A DUI can result in a denied DACA application. If you intend to apply for deferred status, you should fight your DUI or have it expunged.
The DACA program (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) was created by President Obama as a way for young immigrants to become citizens. The idea is that undocumented young people, who arrived in the US before the age of 16, can be put on “deferred” status and earn a pathway to legal citizenship. However, not all applications are accepted, and you could be turned down if you have a DUI on your record.
Under current rules, DACA applications are only approved if the applicant is of “good moral character.” Unfortunately, the DACA policy does not give a clear definition of what this means. But the process includes a criminal background check, and any DUI on your record will be visible. Whether your DUI counts against you will depend largely on the official who evaluates your case. Some won’t hold it against you, which is more in line with how DUI affects documented immigrants. Others will decide it breaks the “good moral character” test and deny your application.
There are two things you can do to maximize your chances of success:
- If you have not yet been convicted of DUI, fight the charge. If you can win your case in court, or get the DUI reduced to a lesser charge, there will be no DUI on your record at all.
- If you have already been convicted of DUI, seek to get the DUI expunged. An expunged DUI is less likely to count against you.
A DUI lawyer can help you with either of these steps.
Note: this information is current as of the time of publication. However, DACA rules are still changing.
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