Broward DUI Lawyer: DUI & Immigration Status
Fort Lauderdale DUI Attorney William Moore Criminal Defense has represented a wide variety of clients in south Florida DUI cases, including immigrants to the United States. Because criminal history can affect immigration status – even leading to removal (often known as deportation) – it is important that any immigrant who has not become a U.S. citizen understand the consequences. Many immigrants are surprised to learn that criminal convictions that they perceived to be relatively minor, like DUI under Florida law, have far-reaching ramifications.
In criminal cases generally, and DUI specifically, there are three categories of crime that can result in your removal from the United States. The first are aggravated felonies. In American criminal law, this term has a different meaning than its immigration usage. Generally, the criminal code lists aggravating factors, such as DUI with a BAC exceeding 0.20 or DUI with a minor child in the car. In immigration law, the term aggravated felony has an expanded definition. For instance, the aggravated felony label include any crime of violence that is a felony, human trafficking, theft, burglary felonies, fraud or deceitful crimes that result in a loss of more than $10,000, murder, rape, and child sex offenses. The definitions have tended to be interpreted broadly, especially for crimes of violence. For instance, suppose you are a legal immigrant. You are apprehended by Fort Lauderdale police and arrested for felony DUI or DUI manslaughter. Your Broward DUI lawyer should, whenever possible, work to avoid having you sentenced to one year or more in prison. If you are sentenced to a year or more, even if the sentence is suspended, you may be subject to removal. Alcohol-related driving offenses that result in a sentence of a year or more are considered crimes of violence under the aggravated felonies section of the Immigration and Nationality Act. Also, aggravated felons are subject to expedited removal proceedings
A second type of criminal history that will make you removable is any crime involving moral turpitude. Even certain DUI and alcohol-related infractions can qualify as crimes involving moral turpitude. The term crime involving moral turpitude encompasses a broad set of behaviors deemed to violate basic standards of decency within a society. It can include everything from prostitution to mail fraud to theft – and even driving on a suspended license, if your license was suspended due to a previous DUI, DUI manslaughter, or other DUI-related offense. Driving on a suspended license after a single DUI may not seem outside the realm of societal decency, but Congress and the federal immigration courts use broad language. Immigrants should closely evaluate the immigration ramifications when contemplating DUI plea deals.
Additionally, you can also be removed for any conviction relating to a controlled substance, such as trafficking cocaine. Always consult a Fort Lauderdale DUI lawyer or an immigration attorney if you have questions about your DUI and immigration consequences.
Broward DUI Lawyer William Moore advises everyone to have a good time, but be careful when driving this New Year’s Eve. Your safety and the safety of others should be a paramount concern. If you’re in doubt about your ability to drive, try calling 1-800-TAXICAB. The nationwide service provides free listings for cabs companies
Fort Lauderdale DUI attorney William Moore is a former prosecutor and public defender. If you have been charged with DUI in south Florida, contact William Moore Criminal Defense, P.A., which has an experienced Fort Lauderdale DUI lawyer with offices in Fort Lauderdale-Dade, Broward, and Fort Lauderdale Counties.
This article should be used for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice, nor as implied representation of any individual.