Immigration Consequences of a New Jersey DUI/DWI

I am going to be presenting at the New Jersey State Bar Association’s DWI Institute, for more info see here.  It is a full day of seminars on just DWI by some of the best-known attorneys in New Jersey.  My seminar will focus on the immigration consequences of a DUI conviction.  Since the CLE is limited to attorneys, I thought I would share with you some of what I will be discussing in this video and seminar series.

Why is a DUI conviction a problem for immigration?

A New Jersey DUI/DWI conviction can lead to immigration consequences in two general areas.

  1. If it causes you to be removable/deportable.  Meaning you are in the U.S. and because of a New Jersey DUI/DWI you are removed from the U.S.; or
  2. You want to apply for legal status in the U.S. and a New Jersey DUI/DWI conviction causes you to be inadmissible.

Under U.S. Immigration laws, a non-U.S. citizen can be removed from the U.S. or be denied admission into the U.S. for a variety of reasons.  Three major ones are

  1. Aggravated felonies (generally felony conviction that can result in over a year in jail)
  2. Crimes of Moral Turpitude;  or
  3. Controlled Dangerous Substance offenses.

A DUI conviction is problematic because under U.S. immigration laws a DUI can be considered a type of Aggravated Felony known as a Crime of Violence or a Crime of Moral Turpitude.

Aggravated Felony – Crime of Violence

An aggravated felony, of which a Crime of Violence, is a general category, has devastating consequences because it can lead to immediate detention, removal from the U.S., can prevent relief from removal, and creates a 20 year bar to coming back to the U.S.  Aggravated Felonies are delineated at Immigration and Naturalization Act 101(a)(43), which doesn’t specifically include a DUI.  However, under some circumstances a DUI can be considered a “Crime of Violence,” which is defined at 18 USC 16 as:

  1. The use (attempted/threatened use) of physical force against a person or property of another; or
  2. Any other offense that is a felony and that, by its nature, involves a substantial risk that physical force against the person or property of another may be used in the course of committing the offense.

Crime of Moral Turpitude

The Immigration and Naturalization Act doesn’t define what is a Crime of Moral Turpitude (CIMT), but courts have explained it as conduct that shocks the conscious.  In other words, conduct that is inherently base, vile, or depraved, and not acceptable for persons living in a society.  A key factor is whether the crime involves a mental state or intent.

A Simple DUI is neither a Crime of Violence nor a CIMT

No DUI’s are simple, but in this context it means there are no aggravating factors, such as car accident with significant injuries, drug possession, or multiple prior DUI’s.  At its basic level, the State has to prove in a “simple” DUI that:

  1. You drove a vehicle; and
  2. You were under the influence of drugs or alcohol while doing so.

The prosecutor doesn’t have to prove you intended to drive under the influence, only that you did so.  Without some intent a DUI isn’t a CIMT.  Similarly, since DUI’s are not on the list of aggravated felonies and since most DUI’s do not result in a jail for at least one year (federal system’s felony) and there isn’t a “substantial risk that physical force against the person or property of another may be used in the course of committing the offense,” a “simple” DUI isn’t a Crime of Violence.

That isn’t to say that a DUI doesn’t have any immigration consequences.  Stay tuned for our subsequent articles that discuss specific circumstances . . .

So What Do I Do?

If you live out of New Jersey and received a ticket/DUI in Monmouth or Ocean Counties, you can

  1. Download our free traffic ticket book  “Why Pleading Guilty to your New Jersey Traffic Ticket is NOT an option by clicking on the title,”
  2. Download our DUI book, “Arrested for Drunk Driving?  Learn How to Beat the Odds,”
  3. On the menu on the right you will find our immigration books including a tool to help you figure out if you qualify for legal status,
  4. You contact me through this site or the chat feature; or
  5. You can call our knowledgeable staff at 888-695-6169.

Related Topics

Share This Post!

Related Posts

Call Us Today!

New Jersey Immigration Attorney

We're here 24/7.
Call Now!

Eatontown, NJ


286 RT 35
Unit D
Eatontown, NJ 07724


Lakewood, NJ


212 2nd Street
Suite 104
Lakewood, NJ 08701


Newark, NJ


50 Park Place
Suite #1101
Newark, NJ 07102


Edison, NJ


1929 NJ-27
Edison, NJ 08817


1065 US-22 Suite 2B
Bridgewater Township, NJ 08807


Freehold, NJ


36 W Main St, Suite 302,
Freehold, NJ 07728


Copyright 2022 Provencher and Flatt, LLP - All Rights Reserved. Powered by Advantage Attorney Marketing & Cloud Solutions

Free Deportation Risk Assessment

Where you ever caught at by immigration and returned to your country? (¿Dónde alguna vez te pilló inmigrando y regresaste a tu país?)*

Have you ever been arrested for any reason? (¿Alguna vez te han arrestado por alguna razón?)*

How many times have been arrested? (¿Cuántas veces han sido arrestados?)*

Were you arrested for any of the following reasons? (Check all that apply) (¿Te arrestaron por alguna de las siguientes razones?)

Have you ever filed for an immigration benefit and been denied? (¿Alguna vez ha presentado un beneficio de inmigración y se le ha negado?)*

Have you entered the US illegally more than once after 1997? (¿Ha entrado ilegalmente en los Estados Unidos más de una vez después de 1997?)*

Do you owe back child support? (¿Debes manutención infantil?)*

Arrested in New Jersey

Request Your Free Copy

Solicite su copia gratuita

Immigration Book

Request Your Free Copy

Solicite su copia gratuita

Immigration Attorney

Request Your Free Copy

Solicite su copia gratuita

Find Out Immediately If You Qualify for Legal Status


Your privacy is important to us. We will keep the information you provide strictly confidential. We only use your information to determine if you may be eligible for immigration benefits in the United States. The information we provide should not be construed as legal advice and submission of this form does not create an attorney/client relationship.

Ingrese la siguiente información para aceptar los términos y condiciones.

Enter the following information to accept the terms and conditions.

Start Here!

Información Personal / Personal Information


Idioma Preferido*

Preferred Language

Fecha Nacimiento*

Date of Birth

Pais de Nacimiento*

Country of Birth

Entradas a las EEUU / Entries into the US


Fecha Entrada*

Date of Entry

Entrada Legal*

Did you enter legally?



¿Tiene usted padres, conyuge o hijos mayores de 21 anos,Que ha estado o esta en las fuerzas armadas Americanas?*

Do you have a parent, spouse, or child over 21 who is or was in the US military?

¿Tiene usted padres,conyuge o hijos mayores de 21 anos, ciudadanos Americanos o residentes permanentes?*

Do you have a parent, spouse, or child over 21 who is a US citizen or lawful permanent resident?

¿Ha tenido usted, sus padres o sus abuelos un estado legal en los EEUU?*

Did you, your parents, or your grandparents ever have legal status in the U.S.?

¿Esta considerando matrimonio con us ciudadano Americano o residente permanente? ( mismo sexo incluido)*

Are you considering marriage to a US citizen or green card holder (same-sex marriage included)?



¿Alguien ha peticionado a su favor por motivos de inmigración?*

Has anyone ever filed an immigration petition for you before?

¿Ha sido usted deportado o esta usted en procedimiento de deportación ahora?*

Have you ever been deported or are you in deportation proceedings now?

Ha sido abusado por sus padres, conyuge o hijo mayor de edad?*

Has your parent, spouse, or adult child been abusive to you?

¿Si es asi, fue previo a Abril 30 del 2001?*

If so, was it before April 30, 2001?



¿Fue usted, conyuge, sus padres, pareja o sus hijos victimas de de un crimen violento en los EEUU?*

Were you, your parents, siblings, spouse, partner, or children a victim of a violent crime in the US?

¿Es usted menor de 21 años y soltero?*

Are you under 21 and not married?

¿Tiene usted un padre, conyuge o hijo menor de 15 anos con requerimientos especiales médicos (dificultades de estudio, alergias severas, asma u otra condición medica severa)?*

Do you have a parent, spouse, or child under 15 with medical or special needs (learning disability, severe allergies or asthma, or other serious medical condition)?

¿Fue usted maltratado, abusado o abandonado por sus padres?*

Did your parents mistreat, abuse, or abandon you?



¿Tenia usted 30 anos o menos en Junio, 15, 2012?*

Were you 30 years or under on June 15, 2012?

¿Tenía usted 15 años o menos en su primera entrada en los EEUU?*

Were you 15 years old or younger on your first entry into the US?

Click below now to see if you qualify!

¡Haga clic abajo ahora para ver si califica!

New Jersey Immigration Attorney

Get Instant Access

Enter your name and email address below to get instant access.

New Jersey Immigration Attorney

¡Obtenga acceso instantáneo ahora!

Ingrese su nombre y dirección de correo electrónico a continuación