Can a Miami DUI Affect Immigration & Travel?

By Jonathan Blecher on April 20, 2017

Miami is one of the most ethnically diverse cities in South Florida, let alone the nation, and that’s one of the beauties of our great city. Thousands of Miami’s residents came from countries, such as Cuba, Nicaragua, Honduras, Venezuela, Haiti, and Jamaica looking for a better life, and they found it. Being such a culturally-rich city, many of the people who are arrested for driving under the influence are concerned about how a DUI might affect their immigration status.

Common questions about DUI and immigration:

Will a DUI lead to deportation? Not usually, unless it was a drug-related DUI or a felony DUI. For example, a DUI would be a felony if someone else was seriously injured or killed in a drunk or drugged driving accident. If the situation is “questionable,” the issue of deportation would be decided by an immigration judge.

Can a DUI delay the naturalization process? It depends on the facts of the case. If there were “aggravating factors,” such as bodily injury or death, a huge accident that caused a lot of property damage, or if you had other criminal convictions on your record, a DUI can tip the scales and not in your favor. Essentially, the U.S. only wants to allow people of good moral character to become U.S. citizens, so almost any criminal record can be used against you.

Can a DUI bar a Green Card holder or a U.S. citizen from traveling abroad? It is possible. Each country has different requirements. Canada, for example, will typically prevent people with DUI convictions from entering its borders unless they obtain a waiver or their DUI is 10-years-old. Before you buy those nonrefundable airline tickets online, you should check with the country’s conditions about criminal convictions first.

Can a DUI abroad bar someone from entering the U.S.? A single DUI or DWI in another country should not prevent a foreign national from entering the U.S. However, multiple DUI convictions or a DUI, combined with other misdemeanor convictions can lead to a denial of entry into the U.S. Generally, simple assault, a single DUI, and disorderly conduct offenses do not bar immigrants from entering U.S. borders.

I hope this information answers your questions about DUI and immigration in Miami-Dade County. If you’re facing charges for a first DUI, the best way to prevent the immigration consequences is to avoid a conviction in the first place. You may be able to do this through the Back on Track Program. To learn more about this attractive option, I invite you to give me a call!

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