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Getting a Green Card If You’ve Been Convicted of a DUI

Drew Duncan
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Partner at Zimmer, Duncan and Cole, LLP

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Being convicted of a DUI can significantly impact your life. This is especially true for people living temporarily in the United States who must apply for a green card to live here permanently. A DUI conviction will not necessarily prevent a person from getting a green card, but it may make it harder.

When a DUI Can Hurt a Green Card Application

One DUI conviction may not negatively impact a green card application. However, if the DUI was committed with another crime, the person could face problems. Situations where a DUI could make a person inadmissible for a green card include:

  • The DUI also involved reckless driving or the use of illegal drugs.
  • The DUI involved driving with a child in the vehicle.
  • The DUI involved someone being injured.
  • The DUI involved driving without a valid driver’s license.

In addition, when a person applies for a green card, he will be asked if he has ever been “arrested, charged, indicted, convicted, fined, or imprisoned for breaking any law or ordinance, excluding traffic violations.” Conviction of certain crimes makes a person inadmissible for a green card. A person is considered convicted if he pled guilty or nolo contendere or if the conviction was suspended. A person will most likely be ineligible for a green card if the following applies to his situation:

  • He was convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude (immorality).
  • He has committed two or more crimes of any sort, with a combined sentence of five years or more.
  • He has been convicted of certain crimes, such as prostitution or selling drugs.

If you have been charged with a DUI and need to apply for a green card or are trying to apply for citizenship, it is critical that you discuss the DUI and your immigration status with an experienced criminal defense attorney. He may also refer you to an immigration attorney.

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Category: Criminal Defense


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