Green Card Holders Charged with DUI

By Jonathan Blecher on December 29, 2015

Considering the fact that Miami has a large and diverse population of green card holders, it makes sense why I get questions about the immigration consequences of a DUI.

For the purposes of this post, I am going to discuss what happens when a lawful permanent resident (green card holder) is arrested for DUI involving property damage.

Let’s say that you have a green card and you were recently arrested for DUI with property damage, however, the property damage was limited to your vehicle only (you hit a concrete guard rail).

This is your first DUI offense, and you were driving with a valid driver’s license at the time of the arrest, there were no passengers in the car with you, and no one was injured.

Would the DUI affect your immigration status? Will you be deported? You have a valid green card and you had no criminal record before the DUI arrest.

You know that a simple, misdemeanor DUI won’t subject you to deportation, but what about the property damage? Will you be deported now that you were in an accident, even though it only involved your vehicle?

Should you plead guilty or no contest?

What You Need to Know

It would be unwise to plead guilty or no contest without speaking to a DUI attorney first. The consequences of a DUI are serious, and they can affect everything from your insurance rates to your job, child custody, your credit score, and professional licenses, among other things.

While you should NOT get deported, there are other immigration consequences of a DUI, such as delays when you reapply. This has happened to many green card holders who were convicted of DUI.

Miami-Dade County does have a program for first offenders, which helps people avoid criminal prosecution. However, it’s likely that the accident, even a single-vehicle, will make you ineligible for this program.

Nevertheless, I have been very successful in referring clients to this program, even when they were otherwise ineligible. If you are facing DUI charges in Miami, you should contact me because I am familiar with the State Attorney’s Office policy in regards to the Back on Track Program.

Contact my Miami DUI defense firm to schedule a free criminal defense consultation!

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