Can a DUI Result in Deportation?

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According to a DUI attorney Walnut Creek, when Justin Bieber was arrested for driving under the influence in Miami in January 2014, many people wondered if the pop star would be deported since he is a Canadian citizen and in the United States on a visa. Even though he was not, the case brought attention to the complicated immigration laws in the United States.


According to the United States Immigration and Nationality Act, non-citizens may be deported after committing crimes that involve moral turpitude. Moral turpitude is defined as conduct that is contrary to community standards of justice, honesty, or good morals. It has been described as a nebulous concept or one that refers to behavior that shocks public conscience as vile, depraved, or contrary to the laws of morality. It is further defined in that a person guilty of a crime of moral turpitude is that they had evil intent or acted recklessly.


Courts have held that driving under the influence does not qualify as a crime of moral turpitude. The reason is that a DUI is not considered an aggravated felony under the Immigration and Nationality Act. However, there have been cases when an immigrant has been deported after a DUI, such as in cases where the individual has been charged for prior DUI offenses and is driving with a revoked license. In that case, the courts believe that the person is acting recklessly. This is rare, however, and does not apply in the majority of cases, according to a DUI attorney Walnut Creek.


This does not mean that a DUI cannot make things difficult for immigrants. In some cases, like the Bieber incident where he was charged with DUI and drag racing, a prosecutor could argue that the singer knew his actions could cause serious injury which could make it a crime of moral turpitude. In addition, the singer admitted to using marijuana but he was not charged with drug possession which means his use of a controlled substance cannot be used as a deportable offense. He must be convicted in order to be deported. Therefore, it is critical that anyone who is not a United States citizen who is charged with a DUI should speak to a DUI attorney Walnut Creek as soon as possible after their arrest. Non-citizens arrested for DUI could face difficulties if they return to their native country and then attempt to re-enter the United States. If immigration determines that an individual has a substance abuse problem, they can be denied entry into the country. In addition, it could cause difficulty in becoming a United States citizen.


If you are not a United States citizen and have been charged with a DUI, contact The Law Office of Blackie Burak, a DUI attorney Walnut Creek to learn more about your rights.