Your boss invites you and your colleagues to the bar after work. You tell him that you have to drive, but he replies that a couple of beers never hurt anyone. Unfortunately, the police stop you on the way home and charge you with driving under the influence (DUI). You were sure you weren’t drunk, but the police say otherwise.

It is no secret that the current government is not keen on immigrants. During this administration, there has been a continual push to make it easier to deport people. Last October, the attorney general used his authority to this end and made it even more important for immigrants to avoid driving while under the influence. Using a process called certification, he reexamined a case and ruled that two or more DUI offenses can be taken as evidence that you do not have the “good moral character” on which many immigration decisions rely.

While a San Jose DUI offense will not get you deported on its own, you need to be aware of how immigration authorities could use a DUI conviction to build a case against you that ultimately leads to that action.

It is easy to pick up charges for traffic offenses such as speeding or negligent driving. Add in your DUI, and before you know it, you have a list of convictions which an immigration court may use as proof that you should not be allowed to stay in the country. They will place far greater importance on these convictions than on the fact that you are a hard-working family man, highly respected by his employer and loved by the neighbors.

That is why it is vital you seek experienced legal help to defend a DUI charge or any other driving offense you face. Whether you are in San Jose without documentation, midway through your citizenship application, or already the holder of green card, you need to defend any charges vigorously.