Will a Felony DUI Lead to Removal Proceedings?

By Jonathan Blecher on August 23, 2019

One thing about Miami is it has a diverse population. With a rich culture, Miami is home to many different people from various countries. This diversity of cultures gives Miami it’s incredible “flavor,” especially when it comes to music, languages, art, ethnic food, and immigrant-owned business in Miami-Dade County.

Since Miami is home to so many immigrants, particularly from Latin America, it makes sense why a large percentage of DUI defendants would have concerns about deportation, which is now called “removal proceedings” under US immigration law. Can a visa or Green Card holder be placed in removal proceedings for a Florida DUI? Or, does it have to be a felony for it to trigger removal proceedings? Read on as I explain this issue in detail.

When DUI Leads to Deportation

A misdemeanor DUI conviction does not necessarily lead to deportation, but it depends on the facts of the case. If it’s the immigrant’s first DUI offense and they do not have a criminal history, and no one was injured or killed, the DUI should not lead to removal proceedings.

In some situations, a DUI can affect a person’s immigration status. When does this occur? Usually a DUI triggers removal proceedings under these circumstances:

  • It is a felony DUI;
  • It is a drug-related DUI offense;
  • The Green Card holder has a previous drug conviction; OR
  • The offender seriously injured or killed someone while driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

When is a DUI a felony in Florida? A DUI is typically a felony when it is the offender’s fourth DUI offense, or when they cause serious bodily injury or death to someone else as a direct result of driving under the influence.

Next: What Should I Avoid Saying During a DUI Stop?

I sincerely hope this post cleared up any questions that you had about DUI and immigration. If you are facing DUI charges in Miami, I encourage you to contact my firm to schedule a free case evaluation. I would be happy to review your case and help you better understand what to expect considering your circumstances.

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