DUI convictions can have lasting consequences that impact aspects of their life long after the matter is resolved. For example, in prior years, an immigrant could be deported for DUI offenses. While the law has since changed, the ramifications of prior DUIs may still be felt in certain instances, as demonstrated by a recent Supreme Court ruling in which the Court upheld the removal of an individual who had previously been deported due to a DUI conviction. If you are accused of a DUI offense, it is prudent to speak to a trusted Illinois DUI lawyer regarding your potential defenses.
The Supreme Court Ruling
It is reported that the defendant gained permanent residency in 1990 but was deported in 1998 due to a DUI conviction in 1991. The defendant re-entered the country without authorization at some point and remained here until 2017, when he was taken into custody and indicted for unlawful reentry, a charge that would result in him being deported once again.
Currently, the law allows immigrants to contest deportations that are fundamentally unfair. Thus, the defendant argued that because a Supreme Court ruling in 2004 held that DUI offenses were not crimes of violence, his prior deportation was invalid, and therefore, he could not be charged with unlawful reentry. His arguments were accepted by the district court, but the Supreme Court rejected his reasoning. The Court noted that there were three conditions, not one, that a defendant must meet before he or she could challenge a prior deportation. As the defendant failed to show he met the requirements, his claim was denied.
Consequences of an Illinois DUI Conviction
While a DUI is not a crime of violence in Illinois or in any other state, a DUI conviction may nonetheless impact a person’s immigrant or residency status. Under the current law, crimes of moral turpitude may be grounds for denying a person’s application for citizenship or permanent residency. DUI offenses may fall under the umbrella of crimes of moral turpitude, as it includes any offenses in which a reckless act causes bodily harm or places a person in the threat of bodily harm.
Notably, even if a person charged with a DUI crime is able to avoid a conviction and is sentenced to court supervision instead, it may still be grounds for harming his or her immigration status, as it could still be considered a conviction for purposes of evaluating the individual’s moral character. This is because the term convictions includes a sentence of court supervision under federal law.
Meet with an Experienced Illinois DUI Attorney to Discuss Your Options
DUI convictions can impair a person’s rights, job prospects, and reputation, and in some instances, they may harm an immigrant’s ability to remain in the country as well. If you are charged with a DUI crime, it is in your best interest to meet with an attorney as soon as possible to discuss your options. Theodore J. Harvatin, of the Harvatin Law Offices, PC, is an experienced Illinois DUI defense lawyer with the skills and knowledge needed to help you seek a favorable outcome, and if you hire him, he will advocate zealously on your behalf. You can reach Mr. Harvatin by calling 217.525.0520 or via the online form to set up a conference.