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The Impact of a DUI on Your Visa

By San Diego Attorney on May 28, 2021

California has one of the largest immigrant populations in the United States, serving as a home to thousands of people from all around the world. Many are here legally, attending school and working for local businesses on certified visas. While these documents can be key to a new life, there are several strict rules you have to follow. If you are arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, it can put your visa in jeopardy.

Is a DUI a Crime of Moral Turpitude?

A DUI is rarely considered relevant to a defendant’s immigration status on its own. Typically, a U.S. court will only consider deporting someone if he commits a crime of moral turpitude, a category of crimes that violate social norms and standards, such as certain sex crimes and acts of violence. A standard DUI that did not result in an injury, committed by a first-time offender, is not considered a crime of moral turpitude.

However, if you are involved in a DUI with injury, vehicular manslaughter, or rack up a DUI with a suspended license, then the court may consider it a crime of moral turpitude. Driving under the influence of drugs, or DUID, may also be considered a crime of moral turpitude. The court will look at the severity of your actions to determine whether or not to revoke your visa.

Beyond crimes of moral turpitudes, U.S. courts can also deport DUI defendants based on health concerns.

Why Is a DUI Considered a Health Concern?

For many years, the United States did not consider DUIs when evaluating visa applications, but that has changed in recent decades. Now, the State Department can revoke your visa on the grounds of a DUI charge, especially if you have multiple DUIs on your record, even if those occurred outside the United States. This is because the State Department considers DUIs to be a health-related matter, involving addiction and substance abuse issues. On these grounds, they can reject an application or revoke a visa.

What Are My Options?

If you were arrested for a DUI in San Diego County and are concerned about your visa status, do not hesitate to contact a San Diego criminal defense lawyer at jD LAW. We can explain your rights under the law, outline the consequences of a conviction, and develop a defense strategy to keep you out of jail and in the United States. We have more than 30 years of experience defending clients throughout San Diego and North County and can provide the same level of excellence for you. Call us today at (760) 630-2000 to get a free case evaluation.

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James N. Dicks
jD LAW, P.C.

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If you feel uncomfortable with an in-person meeting due to the recent surge in COVID-19, our office is offering remote appointments via phone and Zoom. Please call or email us to set up your appointment.

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