You’ve worked hard to build a life for yourself and your family here in Colorado after immigrating to the United States. You know how challenging the immigration process is and how confusing immigration law can be. But you’ve followed the rules, obtained your coveted green card, and your future here looks bright. You may even be on the verge of becoming a U.S. citizen.
And then you get charged with DUI. Now, everything hangs in the balance.
A Colorado Springs DUI conviction can have wide-ranging and profound impacts on your immigration status, including your ability to become a naturalized citizen as well as the risk of deportation.
If you’re a non-citizen residing in or around Colorado Springs, you face all of the same consequences of a DUI conviction that US citizens do: jail time, hefty fines, loss of driving privileges and more.
But local Colorado Springs law enforcement and prosecutors aren’t the only ones interested in your DUI conviction. Immigration and Customs and Enforcement (ICE) will be made aware of your conviction. What ICE does with that information depends on three primary factors:
- Your current immigration status
- The circumstances of your DUI conviction, and
- Previous criminal history
Colorado DUI and Green Card Holders
If you hold a green card, a DUI could result at the beginning of proceedings to have you removed from the country. While a DUI conviction in and of itself is not a basis for deportation specified in the federal Immigration and Nationality Act, the circumstances of the DUI can result in the conviction being classified as a deportable offense.
Removal proceedings can be initiated for crimes that involve a number of specific characteristics, many of which are satisfied by a DUI conviction. For example, a Colorado DUI conviction could be classified as:
- an aggravated felony
- a “crime of moral turpitude” occurring with 10 years of obtaining legal permanent resident status
- a crime of violence
- a crime for which a sentence of more than one year may be imposed, or
- an offense relating to a controlled substance.
Citizenship Application at Risk
If you are in the process of trying to become a naturalized citizen of the U.S., a DUI conviction can be a huge roadblock. As with removal proceedings, a drunk driving conviction does not automatically bar you from obtaining citizenship. However, applicants for citizenship must demonstrate “good moral character” before U.S. citizenship can be conferred. A DUI conviction can be a big strike against you in that regard.
These are just two ways a Colorado Springs DUI conviction can impact immigration status. If you are in the U.S. on a student visa or work permit, if you are undocumented, or if you are in the process of attempting to adjust your status, your immigration dreams can come crashing down if convicted of DUI.
Whether it is your first arrest for DUI or your fifth, you need an experienced and aggressive DUI defense attorney to fight the charges against you and protect the life you have worked so hard to build.
Call to Schedule a Free Consultation
If you find yourself or a loved one facing a DUI, you can contact us for a free consultation. We use the experience and insight gained from being a former DUI prosecutor on behalf of individuals facing the ordeal of drunk driving charges. We confront the prosecution’s case at every turn, looking for every possible weakness to put our clients in the best position to obtain favorable outcomes.
Give me a call today or fill out my online form to arrange for your free, confidential DUI consultation.