Immigration has become a very heated topic in the last few years, as the current U.S. administration has made several moves to limit the number of immigrants the United States will accept. Many of those here on visas or with green cards have been concerned how changes in immigration policy might affect them.

One area immigration policy change might impact is what happens when an immigrant faces criminal charges. If an immigrant on a visa, with a green card or with refugee status gets even a DUI charge, that could endanger their ability to stay in this country.

Historically, one DUI charge has not led to deportation. Most DUIs are misdemeanors. Yet if you are an immigrant and have a repeat DUI offense, have an extremely high blood alcohol level (BAC) when you are arrested, or cause someone’s death in a DUI crash, you could face a felony conviction. Felony convictions often lead to deportation.

When you face a DUI charge as an immigrant, your case will be handled in immigration court. A judge will decide if the offense warrants your deportation. If it doesn’t, a DUI conviction still could impact your immigration status. You could face a delay in getting a green card or no longer be eligible to become a citizen.

If you are undocumented or have applied for refugee status and police charge you with a DUI, that can lead to deportation. Also, if you leave the country after a DUI conviction, that can make it much more difficult to reenter the United States.

If you are an immigrant facing a DUI charge, you need to consult a criminal defense attorney. An attorney can help you if you fear how a DUI charge will impact your immigration status.