Law Office of Ronald A. Cabanayan
Law Office ofRonald A. Cabanayan

DUI ~ Criminal Defense ~ Immigration/Naturalization

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Are you worried a DUI will affect your path to citizenship?

As someone who moved to California from another country, you have likely experienced a considerable number of changes in your life. With those changes may have come a great deal of stress, and over the years, you have done your best to handle the stress as best as possible. After all, you want to become a citizen of the United States one day.

However, your stress levels may have reached a new high because police stopped your vehicle and accused you of drunk driving. You may have felt immensely caught off guard by this accusation, and because of your limited knowledge of laws and police procedures, you may not have even known if police were treating you properly. Now, you worry that you will face a DUI conviction and lose your ability to become a citizen.

Criminal conviction effects on citizenship

Before you begin to panic, you may want to remember that a number of factors could influence your ability to go through the naturalization process. When it comes to DUI, you may want to pay particular attention to how the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services may view your good moral character. Having good moral character is a stipulation that citizenship applicants must meet in order to move through the process.

Criminal convictions could influence the USCIS evaluation of your moral character, but not every criminal charge may do so. In particular, if you end up with two or more convictions that resulted in sentencing of five or more years, the USCIS may consider that to show a lack of good moral character. Other issues that could affect their view are habitual drunkenness and convictions relating drug crimes.

DUI charges and convictions

In many cases, a DUI charge is considered a misdemeanor unless there are aggravating factors involved. If police considered your actions reckless or malicious or believed that you had a negative intent behind your actions, the USCIS could view those details as a detriment to your good moral character. If the charge you face is a felony, a conviction could not only derail your path to citizenship, but it could also result in potential deportation.

Fighting back

Because you have worked hard to get where you are today, and you do not want a simple lapse in judgment or even an oversight on the part of a police officer to negatively impact your path to citizenship, you may want to explore your legal options. Defending against the charge could help you work toward avoiding a conviction, and having a legal advocate on your side who understands both criminal defense and immigration law could prove invaluable to you.

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Law Office ofRonald A. Cabanayan

31 N. 2nd Street
Suite 321
San Jose, CA 95113

Phone: 408-758-5673
Fax: 408-409-2547
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