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Two DWIs risk immigration says Northern Virginia DUI lawyer

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Two DWIs risk immigration says Northern Virginia DUI lawyer - Photo of alcohol and keys

Two DWIs risk immigration says Northern Virginia DUI lawyer

Two DWI convictions should be avoided by non-United States citizens, says Northern Virginia DUI lawyer

Two DWI convictions are a headache for anyone, and definitely should be avoided by those who are not United States citizens. As a Northern Virginia DUI lawyer who has repeatedly defended non-United States citizens, I know that immigration risks always need to be considered in criminal court.

Two DWI convictions presume not being of good moral character for seeking cancellation of immigration removal

Recently, United States Attorney General William Barr — whose legal interpretations on this and other matters bind immigration administrative courts — concluded that two DWI convictions presume that a deportable immigrant seeking cancellation of immigration removal due to extreme hardship, is presumed to fail the statutory requirement that s/he has been “a person of good moral character” for the ten years preceding applying for such relief. Matter of Castillo-Perez, 27 I&N Dec. 664 (A.G. Oct. 25, 2019).

Confer with your lawyer about whether to appeal a trial conviction

Any person convicted of two DWIs or any other crime at trial should consult with his or her lawyer about whether to appeal, and whether at any time to withdraw that appeal.

Whether or not Mr. Castillo-Perez did consider or pursue an appeal for his two DWIs, we know that he entered the United States unlawfully in 1997, married, had three United States citizen children, and worked as a mason for a construction company. Mr. Castillo-Perez twice got convicted of DUI in Virginia, in 2010 and 2012, after having been prosecuted for public drunkenness.

Castillo-Perez “uses the term ‘DUI’ to mean all state and federal impaired-driving offenses, including ‘driving while intoxicated,’ ‘operating under the influence,’ and the like, that make it unlawful for an individual to operate a motor vehicle while impaired. This term does not include lesser included offenses, such as negligent driving, that do not require proof of impairment.”

Multiple DUI and other alcohol convictions also can make one qualify for being a habitual drunkard under immigration law

If a non-United States citizen accumulates multiple alcohol-related convictions (for instance public intoxication) — even if not for two or more DWIs — that risks qualifying as a habitual drunkard, which precludes an immigrant from being found of “good moral character”.

A Virginia DUI felony conviction risks adverse immigration consequences of an aggravated felony

In addition to the foregoing considerations, all non-United States citizens risk adverse immigration consequences from an aggravated felony if convicted for the felony of a third DUI conviction within ten years, if the total of the active and suspended jail time is one year or more.

Northern Virginia DUI lawyer on what one should do if charged with DWI

Anybody charged with a DUI offense should include the following steps to protect themselves:

  • Obtain a qualified lawyer
  • Never operate a vehicle within twenty-four hours of consuming alcohol
  • Beware operating a motor vehicle after consuming medication that might affect driving
  • If convicted, consult with a qualified lawyer about whether to appeal

Northern Virginia DUI lawyer Jonathan L. Katz pursues your best defense against felony, misdemeanor and DUI prosecutions. For a free in-person consultation with Jon Katz about your court-pending DUI or criminal case, please call his staff at 703-383-1100 to schedule a confidential discussion.