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A DUI conviction can get you deported from the US.

Summer is here, and it's time for barbecues and bonfires by the beach. Before partaking in summer fun, however, know where you stand: If you are a non-U.S. citizen, read this article carefully.

What Uncle Sam giveth, Uncle Sam can just as easily take away. Whatever you do, try not to get deported.

A DUI can result in revocation of your non-immigrant visa. If you remember nothing else from this article, remember this: a DUI can result in the revocation of your non-immigrant visa.

Word to the wise: If you have even had just one drink, stay put. Ask a friend to drive you back home. Take a cab. Take Uber or Lyft. There are no more excuses for drinking and driving.

Note that a DUI can mean either: under the influence of alcohol; or under the influence of a controlled substance. If you find yourself in a situation where you are about to be convicted of a DUI and you are forced to sign a plea agreement, consult with a criminal attorney AND an immigration attorney before signing anything.

It is important that you are fully apprised of the full impact of a DUI conviction on your immigration situation.

A DUI is included in the Priority 2 of the Enforcement Priorities Memorandum. On November 20, 2014, Department of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson issued new guidance on the Department's civil immigration enforcement priorities. The Enforcement Memo, which went into effect in January 2015 specifies the categories of noncitizens at greatest risk of deportation, provides guidance on the exercise of prosecutorial discretion by immigration officers.

Priority Two of the Enforcement Memo focuses on 'misdemeanants and new immigration violators.' These individuals include - persons convicted a significant misdemeanor. A significant misdemeanor is defined as an offense of domestic violence, unlawful possession or use of a firearm, driving under the influence, or any misdemeanor for which the person was sentence to serve 90 days or more in jail, excluding suspended sentences.

Other ways to get deported: It's Fourth of July long weekend and Shawn went out with his friends for a barbecue by the lake. They drank, ate hot dogs and burgers and had an amazing time. The following morning, he woke up in a holding cell. He finds out that he is being charged with 'trespassing' and being 'under the influence of a controlled substance.' Shawn has no recollection of what happened, but when he was prompted to 'plead guilty' by the public defender, he did so 'because it was just a misdemeanor anyway.'

Shawn is a lawful permanent resident. He had just been served with a Notice to Appear by the Department of Homeland Security, and would like to know why he is being deported.

The Notice to Appear. The Notice to Appear (NTA) is the charging document issued by an authorized agent of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), to noncitizens that the government believes are inadmissible or removable. The NTA is issued to place a non-citizen in a full removal proceeding before an immigration judge, who will determine whether the noncitizen is to be removed or allowed to remain in the United States.

A criminal conviction's negative impact on immigration status. The Record of Conviction (ROC) details an individual's criminal history - his/her arrest, what s/he plead to, and the final judgment/sentence. The relief(s) available to an individual facing removal/deportation proceedings will depend largely on that individual's record of conviction.

If you are a non-citizen, know that you are not on an equal footing as those who are U.S. citizens. Even if you have been a green card holder for 20 years, you can still be deported by a single DUI conviction. Do not plead guilty unless you have a firm grasp of the possible immigration consequences.

An individual should act quickly and, before pleading to anything in criminal court, consult both with a criminal attorney and with an experienced criminal immigration attorney who handles deportation defense, to mitigate the negative consequences of a criminal conviction to his/her immigration status.

It is important to be informed and to know your options. An experienced immigration firm or attorney will be able to help you understand what immigration terms mean and what options might be available to you under the evolving immigration laws.
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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Jul 23, 2016
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