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Arizona DUI & Deportation

According to the American Immigration Council (AIC), “Arizona has a growing population of immigrants, making up more than 12 percent of the state’s residents.” The AIC goes on to say that: “More than one in eight Arizona residents is an immigrant, while nearly one in five is a native-born U.S. citizen with at least one immigrant parent.” With that in mind, it’s understandable why so many immigrants in Arizona would be nervous when they are arrested for driving under the influence.

So, the question is, can a Green Card holder (lawful permanent resident) be deported if they are convicted of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol in Arizona? It depends on the facts of the case. Read on as we explore this issue in more detail.

Does DUI Lead to Automatic Removal Proceedings?

A simple, first-time DUI does not usually trigger removal proceedings; however, it is possible for an immigrant to be deported after a DUI conviction. Generally, a misdemeanor DUI will not lead to deportation, but a DUI can lead to removal proceedings under the following circumstances:

  • It was a drug-related DUI.
  • The immigrant was charged with a felony DUI.
  • The immigrant has a long history of criminal behavior.
  • The immigrant caused serious bodily injury or death as a result of drunk or drugged driving.

The General Classes of Deportable Aliens are listed in the Immigration and Nationality Act, otherwise known as the INA. In the INA, it explains which classes of aliens are deportable. Some of these deportable aliens include those who have engaged in smuggling or marriage fraud. It also includes aliens who have been convicted of a crime involving a one year or longer sentence, aliens with multiple criminal convictions, aliens who fail to register as a sex offender, aliens who commit drug offenses, and aliens who commit crimes of moral turpitude.

If you are facing DUI charges in Phoenix, the DUI may or may not lead to removal proceedings. Much of it has to do with your criminal record, and whether you hurt anyone while driving under the influence. Even if it was a simple, first-time DUI, if you have multiple criminal convictions, the DUI could be the final nail in the coffin and trigger removal proceedings.

If you’re facing DUI charges in Phoenix or Maricopa County, contact our firm at once for a free case evaluation!