If you are a legal permanent resident (green card holder) having a DUI will almost certainly delay your ability to seek Citizenship for either 3 or 5 years, depending on what program you are seeking Citizenship under. There may be creative ways to avoid this delay, especially if the arresting police or sheriff’s department is willing to cooperate, so make sure you consult with an experienced Crimmigration Attorney.
If you are in any other status other than a citizen or green card holder, having a DUI can result in the stripping of your status and even deportation. For instance, individuals with non immigrant (temporary) visas, or people with DACA, will almost certainly lose that status if they are convicted of a DUI. In some cases, even just an arrest for DUI can result in revocation of a visa. While a DUI is generally not considered a crime involving moral turpitude according to the BIA, it can result in the loss of discretionary benefits, such as DACA.
Even for individuals seeking consular process, such as through the I-601A Waivers process, can suffer consequences from a DUI. That is because many consular posts will view a recent DUI as a problem with alcoholism, which could delay the entire visa process by several years. Even worse, some individuals with a recent DUI may find themselves outside the United States for a year or more, completing a sobriety program to the satisfaction of the Department of State (DOS).
A DUI is that it often puts immigrants on the radar of immigration authorities, such as ICE, for the first time. It is not uncommon for individuals to live many years in the United States without any incident before being arrested for a DUI and finding ICE knocking on their door. Before that happens, consult with an experienced Crimmigration attorney who can counsel you on ICE’s investigative practices and the Fourth Amendment protections you might have to shield yourself from becoming an ICE target.