[The Serious] Immigration Consequences of a DUI

When a person who is not a citizen is convicted of DUI, this conviction can have a serious effect on his or her ability to be admitted to the United States or remain in the United States.


If a person has not yet entered the United States, his or her primary concern will be whether a DUI can make him or her inadmissible, meaning that he or she will not be able to acquire a visa or a green card. Laws regarding inadmissibility deal with when a person is barred from entering the country with an immigrant or nonimmigrant visa. However, inadmissibility laws also deal with re-entry, such as when an immigrant is initially granted lawful status, travels to another country and then seeks to come into the United States again. There are several laws that affect whether a person is admissible or not, including:

Commission of a Crime of Moral Turpitude

One way that a person is considered inadmissible is if he or she commits a crime of moral turpitude. This type of crime is usually considered a serious offense that goes against social norms. Often, crimes of violence are considered crimes involving moral turpitude such as murder, assault or rape. On its own without any aggravating factors, one DUI does not generally fall under this umbrella. 

Committing a Crime Involving a Controlled Substance

The United States takes a hard stance against drugs and includes the commission of a crime involving a controlled substance as a ground to deny admissibility. Sometimes even if a person admits to violating a criminal substance law and has not been convicted, he or she can still be considered inadmissible. Since some DUI convictions are based on being under the influence of a drug, this provision may be implicated depending on the particular circumstances.

Crimes Involving a Sentence of Five Years

A person is also considered inadmissible if he or she has been convicted of two or more crimes that resulted in a sentence of five years or more. While a single DUI does not usually include a sentence of this term, multiple DUIs when added together may. The suspended portion of a sentence may be included in the calculation. 

Addiction Status

Another ground for inadmissibility is if the immigrant has a drug or alcohol addiction. Multiple DUI convictions may support a determination to this effect. 

Being convicted of multiple DUI offenses or when aggravating factors are present may be enough to make a person inadmissible depending on the particular circumstances involved in the case. 

Deportable Consequences

After a person receives lawful immigration status and is admitted to the United States, he or she may be deportable, or removable in immigration terms, if he or she commits certain crimes. His or her green card can be taken away or he or she can otherwise be stripped of lawful status, resulting in him or her being taken out of the country and barred from re-entry for many years. A person can be considered deportable in the following circumstances:

Conviction of an Aggravated Felony

If a person is convicted of an aggravated felony, he or she can be deportable. This type of crime is usually considered serious in nature any involve such crimes as murder, rape, trafficking, obstruction of justice, using false documents, forgery and other crimes. There is a long list of offenses that are listed in this category. The relevant determination is how the crime is classified under immigration law and not whether the crime was considered a misdemeanor or felony under state law. Additionally, some crimes must have resulted in a conviction of one year or more in order to qualify as an aggravated felony. In the determination of whether an immigrant was convicted of an aggravated felony, the immigration court can consider cases in which the immigrant’s sentence was deferred even if it would not be considered a conviction under state law. If a case was expunged, the court can still consider it as a conviction.

Commission of a Crime of Moral Turpitude

Like with admissibility, the immigration officer can consider a crime involving moral turpitude. The officer looks at any such crime committed within five years of admission and for which the sentence was one year or more. The officer can also consider whether there were two separate crimes involving moral turpitude. 

Offenses Related to a Controlled Substance

Another possibility is if the individual commits a crime involving a controlled substance.
An immigration lawyer can discuss the potential ramifications of being convicted of a DUI and how it may impact the person’s ability to enter or remain in the country.
Source: HG

 If you have any additional questions or queries contact us at (954).944.2799 or emailinfo@DSALegalGroup.com

Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact an attorney.


Impact Of President Trump’s Executive Orders on Caribbean Nationals

On November 8, 2016, the American people voted and Donald J. Trump secured the majority of the Electoral College votes defeating Hillary Clinton (304 to 227).   On the campaign trail, President Trump noted border and national security as a top priority for his Administration.  Given this reality, it should be no surprise that President Trumpissued Executive Orders on immigration https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefingroom/presidentialactions/executiveorders).  The impact of these Orders is a developing situation.

The Department of Homeland Security (www.dhs.gov) is responsible for the enforcement of the president’s Executive Orders in a manner that ensures the safety and security of all U.S. citizens.  In this regard, DHS retains the right to revoke visas at any time if required for national security or public safety.   As an immigrant, lawful permanent resident, or a visa holder, it is therefore incumbent on you to be mindful of all the requirements of your travel to and from the United States.   In addition, please note that DHS retains the discretion to conduct any security screenings for entry to the United States, consistent with its immigration laws and judicial orders.

Though some of the underlying tenets of U.S. immigration law is family unification and protecting those fleeing war or persecution,  no Caribbeannational, without ties to the United States, has any automatic right to request or demand entry into the United States or to receive immigration benefits in the United States.   Nonetheless, we must be vigilant in educating ourselves of the proper procedures to preserve the relationships of our families, protecting our families from oppression, and availing ourselves of any due process rights or remedies.

As you may be aware, a NY federal judge granted the American Civil Liberties Union’s request for a nationwide temporary injunction that will block the deportation of all people stranded in U.S. airports under President Trump’s executive orders.   The ACLU, along with several groups, filed a lawsuit this past weekend on behalf of two Iraqi men who were en route to the United States on immigrant visas when President Trump issued an executive order banning many persons, specifically from Syria, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Libya, and Yemen.

Though both men were granted immigrant visas, they were detained at JKF Airport for no other reason than the impact of President Trump’s executive order. In recent cases in Alexandria, Virginia; Boston; New York; and Seattle, federal courts have ruled against the detention of individuals at airports. The rulings appear to be limited to those people already at U.S. airports or in transit.  Subsequent legal proceedings are pending.

Here are a few practical facts and tips in sifting through the noise of the past few days:


  • The executive order on international travel ban of new arrivals affects only nationals and citizens, specifically from predominantly Muslim nations of Syria, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Libya and Yemen for 90 days; Though the impact will disproportionately impact persons of the Muslim faith, the travel ban affects all individuals from these countries irrespective of religion.
  • It is advisable that any persons born in or citizens of any of the seven countries listed in the Order, including lawful permanent residents and US citizens, refrain from travel at this time or seek advice of immigration counsel.
  • Lawful permanent residents from non-listed countries should be mindful of any international travel. While the President’s Order is directed only to nationals of the seven listed countries, reentry to the United States is not guaranteed for any lawful permanent resident. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agents have the discretion at all times to question U.S. citizens or permanent residents coming from the above seven countries or from any other country.
  • The executive order applies only to non-U.S. citizens. If you are a U.S. citizen, whether naturalborn or naturalized other than dual citizens from the countries above, you should be mindful, but not concerned.
  • For 120 days, the Order bars the entry of any refugee who is awaiting resettlement in the U.S.
  • If you’re not a U.S. citizen and an immigration agent requests your immigration papers, you must show them. If you’re over 18, you should carry your immigration documents with you at all times. If you don’t have immigration papers, say you want to remain silent. Under no circumstances, please do NOT lie about your immigration status or provide fake documents.
  • If you are an immigrant or refugee of any of the seven countries above (or any country for that matter) with fear of repatriation and you are denied entry and detained at any airport or port of entry, you have the right to demand hearing before an immigration judge and the right to speak to legal counsel. In addition, if you are a lawful permanent resident , you have the right to resist any demand to abandon your permanent residency (by signing Form I-407).   
  • To maintain the validity of your U.S. permanent residency, be sure to (1) renew your green card; (2) maintain employment in the U.S.; (3) file your U.S. tax returns; (4) maintain a U.S. address, bank account, driver’s license and credit card account; (5) retain ownership of property in the U.S.; (6) keep your dependents in the U.S.; (7) obtain a reentry permit if you’re going to come close to the six-month red line outside the U.S.;
  • Most importantly, if you are a lawful permanent residents for more than five (5) years domicile (or three (3) years when married to a U.S. citizen) in the U.S., you are eligible for U.S. naturalization (Form N-400: https://www.uscis.gov/n400) and should apply immediately.


  • The recent Executive Orders from President Trump also created travel bans of non-immigrants, permanent residents, or U.S. citizens of Caribbean descent (WRONG).
  • The Department of Homeland Security has issued preferential visa allocations, approval processes and treatment for Caribbean nationals (WRONG).
  • Caribbean nationals who are lawful permanent residents will not be subject to any screening OR normal discretionary questions at the border (WRONG).
  • Lawful U.S. permanent residents do not have any legal rights at the airport or any port of entry (WRONG).
  • Lawful permanent residents can remain out of the United States as long as they wish without any intention to return to the U.S. (WRONG).

Bottom Line:  Check all news from social media or any stock text messages prior to sharing and most importantly make a plan for your personal travel or to unify your family months in advance in order to ensure that you are in full compliance with all immigration laws and regulations.

Written by Marlon Hill and published on Jamaicans.com

Stefan McHardy is managing attorney of DSA Legal Group, PLLC and past Executive Board Member of the Caribbean Association.