When you are an immigrant to the United States, you likely want to keep your visa or Green Card and hopefully move toward becoming a naturalized citizen. Yet if you end up with a criminal conviction, even a DUI, you could hinder your ability to become a citizen and stay in the United States long-term.

Facing a DUI as an immigrant

Last October, Attorney General William Barr made it more difficult for some immigrants to fight deportation: specifically those with old criminal records or those with two or more DUI convictions. Also, according to federal data, DUIs are one of the most common convictions for those arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

While DUIs aren’t a deportable offense on their own, Barr’s ruling made an immigrant having two or more DUI convictions on their record to no longer have “good moral character.” Having good moral character for a certain number of years is one necessary part of becoming a citizen.

Also, if you are arrested for a DUI and have no legal status, your DUI can result in your deportation.

What to do if you’re charged with a DUI

If you are facing DUI charges want to keep your immigration record clean, you should contact an experienced immigration attorney. An immigration attorney can help assess how to get the charges against you reduced. Getting the charges reduced will allow you to maintain your immigration status and your ability to stay in the United States and eventually become a citizen.