DUI and Citizenship: Can They Deny My Application?

Mar 1, 2017 — by James E. Novak Attorney PLLC
Tags: Dui Criminal Law

DUI and CitizenshipTo be eligible to become a naturalized U.S. citizen, applicants must be persons of “good moral character”. In particular, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (UCIS) office will look at your record for the past five years. Unfortunately, their judgment of good moral character is entirely subjective. This means if you have been convicted of a DUI in the past five years, your citizenship could hang on that one misstep. To avoid potential DUI and citizenship conflicts, you need a skilled dui defense attorney like James Novak. He has helped numerous clients in the Phoenix, AZ area.

Should I Include a DUI on My Citizenship Application?

The answer is a resounding yes. You never want to lie in any way on a citizenship application. Because background checks are conducted on all applicants, any past criminal activity, including a DUI, will show up on the report. Attempting to cover up a DUI conviction or any other criminal activity will only hurt your chances at becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen.

Will I Be Denied Citizenship Based on a DUI?

Unfortunately, this is a gray area. The UCIS officer handling your application uses his or her own best judgment when approving or denying applications. If you have been convicted of a DUI, they may not deny your application on that alone. Instead, they will probably ask for more details about the incident, such as:

  • Was that your first/only DUI?
  • What was your blood alcohol content (BAC)?
  • Were there any passengers under 21 in the vehicle with you at the time?
  • Did you cause an accident that resulted in injuries or property damage?

Answer all of the questions surrounding your DUI honestly. Remember, they can find the answers to these questions on their own through a simple background check. Your honesty could help you in this situation.

Additionally, you should focus on your good behavior since the incident, especially if you have only had one DUI conviction. Let the UCIS officer know about any community involvement or volunteering you have done and talk about your positive employment history.

Is There Someone Who Can Help?

Whether you have been convicted of a DUI in the last five years and are applying for citizenship or you are not a U.S. citizen and you are facing DUI charges, you need the assistance of a skilled attorney. If you have already been convicted of a DUI and you want to apply for citizenship, Mr. Novak can review your individual situation and provide you with sound legal advice. In some cases, you may have a good chance at getting your application approved in spite of the conviction. In others, he may recommend waiting until it has been more than five years since the conviction so the DUI cannot affect your application.

If you are currently facing DUI charges, Mr. Novak can provide you with the strong legal defense you need. He will work diligently, reviewing the facts of your case and gather evidence to build a strong defense. His legal representation can secure a reduced sentence or a dismissal of the charge so you can apply for citizenship.

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