How Do DUIs Affect Your “Good Moral Character” Designation for Immigration Purposes?
Whether applying to immigrate to the US or fighting a deportation order, showing your good moral character is crucial. In 2019, the U.S. Attorney General made a decision that affected how courts across the country defined good moral character. He declared that two DUI offenses within a specific timeframe are proof that someone lacks good moral character.
Some might argue that even one DUI offense shows flawed moral character — but it’s vital to remember that not all DUI convictions are justified. Blood test results or breathalyzer results used to convict can be wrong. Machines can be faulty, and prescription medicines can affect results. It is also easy to drink slightly more than you intended or to still have alcohol in your system from the night before. That does not necessarily make you a bad person.
What’s the new requirement?
The statutory period within which you need to show good moral character depends on the particular process. Typically it is five years when applying for residency and 10 years when fighting to have a deportation order canceled.
Thankfully the decision on two DUIs is not absolute. You still have the opportunity to provide other evidence to show that you are of good moral character. However, it certainly makes things more difficult.
Challenging a removal order requires solid legal arguments. It involves compiling a variety of evidence to support your case to stay in the country. It is not something you should try to do alone.
The new federal administration has already shown a willingness to take a more tolerant attitude towards people from other countries who wish to live in the United States. Whether they take steps to change the two DUI judgment remains to be seen. In the meantime, take no chances with your future. If you’re facing DUI charges, speak to an attorney right away.
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