In many cases a conviction for DUI or DWI will not result in your being placed in removal proceedings or being deported. However, in some cases a DUI or DWI conviction can lead to removal proceedings and you could be deported. This is particularly true if there are aggravating factors: driving without a license, driving with a suspended license or multiple convictions. If you are not a citizen and have been arrested for DUI or DWI, you should consider consulting with an immigration attorney in addition to your criminal defense attorney. Your immigration attorney can work with your criminal defense attorney to help ensure that you get the best possible result from your case while also minimizing the immigration consequences of the conviction.
You should also keep in mind that in many cases an arrest for DUI or DWI will bring you to the attention of ICE. If ICE finds that you are not in a lawful status or that you are removable for some other reason, ICE may then place you in removal proceedings and try to deport you. As a result, even though you may not be deported for DUI or DWI, the arrest may be what leads to your deportation for some other reason.
Other Immigration Consequences of a DUI or DWI Conviction
You may also face other immigration consequences if you are convicted of DUI or DWI:
- If you are placed in removal proceedings for some other reason, a DUI or DWI conviction may lead to your being detained while you are in removal proceedings. Basically, because of your conviction, you may spend weeks or months in jail while you fight being deported.
- You should also keep in mind that many forms of relief from removal/deportation are based on the discretion of the immigration judge. Although a DUI or DWI conviction alone may not be enough to convince the judge not to exercise discretion in your favor, the judge will be aware of the conviction when making her decision.
- A pattern of DUI or DWI convictions may lead ICE to examine whether you have an alcohol or drug related problem, and therefore could limit your immigration options.
A DUI or DWI conviction is a serious matter. Even though you may not be deported for the conviction, you may still face other immigration consequences if convicted. If you would like to speak with a DC immigration lawyer or an immigration lawyer in Northern Virginia about your situation, please contact the Schaefer Law Firm or call (202) 642-4529.