Can I fix papers if I have a DUI?

Can I fix papers if I have a DUI?

A DUI (DWI, OUI, OWI, DWAI, depending on the state) can bring criminal penalties and driver’s license problems to all drivers; however, immigrants must face additional complications.

Therefore, if you live in the United States and you are a foreigner, it is very likely that you are wondering: Can I fix papers if I have a one? How does a it affect residency?

Keep reading, in this article we will answer these and other questions you may have about the consequences of a DUI.

When faced with a DUI, there are three areas that require different analysis and actions in order to resolve the situation in the best possible way:

  • Immigration Consequences
  • Judicial process, which implies both sanctions and sentences
  • Administrative process involving license revocation/suspension by the Bureau of Licensing or the Department of Motor Vehicles.


Read also: What is motor vehicle registration (MVR)?

Can I fix papers if I have a DUI?

One of the questions most frequently asked by foreigners who have been discovered by the authorities driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is:

if I have a DUI, can I fix papers? However, the answer to this question is not as simple as many believe.

It depends on several factors, such as immigration status, the phase of the immigration process where the foreigner is, or whether or not there are previous violations.

For example, an undocumented immigrant who is arrested for it could be immediately deported.

But if it is a driver who legally resides in the United States and obtains a single DUI, it is likely that he will not be deported;

since the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) does not consider the DUI by itself as a crime. deportable.

Now, if the conviction is accompanied by other charges, the foreigner’s immigration status can be greatly affected, and he or she could even be deported, regardless of his or her immigration status.

Before delving into the subject, we will clarify what a DUI is.

What is a DUI in the United States?

DUI stands for Driving under the influence, it is the charge that applies to people who drive a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Depending on the US state, this crime may also be known as DWI, OUI, OWI, DWAI, or a similar term.

If you get a DUI, you will receive some type of sentence (such as fines, community service, or even jail time) and your driver’s license will likely be suspended or revoked.

Also, if you are a foreigner, you may have to face complications related to your immigration status.

When can a DUI be grounds for inadmissibility or expulsion?

The type of immigration procedures an immigrant goes through makes a big difference to the consequences of a conviction.

For example, if the person seeks adjustment of status to acquire permanent residence, the person’s application may be denied.

Similarly, a person applying for naturalization could be considered to have a bad moral character.

On the other hand, a person who has not gone through an immigration process can be removed from the United States immediately after a DUI.

Moral turpitude

Under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), a non-citizen can be deported from the United States if convicted of a crime of moral turpitude .

However, if a person is convicted of multiple misdemeanor or felony DUIs, this offense is not usually considered moral turpitude.

For a DUI to be considered a crime of moral turpitude, it must contain other elements, such as driving knowing that his license is expired or suspended, for example.

What's the difference between DUI and DWAI in Colorado?

Read also: Tips to clean your driving record

Serious felony

Additionally, the Immigration and Nationality Act provides that a non-citizen can be deported from the United States if convicted of a felony.

This is defined as a crime of violence that carries a prison sentence of one year or more. For some time, there was disagreement as to whether a DUI charge could be considered a felony.

However, in 2004, the Leocal v. Ashcroft in the United States Supreme Court and the justices ruled that a DUI violation is not a crime of violence and is not a felony.

This ruling occurred despite the fact that the non-citizen received a sentence of more than one year.

How does a DUI affect residency?

The immigration consequences of a DUI can be quite complicated when they also involve:

Drugs: A DUI involving the use of illegal substances can drastically change a driver’s immigration landscape, as drug-related offenses are grounds for deportation or visa denial under the INA.

This means that the use of any prohibited substance can negatively affect the immigration status of the foreigner.

Driving with a suspended driver’s license:

Criminal intent is not presumed in a DUI, but if you drive knowing your license has been revoked or suspended, the law will consider it a criminal act since you knew it was illegal and still did it .

In this case you may have to assume consequences such as deportation. However, the reason for deportation will be the driving on a suspended license, not the DUI itself.

DUI with a minor in the vehicle: If you are charged with a DUI with a child in the vehicle, the legal situation is more complicated.

In this case, it can be considered that you are putting the life of the minor at risk and you could be deported.

When a DUI involves a controlled substance conviction, it can be grounds for ruling an immigrant inadmissible or removable.

This can occur when the person was under the influence of drugs and not just alcohol at the time of arrest.

However, an important note is that the offense should be construed as a controlled substance conviction under federal law, not state law.

State-defined controlled substances may be different than those on the federal list. The conviction record can point to the substance involved.

Immigration attorneys generally advise their clients to avoid accepting a guilty plea under the controlled substances law and requesting that alcohol be included on the conviction record.

Alcoholism tests

The Immigration and Nationality Act also provides that a non-citizen may be declared inadmissible or removed if there is evidence of alcoholism.

Although a single DUI conviction is probably not strong enough to raise this inference, multiple DUI convictions can be used to prove it.

Similarly, a DUI conviction resulting in bodily injury may also be considered as evidence that the individual has a dangerous health condition that constitutes a medical ground of inadmissibility.

This is the case when the individual’s physical or mental disorder causes a threat to the property, safety, or welfare of the individual or others.

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Read also: Professional travel car insurance: how does it work?

Good moral character

Individuals applying for citizenship must undergo a naturalization interview.

The Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services may take into account any criminal convictions in determining whether an applicant for citizenship is of good moral character.

Additionally, if the conviction caused the individual to be placed on probation, he or she will not be eligible to naturalize until their probation has ended.

However, the individual may apply after he has completed his probation.

If the person’s good moral character, her rehabilitation, and other positive factors are shown, the person can overcome the discretionary conclusion that he lacks good moral character.

For example, the applicant may show that a significant period of time has passed without further incident, a stable work history, and a single conviction demonstrate good moral character.

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