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How Can a DUI Affect Your Immigrant Status?

Nevada law enforcement officials take DUI offenses very seriously. A drunk driving conviction can lead to up to six months in jail and fines amounting to $1,000. However, for legal immigrants, the stakes can be even higher.

The good news is that a single DUI offense that doesn’t result in injury does not meet the standards of “moral turpitude” that can lead to direct deportation. Offenses that merit deportation often include particularly depraved or malicious crimes. Typically, these offenses require deliberate intent on the part of the offender, and the average drunk driving offense does not meet either of these standards.

On the other hand, if your drunk driving accident did cause injury and you’re a legal immigrant, it’s possible for you to lose your legal status and face deportation. The same is true if you have been charged with multiple DUIs over a relatively short period of time.

Although a single DUI incident that does not cause injury of another will not result in deportation, there are a number of serious consequences that can accompany it including an arrest, impounded vehicle, large fees and fines, substance abuse counseling, and a victim impact panel. You may also experience a 90-day suspension of your license, with a $120 fee to get it reinstated.  When you do get your drivers license back, the Department of Motor Vehicles may enforce testing for vision, knowledge and skills, and you’ll likely have to carry more expensive liability insurance for up to three years.

The most important thing to do if you have been charged with DUI is to seek competent legal representation. By working with an experienced attorney, it’s possible to reduce DUI charges to the level of reckless driving. This can result in a reduction in the overall penalties you would face for a DUI conviction, minimize the stigma associated with being convicted of drunk driving, and, perhaps most important, significantly lessen the long-term consequences with regard to your immigration status.

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