Are you a lawful permanent resident (Green Card holder) who is facing criminal charges for driving under the influence (DUI)? If so, you may be wondering, “If I’m convicted of DUI, can it trigger removal (deportation) proceedings?” This is a valid question indeed and the answer is, “It depends.”
As a general rule, a first, second and even third DUI offense without aggravating factors is prosecuted as a misdemeanor in Colorado and normally, a misdemeanor DUI will not trigger removal proceedings for a Green Card holder. However, a DUI is elevated to a felony when someone is seriously injured or killed or when it’s a fourth DUI offense.
If this is your first DUI and it’s being prosecuted as a misdemeanor, it should not lead to deportation, but there are exceptions. Under the following circumstances a DUI may lead to deportation proceedings:
- The Green Card holder has too many misdemeanor convictions on their record.
- It was a drug-related DUI offense; for example, the permanent resident was driving under the influence of a controlled substance.
- The permanent resident is charged with a felony DUI.
If you are being charged with a misdemeanor DUI and you don’t have a criminal record, you should not face removal proceedings. But if you do have a criminal record history, the DUI can tip the scales and not in your favor.
Common Deportable Offenses
As a Green Card holder, it’s wise to familiarize yourself with the General Classes of Deportable Aliens under the Immigration and Nationality Act. This section of the INA explains what types of crimes are deportable offenses.
While this is not an exhaustive list, the following offenses when committed by Green Card holders are classified as deportable offenses. Meaning, if you are convicted of any of the following crimes as a non-U.S. citizen, you can be removed from the U.S.
- Fraud-related crime
- Domestic violence
- Sex offenses
- Drug-related crimes
- Child pornography
- Violent crimes
- Aggravated felonies
- Violation of a protection order
- Falsely claiming U.S. citizenship
- Failure to register as a sex offender
- Crimes of moral turpitude (crimes that are considered serious by society)
Related: FAQs About a Colorado DUI
I sincerely hope this post has helped you understand if your DUI charges are threatening your immigration status. If you were arrested for DUI in Denver or anywhere in Arapahoe County, contact me for a free consultation.