Lawful Permanent Residents & DUI
Florida is home to a high volume of immigrants, many of which come from the Caribbean. More than one in five Florida residents is an immigrant, while one in eight residents are native-born U.S. citizens with at least one immigrant parent, reported by the American Immigration Council.
These statistics demonstrate the crucial role immigrants play in Florida’s social and economic life.Unfortunately, having a green card does not protect immigrants from removal proceedings. If a green card holder is convicted of DUI in Florida, an immigration judge could rule against them, meaning they could be deported from the U.S. and barred from reentering for several years.
Thus, it’s important for immigrants to learn how a DUI charge can affect their green card, or lawful permanent resident, status.
What Is DUI?
Florida has some of the toughest laws in the nation, and DUI is no exception. DUI refers to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In Florida, it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration of .08% or higher. The consequences of a DUI conviction can be even more severe for someone who has U.S. permanent resident status, or someone who is in the U.S. illegally.
Aggravating factors are circumstances that increase the severity or culpability of a crime, meaning they must be avoided at all costs. These factors can lead to a felony conviction, which can make an immigrant deportable immediately.
Multiple DUI convictions, child endangerment, DUI with injury and DUI manslaughter are all examples of aggravating factors that immigration authorities will consider when deciding whether a DUI conviction is grounds for deportation.
Classes of Deportable Immigrants
Immigrants who are lawful permanent residents can be at risk for deportation if they are charged with criminal offenses including, but not limited to:
- Multiple criminal convictions
- Aggravated felonies
- Certain firearm offenses
- Certain controlled substance violations
- Crimes of domestic violence, stalking, or violation of protection order, crimes against children
Crimes of moral turpitude: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) describe
crimes involving moral turpitude (CIMT) as conduct that shocks the public conscience as being inherently base,
vile or depraved. The four general categories of CIMT are:
- Crimes Against a Person
- Crimes Against Property
- Sexual and Family Crimes
- Crimes Against Authority of the Government
Retain a Miami DUI Lawyer to Protect Your Rights
The outcome of your DUI and immigration cases will depend on your individual circumstances and any previous criminal convictions. Even if you are not deported, leaving the U.S. with a DUI accusation can pose another set of problems under the laws addressing the grounds of inadmissibility, which could prevent you from reentering the U.S.
If you’re a non-U.S. citizen facing DUI charges, please don’t attempt to handle your case on your own. Although I’m not an immigration lawyer, as an experienced Miami DUI defense attorney, I can review your DUI case and suggest how your immigration status may be impacted, and aggressively defend your right to remain in the United States. Always consult an expert immigration lawyer before making any decisions about your case.
Call Jonathan Blecher, P.A. at (305) 330-1976 to begin discussing your legal options during a free consultation!