Being charged with a DUI can be a serious offense. This is especially true for people who are living in the United States as permanent residents. If you plan on applying for U.S. citizenship, having a criminal history could negatively impact your chances.
If you’re a permanent resident who has recently been charged with a DUI, you may be wondering if this incident could harm your chances at future citizenship, or even worse, result in your deportation. Read on to learn whether a not a DUI can affect permanent resident status.
What Is A Permanent Resident?
In the United States, the term "permanent resident" is used to define a green card holder. With a green card, a person can live and work in the United States without for an indefinite period of time. Typically, a green card holder can apply for U.S. citizenship after five years of being a permanent resident.
What Happens if A Permanent Resident is Charged with a DUI
Even though green card holders can legally live in and work in the United States, it’s important to note that having a green card does not protect a person from deportation
The good news is that being charged with a DUI alone may not be grounds for a person to be deported or denied permanent residency. The bad news is, like with other rules, there are a few exceptions.
Being charged with this crime could still result in a person being removed from the country. A permanent citizen who is charged with a DUI can be placed in removal proceedings for several reasons including the following:
The DUI occurred while the person was driving without a license or with a suspended license.
The driver caused an accident.
The driver was found with illegal drugs in his/her possession at the time of the arrest.
The driver received other charges including aggressive or reckless driving.
A child was in the car at the time of the arrest.
If it is determined that you are "deportable" your case could go to court where you will have the opportunity to defend yourself.
Other Ways A DUI Could Affect A Permanent Citizen
Even if you cannot be deported as a result of your DUI charge, you may be unable to re-enter the United States if you leave for any reason. This is because people who leave the United States with a crime on their record can be denied re-entry.
What to Do if You’ve Been Charged with a DUI
If you’ve been charged with a DUI, the first thing you should do is contact a DUI attorney. Be sure to make your permanent resident status known to your attorney as soon as possible so he/she can proceed accordingly. Working with a talented DUI attorney can help ensure that you have the best defense possible.
If you’ve been charged with a DUI and have permanent resident status, Attorney Brian Nash has nearly a decade of experience working with a wide range of clients. He brings a vast amount of knowledge, drive, and determination to every case he works with. If you or someone you know is dealing with a DUI while having permanent resident status and are hoping to apply for U.S. citizenship, please contact Nash Law, PLLC today at 615-628-7555.