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  • DUIs/travel/citizenship

    My legal permanent resident friend got charged with 3 DUIs. The first one was dismissed by a judhe and he pleaded guilty to the other 2 (both ended up being "first-time offense, both are misdemeanors). 1 year unsupervised probation, asap classes done, fees paid.

    Will my friend have trouble getting back in if he travels or applies for citizenship?

  • #2
    My legal permanent resident friend got charged with 3 DUIs. The first one was dismissed by a judhe and he pleaded guilty to the other 2 (both ended up being "first-time offense, both are misdemeanors). 1 year unsupervised probation, asap classes done, fees paid.

    Will my friend have trouble getting back in if he travels or applies for citizenship?


    • #3
      DUI is not a CIMT, it does not affect admissibility. DUI is not a crime of violence of a deportable offense. However, when it comes to citizenship, there could be issues.

      This is just my opinion, you should never rely on a message board or the internet to answer your questions. If you want legal advice, go see an attorney.



      • #4
        Have him complete his probation and have as many of the DUI's expunged /cleared (verdict vacated) expunged or cleared may have different meaning in some state. The court or probation department will have the procedures to do this on this own, save money layer fee's. Good Luck


        • #5
          Bear in mind that even dismissed or expunged charges would still have to be reported on any naturalization application. See the "Additional Questions" section of form N-400, available at, especially questions 15 through 21, inclusive. --SJR
          I'm just a J.D. I cannot give legal advice, except for the following:
          See a reputable immigration attorney for help.


          • #6
            U "friend" should other stuff to worry about..
            such as his life and other people's life.

            He has an alcohol problem, 3 dui's?

            he shouldn't be driving PERIOD!!!

            And he wonders about citizenship???
            and for the records 3 dui's is a crime...
            one more depending what state,he could be jailed,if he gets involve in an accident.


            • #7
              Thanks a lot to those who offered useful advice.


              • #8
                DUI being a CIMT ...debatable !

                <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by vierce:
                My legal permanent resident friend got charged with 3 DUIs. The first one was dismissed by a judhe and he pleaded guilty to the other 2 (both ended up being "first-time offense, both are misdemeanors). 1 year unsupervised probation, asap classes done, fees paid.

                Will my friend have trouble getting back in if he travels or applies for citizenship? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

                First, I must say that I agree with HBKHBK ... This guy is obviously an alcoholic ...THREE DUI's ?? Personally, I don't care if ALL the charges were dismissed. You need to get OFF THE ROAD! Sad to say, the USA has enough "unsafe" americans who think they're invincible while drinking and/or doing drugs. We sure don't need any more DRUNKS on our roads who have the capability of killing others while driving drunk!! He's a menace to society and needs to stop driving!

                As to DUI & CIMT ...You need to read the article posted here on I've included a few highlights from this article which was written by Christina B. LaBrie:

                Immigration Consequences Of Drunk Driving Convictions

                A drunk driving conviction, referred to in this column as "DUI", can lead to inadmissibility or deportation from the United States. A DUI conviction is problematic because it could be considered, depending on the specifics of the state law, a "crime involving moral turpitude" and a "crime of violence" under US immigration law. There has been a great deal of litigation on both of these issues over the last few years.

                Aggravated Felony – "Crime of Violence"

                Aggravated felony convictions are disastrous for immigrants: such a conviction forecloses numerous avenues of relief from removal, can lead to deportation and results in a 20-year bar to re-entry after deportation. On April 4, 2002, the Board of Immigration Appeals published a decision in Matter of Ramos, 23 I & N Dec. 336 (BIA 2002), in which the Board clarified some issues with respect to DUIs as crimes of violence for purposes of the aggravated felony provision of INA §101(a)(43)(F).

                The circuit courts have issued different and conflicting decisions regarding the determination of whether a DUI conviction is a "crime of violence."1 In Matter of Ramos, the Board held that it will follow the decisions of the circuit courts in those circuits that have addressed the issue of whether a DUI is a crime of violence. In circuits that have not addressed the issue, the Board decided that it will only find a "crime of violence" where the elements of the crime "reflect that there is a substantial risk that the perpetrator may resort to the use of force to carry out the crime" and where the offense is committed "at least recklessly."

                Crime Involving Moral Turpitude (CIMT)

                A conviction for a "crime involving moral turpitude" (or the admission of the acts that constitute such a crime) is a ground for inadmissibility to the United States and deportation from the United States. An alien who is convicted of a CIMT within five years of entry (for which a sentence of one year or longer may be imposed) or two CIMTs at any time after entry is deportable. An alien convicted of a single CIMT is inadmissible to the United States, although certain waivers might be available.

                The Board of Immigration Appeals has found that <span class="ev_code_BLUE">an ordinary DUI conviction </span>does not involve moral turpitude. See Matter of Lopez-Meza, Int. Dec. 3423 (BIA 1999). An ordinary DUI conviction does not involve a "culpable mental state requirement," such as intent or knowledge. In Matter of Lopez-Meza, the Board found that the crime did indeed involve moral turpitude because the alien was found to have the aggravating factor of operating the vehicle following the suspension of his license. The important distinction for the Board was that the aggravating factor of the suspended license required a showing that the offender knowingly drove with a suspended license. Thus, if a state has an ordinary DUI statute that would generally not be considered a CIMT, <span class="ev_code_BLUE">aggravating factors could change the crime to one involving moral turpitude.</span>


                Even if an alien is able to avoid deportation or inadmissibility resulting from a DUI conviction, he or she is not home free. The INS may consider any criminal conviction in making a determination regarding good moral character for purposes of an application for naturalization. There are statutory bars to a finding of good moral character, including an aggravated felony conviction after November 29, 1990 and an aggregate of 180 days spent in jail. See INA §101(f). However, even if a conviction does not fall within one of the statutory bars, it can still be a basis for a finding that the applicant lacks good moral character and the denial of his or her citizenship application.

                And remember ... Every action causes a REACTION !
                God Bless America ! Love IT ....or LEAVE it !


                • #9
                  First of all, DUI is not a CIMT. Lopez-Meza deals with a specific Arizona statute that involves conduct that, when seen in the general context, could involve moral turpitude. I say "could" because the issue was addressed by the 9th circuit with mixed results. The BIA opinion itself includes a very strong dissent that seems to question the very foundation of the opinion.

                  Torres-Varela is yet another case, similar to the OP's, that deals with a felony DUI as a repeat offender under a different AZ statute. BIA held the offense not to be a CIMT.

                  - THIS IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE-


                  • #10
                    Also please see Marmalejo-Campos v. Gonzales which is a newer (dissenting) opinion that habitual DUI convictions, even if it's coupled with driving without license, is not a CIMT (on September 12, 2007, by Judge Nelson dissenting the opinion by Judge Callahan - the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit) in re: Lopez-Meza, Torres-Varela, and Hernandez-Martinez, which states in part thus: "DISSENT: "In this appeal, we are tasked with answering a straightforward question: Does the act of driving while intoxicated, which is not a crime involving moral turpitude, somehow become morally turpitudinous when coupled with the act of driving without a license, which also is not a crime involving moral turpitude? The majority states that precedent and administrative deference require us to answer this question in the affirmative, but I respectfully disagree." The opinion (for publication) concluded thus: "driving while intoxicated can have serious and harmful consequences, I am unable to concur in an opinion that contravenes well-established law and is belied by logic."

                    Whereas, I myself am of the (humble) belief that there is really a slack in our federal legislative processes because judges can't create laws but can only (administratively or judicially) interpret existing ones as per their congressional intent and construction or constitutionality. And so, state legislatures step up to the plate by filling up the void by passing state laws, say in DUI, but the problem starts when they relate to immigration which is a federal matter. Federal courts end up reversing aliens' conviction in regards to inadmissibility or removability because on the federal level, either for lack of jurisdiction or there is no corresponding law particularly in DUI but only what INA 237(a) says that the alien should have committed CIMT to be inadmissible or deportable. So therefore an alien who had a couple or more DUI convictions in violation of a state law, and who habitually poses a serious threat to public safety, cannot be deported when he claims his due process rights in federal courts. And yet Elvira Arellano who repeatedly reentered the US (due to our porous border) and used a bogus SSN but did nothing harmful in cleaning toilets or workers in meatpacking plants can be summarily deported for committing federal crimes(?) I thought there's a: "longstanding principle of construing any lingering ambiguities in deportation statutes in favor of the alien," INS v. Cardoza-Fonseca? See also Hernandez v. Ashcroft, explaining that, in the immigration context, "doubts are to be resolved in favor of the alien." Well, maybe it depends on one's capability to access the courts. If all you know is handle hogwash or pack meat, then.......


                    • #11
                      Out of 3 DUI he was charged only two misdemeanor is OK.But one more misdemeanor he become a feloney.Once he is a feloney he will be deported. So far you are alright.But the thing is if you want to apply for citizenship you have to wait 5 more years to show a good moral charactor from the last DUI incident.So he should be very careful if you have one more DUI 100% you are out.So now you can travel no problem for that.


                      • #12
                        The problem with these interpretations is that they create inconsistency. In AZ for instance it's the same statute that creates the offense of DUI while suspended. It's one law, the aggravated DUI statute, that creates the combined offense. Other states have a separate statute for driving while suspended and another statute for DUI.

                        Now, since DUI while suspended is conduct covered under the same statute in AZ, the BIA found that such a violation is a CIMT. However, if the same person did the same thing in some other state resulting in a charge of DUI and another of driving while suspended, the person would have nothing to worry about even when the conduct relates to the very same "all at once" conduct.

                        Since BIA and immigration Courts use the "categorical analysis", the statute of conviction is controlling, conduct is irrelevant unless the statute is divisible.

                        And no, felony DUI is not a CIMT, it's not a COV, it's not a "deportable offense".

                        -THIS IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE-