DUI convictions and deportation risks

As an immigrant, you must be careful while in the U.S. to abide by all laws. A criminal conviction could result in a court ordering you to leave the country. You may think such actions are only for serious criminal activity, but that is not always the case. While a court will not throw you out of the country for a simple speeding ticket, getting a DUI is a whole other issue. 

According to NBC News, getting one DUI is not a deportable conviction on its own. However, new rules put in place by the Attorney General do make two or more DUI convictions suitable for deportation. The basis for this is that with two or more DUI convictions, you lack the good moral character required to be a lawful immigrant. 

The issue 

The problem that many have with this new ruling is that there are no set rules about how to apply it. States generally have time limits in which a DUI charge qualifies as a first-time offense or subsequent offense. For example, if you got your first DUI in 2000 and then got another DUI in 2020, you probably will not face the penalties for a multiple DUI because so many years have elapsed since your first DUI. 

This new ruling does not consider the time between charges. It also does not consider how long ago the DUI charges occurred. So, essentially, if you got two DUIs when you were 21 and you are now 41, the Attorney General’s rule would still put you at risk for deportation. 

It also does not consider rehabilitation. If you attended treatment and have not had any alcohol-related charges since your DUI, then you may expect the court to consider that. However, under this new rule, that will not happen if you face deportation. 

The support 

Some stand behind these new rules, saying that it prevents states from interfering with federal immigration courts. It also helps to bring to light undocumented immigrants with other serious criminal records who may be avoiding officials and trying to stay in the country.