Drunk driving is a common criminal offense, and people often think of it as a harmless crime. Most drunk drivers don’t get caught or cause crashes, but some of them do. The risks involved with impaired driving are why even those who don’t cause crashes can face criminal charges.
Georgia police officers aggressively try to identify drunk drivers and prosecute them for violating state laws. Such prosecutions often lead to serious penalties. Those accused of drunk driving might think that pleading guilty is a good idea. They can avoid a trial and possibly minimize the penalties they face.
For immigrants, a guilty plea or a bad defense strategy for drunk driving charges could have life-altering consequences.
Impaired driving has resulted in people’s removal from the country
An arrest for driving under the influence (DUI) charges can lead to jail time and fines. Drivers can also lose their license after they plead guilty or the court convicted them of the DUI. Some people will lose their jobs because of their conviction or driver’s license penalties.
Those penalties are significant, but the risks are even more serious for immigrants. As someone in the country on a visa or without documentation, a DUI charge could lead to very serious consequences. A conviction or guilty plea could potentially lead to a deportation order. It could also cost you your job and your work visa.
Typically, only violent felonies or crimes of moral turpitude lead to deportation. However, immigrants have faced deportation for DUI charges in the past. The Supreme Court has even upheld the removal of an undocumented immigrant from the country because of a DUI offense in a unanimous ruling.
How do you protect yourself as an immigrant accused of a crime?
You need to understand the possible criminal consequences and immigration consequences of the offense. Your driving record could make a DUI charge more serious. Having children in the vehicle or a high blood-alcohol concentration could also lead to more serious penalties and charges.
Reviewing the evidence against you is also important, as issues with that evidence could give you a way to defend yourself. Learning more about how drunk driving charges can affect your immigration status can help you handle those charges properly.