What are the DUI Consequences for Immigrants in Tennessee?

It is obvious that drunk driving carries serious consequences for anyone arrested for DUI in Tennessee, but for non-citizens the consequences can be even more severe. Getting convicted of a DUI can change your life forever, because there are a number of consequences. However, non-citizens can, depending on the circumstances and severity of the crime, also face deportation from the U.S.

Below are some of the consequences you could face if convicted of a first time DUI (.08 Blood Alcohol Content) in Tennessee:

  • License revocation for 1 year
  • Mandatory alcohol & drug treatment program
  • Requirement to pay restitution for physical injury or loss
  • Fines from $350-$1,500
  • Fees, court costs, higher insurance rates and higher insurance rates
  • Installing an Ignition Interlock Device in your car

All of these fines and costs could cost upwards of $5000. These consequences do not take into consideration DUIs with injuries, or if you are driving on a suspended license.

Now, let me be clear: not every non-citizen who is convicted of a DUI is going to be deported from the U.S. The U.S. Immigration laws require a “crime involving moral turpitude” (CIMT) as grounds for inadmissibility to the United States. A DUI only falls under a CIMT when the crime includes an aggravating factor, which involves the intent of the individual to break the law.

Your first offence Tennessee DUI that does not cause injuries does not fall under the definition of CMIT as long as there is no aggravating factor present. You may have been out celebrating with friends and you were not aware of your level of impairment when you decided to make the quick drive home. While you will still face serious consequences, you need not worry about being separated from your family and deported. It is critical that you know and understand your rights and responsibilities if you are a non-citizen who has been accused of drunk driving.

If you do get arrested in TN for drunk driving, your first call should be to consult with an experienced Nashville DUI attorney who is also familiar with Immigration law. When you know your rights you do not have to live in fear of removal from the United States when you are in the process of applying for citizenship and you have a brush with the law.