Aggravated Drunk Driving & Deportation

by | Jul 7, 2022 | DUI, immigration

A DWI or DUI charge can be an incredibly stressful situation for one to endure. However, the stakes can be even greater for those who immigrated to the United States from another country. Attorney John B. Seed is here to alleviate your worry.

When it comes to drunk driving, Massachusetts takes a hard line. If you are convicted of operating under the influence (OUI), you could face severe penalties, including expensive fines and mandatory jail time. If you are an immigrant living in Massachusetts – either documented or undocumented – a drunk driving conviction could also lead to deportation.

Attorney John B. Seed has a long history of advocating for individuals facing OUI charges. Contact the firm today to protect your citizenship.

Are You Facing a DUI Charge?

In the United States, DUI laws vary from state to state. However, all states have laws that make it illegal to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The legal limit for blood alcohol content (BAC) in most states is .08%. If you are pulled over, and your BAC is above this level, you can be arrested for DUI.

What Is Aggravated Drunk Driving?

A crime of moral turpitude is any crime that results in a sentence of one year or longer. Although a standard operating under the influence conviction is usually not viewed as a crime of moral turpitude for immigration purposes, the OUI may meet this definition if it has aggravating factors, such as a drunk driver who causes a permanent injury or death in a car accident.

Does My State Make a Difference?

Yes. In Massachusetts, first and second OUI offenses are misdemeanors, while third, fourth, and fifth offenses, as well as OUI causing serious bodily injury or death, are considered felonies. This distinction is why an drunk driving conviction can result in deportation for a noncitizen; as can being convicted of a crime of moral turpitude within five years of entering the U.S. (or two or more after five years).

What If I Am Officially a U.S. Citizen?

Those who are documented may believe that they are safe from the danger of deportation — this is not the case. If you are a legal resident of the United States, you could be at risk for deportation if you are convicted of certain crimes. One of these crimes is an aggravated DUI. If you are convicted of an aggravated DUI, you may be placed in immigration court and have your green card taken away through an Order of Removal.

What If I’m Undocumented?

If you are an undocumented immigrant and receive a DUI charge, you are at higher risk for immediate immigration (ICE) detention for court proceedings that could ultimately lead to deportation without a proper legal defense.

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) prioritizes deporting undocumented immigrants that have criminal records, so a DUI charge heightens your chances of being removed from the U.S.

To avoid possible deportation, it is imperative that you hire an experienced immigration attorney to help you navigate the complex legal system. An attorney can help you understand the charges against you and develop a strong defense to protect your rights.

Are You At Risk For Deportation? Attorney John B. Seed Can Help

Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney like John B. Seed today to learn more about your rights and options.