Getting charged for a DUI in Pennsylvania is scary for anyone. When you’re a foreign national hoping to get US citizenship someday, you may fear that a DUI could ruin your future plans. While some criminal convictions do lead to deportation, a DUI conviction does not necessarily mean that you will be kicked out of the country.
How serious is the charge?
A DUI conviction may be a misdemeanor or a felony charge, depending on the details of the case. For example, a person who was pulled over and charged for drunk driving after complying with sobriety tests would likely only be charged for a misdemeanor. On the other hand, a person who caused a fatal car accident while under the influence of drugs will probably face felony charges.
Immigration officials consider the severity of your charges when determining how they will impact your immigration status. In general, deportation is reserved for people who are convicted for aggravated felonies, not misdemeanors.
What is your immigration status?
Your immigration status is another factor that will impact whether or not a DUI leads to deportation. If you are undocumented or seeking asylum, there is a greater chance that you will be deported. In some cases, immigration officials will not deport you, but they will take away your legal resident status. A DUI conviction could also bar you from obtaining US citizenship in the future.
Immigration laws are complex and always changing
Immigration law is complex and constantly changing. If you have a DUI charge that you fear could get you deported, it may be wise to consult an immigration law expert. Because many decisions in immigration cases come down to a judge’s discretion, legal representation could be helpful.