Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Drunk Drivers Beware!

Currently, a conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI), or driving while intoxicated (DWI), is not an automatic ground for inadmissibility or deportation.  But, all of that could change if the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act becomes law.

Section 3702 of the Act creates a new ground of inadmissibility and a new ground of deportation: Habitual Drunk Drivers.  A Habitual Drunk Driver is defined as a person who has three or more DUI or DWI convictions.

One key difference between the new ground of inadmissibility and the new ground of deportability is that in order for an alien to be deportable, at least one of the convictions must occur after the passage of the Act (click here for a discussion on the difference between inadmissibility anddeportability).  Because this provision is not in the section of the Act defining inadmissibility, that could lead to the conclusion that Congress intends for this provision to be applied retroactively for those who are present in the country illegally, or who apply for admission in the future.  That is, even though DUI and DWI convictions do not currently render an alien inadmissible, if the Act passes, then those aliens who are present in the country illegally and who currently have three or more DUI or DWI convictions could find themselves in immigration trouble.

By:  William J. Kovatch, Jr.
(703) 837-8832

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