Immigration Consequences of a DUI
In addition to serious criminal penalties and loss of driving privileges, DUI can have immigration consequences. A conviction could harm your immigration status or future prospects. Under certain circumstances, a DUI on your record could cause problems with admissibility or lead to deportation. For these and other reasons, it is important to aggressively defend against DUI charges.
How Does Colorado Evaluate Immigration Status With DUIs?
Most first and second DUIs are charged as misdemeanors in Colorado. A third DUI with no aggravating factors may also be charged as a misdemeanor. For permanent residents with green cards, a misdemeanor will not normally lead to deportation. However, when driving under the influence is charged as felony, it may trigger removal proceedings. This may be the case for a fourth DUI, or if another person is seriously injured or killed in a drunk driving accident.
What Are the Potential Immigration Consequences of DUI?
A DUI can make it difficult to obtain a visa or green card. Under U.S. immigration laws, being convicted of a crime of moral turpitude makes a person ineligible for admission into the country. A crime of moral turpitude can be broadly defined as an act that is immoral or depraved or violates the basic duties we owe to our fellow man. Although DUI is not normally considered a crime or moral turpitude, it may be if there are aggravating factors. Also, a person with more than one DUI on his or her criminal record may be considered a habitual drunkard and denied admission.
Green card holders can be deported for DUI if:
- The offense was drug-related – driving under the influence of a controlled substance
- Too many prior misdemeanor convictions exist on the person’s criminal record
- The charge is felony DUI
If DUI is accompanied by violent conduct, immigration officials may take action to deport the defendant. Once an immigration judge orders removal from the country, it may be difficult or impossible to return to the United States.
What Penalties Are You Facing with a DUI?
In addition to immigration consequences, you may be facing criminal and administrative penalties with DUI charges.
Severity of criminal penalties will depend on how many prior DUIs, if any, you have on your record. DUI convictions carry the following penalties in Colorado:
- First DUI: Five days to one year in jail (no mandatory jail time), up to two years of probation, fines of $600 to $1,000, and 48 to 96 hours of public service.
- Second DUI: Mandatory 10 days and up to two years in jail, probation for two to four years, fines of $600 to $1,500, and 48 to 120 hours public service. If the second DUI offense occurred within five years of the first offense, the mandatory 10 days of jail time must be consecutive.
- Third or subsequent DUI: Mandatory 160 consecutive days and up to two years of jail time, fines of $600 to $1,500, and 48 to 120 hours of public service.
In addition to jail time, fines, and community service, a DUI can mean loss of your driving privileges. Administrative penalties will depend on any prior DUI convictions and how many points are on your driving record. For a first DUI conviction, your driver’s license is suspended or revoked for 9 months. For a second DUI within a five-year period, you lose your license for one year. For a third or subsequent DUI, your license is suspended or revoked for two years.
Our Grand Junction DUI attorneys at Peters & Nolan, LLC have resolved thousands of DUI cases. We have multiple certifications and know all the procedures and machines used in DUI stops. If you have been charged with DUI in Colorado, call us at (970) 243-4357 to find out how we can help.
Peters & Nolan, LLC is your ideal source for high quality legal representation throughout the state of Colorado. Known for being personable and responsive, attorneys Andrew J. Peters and Andrew Nolan are aggressive trial lawyers with an excellent record of trying and settling cases in criminal defense, DUI/DWAI and personal injury.
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