The biggest concern for most defendants who are arrested for DWI is the potential loss of their driving privileges. However, if a defendant is not a U.S. citizen they have much bigger problems to worry about which may include deportation from the United States. It has become routine now for New Jersey municipal court judges to advise non-citizen defendants of the potential immigration consequences associated with guilty pleas or a finding of guilt to charges for driving while intoxicated. In New Jersey, a DUI charge is simply considered a motor vehicle offense unlike other states, such as New York, that consider a DWI a criminal offense. Nonetheless, a conviction for drunk driving can have serious affects for a non-citizen which can lead to inadmissibility, deportation, or a denial of adjustment to permanent residency or naturalization to become a U.S. Citizen.
This is primarily due to the fact that driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs can be considered bad moral character. This is especially true when there is a history of multiple convictions for DUI that point to an ongoing problem of alcoholism – which can be a ground for inadmissibility (prevent you from becoming a green card holder or U.S. Citizen) or even removal proceedings. An experienced immigration & criminal defense lawyer can navigate the treacherous pitfalls of the court system and competently represent you to make sure you exercise your rights, explore all your options, and make important decisions only after knowing all the facts. To learn more about how our attorneys can help you, contact our office at (732) 450-8300 for a free initial consultation today.