green card, which allows you to work in the United States legally. A first offense DUI will likely not impact your current green card status. However, if you are an undocumented worker and you receive any type of penalty that includes jail time, there is a more significant risk that you will receive notification from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to put you in removal proceedings from this country. Because your application will always request an update to include any criminal charges, the DUI conviction could affect a section of this called the “good moral character” requirement. If you are near a green card renewal period, you may want to visit with an attorney regarding how to avoid any possible jail time for your DUI, which could complicate your green card status.
Green Card Applications
If you are currently in the process of attempting to obtain a green card, you will need to answer questions regarding your criminal history. If you have a DUI on your record, this is considered part of your criminal history, and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has a great deal of discretion when it comes to approving or rejecting applications for green cards. Therefore, if your particular USCIS official makes the determination that your DUI will count against your “good moral character” or that somehow your DUI included reckless endangerment (manslaughter, hit and run, etc.) they have the full right and authority to deny your green card application. One DUI could remove your ability to stay in this country legally and make you permanently ineligible for residency through a green card in the United States.
Contact an Experienced Defense Attorney
If you were arrested and charged with a DUI, you should immediately contact an experienced attorney to help you get your charges dismissed or at least reduced in order to avoid any type of challenges to your immigration status or your immigration application. Make sure your legal rights are protected. Contact an attorney who has experience with this type of law and can help you build a strong defense. The attorneys at Lankford & Moore Law can help ensure that you receive proper representation regarding your DUI so that it has a minimal impact on your green card status or application.