Under current California law, a misdemeanor, first-time DUI conviction is not a per se ground of removability (deportable). It is not an “aggravated felony” (for purposes of federal immigration law), a crime involving moral turpitude, or other inadmissible or deportable conviction.
However, a DUI conviction is a bar to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and simply being arrested for DUI can cause revocation of a non-immigrant visa. A DUI can also be a damaging factor in discretionary decisions, including whether the person will be released from immigration detention on bond, or found to be of “good moral character, which is necessary to qualify as a naturalized U.S. citizen.
Given the evolving immigration laws in the United States, and the impact certain criminal violations can/will have on a person’s status, benefits, and potential form of seeking legal relief, it is very important to speak with a knowledgeable and experienced attorney. Doing so may help create an alternative solution with the prosecutor that can minimize a client’s immigration consequences!