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Will I get deported if I get a DUI in Florida?




Understanding DUI and Deportation in Florida

When facing a DUI charge in Florida, it is crucial to understand how it can impact your immigration status. Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is a serious offense, and its consequences can extend beyond fines and jail time, potentially affecting your ability to stay in the United States.

What is a DUI? A DUI in Florida is defined as operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. It also includes driving under the influence of drugs. The penalties for a DUI can include fines, license suspension, and even imprisonment.

In Florida, a DUI charge involves operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. Additionally, driving under the influence of drugs also qualifies as a DUI. The penalties for a DUI can be severe, including:

  • Fines: Monetary penalties that can significantly impact your financial stability.
  • License Suspension: Temporary loss of driving privileges, which can affect your daily life and employment.
  • Imprisonment: Jail time that can vary depending on the severity of the offense and any prior convictions.

The severity of these penalties underscores the importance of understanding the broader implications of a DUI charge, especially for non-citizens. A DUI conviction can have far-reaching consequences beyond the immediate legal penalties, particularly concerning immigration status.

For more information on how DUI charges can affect specific groups, such as Florida nurses or commercial airline pilots, exploring these resources can provide valuable insights.

Immigration Consequences of a DUI Conviction

For non-citizens, a DUI conviction can have severe immigration consequences. It is essential to understand the potential risks to your immigration status if convicted of a DUI in Florida.

How DUI Affects Different Immigration Statuses

The impact of a DUI conviction varies depending on your immigration status. For instance, a DUI can affect visa holders, green card holders, and those applying for citizenship differently. Understanding these nuances is critical for protecting your status.

DUI accident scene

What happens if a visa holder gets a DUI in Florida? A DUI conviction can result in visa revocation or denial of re-entry into the United States. It is crucial to consult with an immigration attorney immediately.

Visa holders, particularly those on temporary visas such as H-1B or student visas, may face immediate consequences. A DUI arrest can trigger a review of your visa status, potentially leading to revocation. Additionally, if you travel outside the U.S., you might be denied re-entry. This is because a DUI can be seen as a violation of the terms of your visa, indicating you may be a threat to public safety.

Green card holders, or lawful permanent residents, are not immune to the repercussions of a DUI conviction. While a single DUI may not necessarily lead to deportation, it can complicate your status, especially if there are aggravating factors such as multiple offenses or involvement in an accident causing injury. A DUI can also affect your ability to apply for U.S. citizenship, as it may be viewed as a sign of poor moral character.

For those applying for citizenship, a DUI conviction can be a significant barrier. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) requires applicants to demonstrate good moral character for a certain period before applying. A DUI conviction can be seen as evidence of a lack of moral character, potentially resulting in a denial of your application.

Aggravating Factors and Their Impact

Aggravating factors can exacerbate the immigration consequences of a DUI. These factors include:

  • Multiple DUI Offenses: Repeated DUI convictions can indicate a pattern of reckless behavior, which can lead to harsher immigration penalties.
  • DUI with Injury: If your DUI resulted in injury to another person, it can be classified as a more serious offense, leading to stricter immigration consequences.
  • High Blood Alcohol Content (BAC): A BAC significantly above the legal limit can be seen as an aggravating factor, increasing the severity of the penalties.
  • Child Endangerment: If you were arrested for DUI with a minor in the vehicle, it could lead to more severe charges and immigration consequences.

Understanding these aggravating factors is crucial. For example, if you are a nurse or another professional with a DUI conviction involving high BAC or injury, the stakes are even higher. It could jeopardize not only your immigration status but also your professional license.

Steps to Take After a DUI Arrest

If you are a non-citizen facing a DUI charge, taking immediate action is essential:

  1. Consult with an Immigration Attorney: An attorney specializing in both DUI defense and immigration law can provide crucial guidance.
  2. Document Everything: Keep detailed records of your arrest, charges, and any interactions with law enforcement. This information can be vital for your defense.
  3. Comply with All Legal Requirements: Attend all court hearings, complete any mandated programs, and follow your attorney’s advice closely.
  4. Understand Your Rights: Familiarize yourself with your legal rights and the potential consequences of a DUI conviction on your immigration status.

Taking these steps can help mitigate the impact of a DUI on your immigration status. For instance, if you are an UCF student facing DUI charges, understanding the specific implications for your student visa is crucial.

In summary, the immigration consequences of a DUI conviction in Florida can be severe and far-reaching. Whether you are a visa holder, green card holder, or applying for citizenship, understanding how a DUI can impact your status is essential. Taking proactive steps and seeking expert legal advice can make a significant difference in protecting your future in the United States.

Defending Against DUI Charges to Protect Your Immigration Status

Given the severe implications of a DUI conviction on your immigration status, mounting a strong defense is crucial. Knowing your legal options and working with an experienced DUI attorney can make a significant difference.

Several defense strategies can be employed to fight DUI charges, such as challenging the validity of the traffic stop, questioning the accuracy of BAC tests, and negotiating plea deals. An experienced attorney can help tailor the best defense strategy for your case.

When defending against DUI charges, one of the first steps is to scrutinize the circumstances of your arrest. Was the traffic stop lawful? Did the officer have probable cause? These questions are essential because any evidence obtained from an unlawful stop might be inadmissible in court.

What is probable cause? Probable cause is a reasonable basis for believing that a crime may have been committed, which is necessary for a lawful arrest or search.

In addition to challenging the legality of the traffic stop, it is crucial to question the accuracy of the chemical tests used to determine your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Breathalyzers and other chemical tests are not infallible. Factors such as improper calibration, maintenance issues, and operator error can lead to inaccurate results. An experienced DUI attorney can scrutinize these aspects to challenge the validity of the test results.

Another defense strategy involves negotiating plea deals. In some cases, it may be possible to reduce a DUI charge to a lesser offense, such as reckless driving. This can significantly lessen the impact on your immigration status. A knowledgeable attorney can negotiate with the prosecution to reach a favorable plea deal that minimizes the consequences of a conviction.

Challenging Field Sobriety Tests

Field sobriety tests are another area where a strong defense can be mounted. These tests are often subjective and can be influenced by various factors such as medical conditions, fatigue, or even the type of footwear you were wearing at the time of the test. Challenging the reliability of field sobriety tests can weaken the prosecution’s case against you.

What are field sobriety tests? Field sobriety tests are physical and cognitive exercises administered by law enforcement officers to determine if a driver is impaired.

Common field sobriety tests include the walk-and-turn, one-leg stand, and horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN). Each of these tests has specific procedures that must be followed to ensure accuracy. Any deviation from these procedures can be used to challenge the results in court. For example, medical conditions such as inner ear problems or neurological disorders can affect balance and coordination, leading to false positives in these tests.

Moreover, environmental factors like uneven surfaces, poor lighting, and adverse weather conditions can also impact the accuracy of field sobriety tests. An experienced DUI attorney can investigate these factors and present them as part of your defense strategy.

The Importance of Expert Witnesses

Expert witnesses can play a crucial role in defending against DUI charges. These professionals can provide testimony on various aspects of your case, such as the reliability of chemical tests, the validity of field sobriety tests, and the potential impact of medical conditions on test results. Their expertise can help cast doubt on the prosecution’s evidence and strengthen your defense.

For instance, a toxicologist can testify about the potential inaccuracies of BAC tests, while a medical expert can explain how certain health conditions might affect your performance on field sobriety tests. Utilizing expert witnesses can provide a more comprehensive defense and improve your chances of a favorable outcome.

Understanding the Role of Immigration Law in DUI Defense

When facing DUI charges as a non-citizen, it is essential to work with an attorney who understands both DUI defense and immigration law. The intersection of these two areas of law can be complex, and having an attorney with expertise in both fields can be invaluable.

An attorney with knowledge of immigration law can help you understand the potential consequences of a DUI conviction on your immigration status and develop a defense strategy that minimizes these risks. For example, they can advise you on how a plea deal might impact your eligibility for certain visas or green card status.

Additionally, they can help you navigate the immigration court system if your case leads to deportation proceedings. Understanding the nuances of immigration law and how it interacts with DUI defense is crucial for protecting your future in the United States.

For more information on the impact of DUI charges on various professional licenses, you can explore our detailed guide on DUI and professional licenses. It’s essential to understand how a DUI conviction can affect your career and take proactive steps to mitigate these consequences.

In conclusion, defending against DUI charges requires a comprehensive approach that considers both the legal and immigration implications. By working with an experienced DUI attorney, you can develop a robust defense strategy that protects your rights and minimizes the impact on your immigration status.


If you are facing a DUI charge and are concerned about its impact on your immigration status, seeking legal assistance is imperative. An attorney experienced in both DUI defense and immigration law can provide the guidance and representation you need.

Choosing the Right Attorney

When selecting an attorney, look for someone with a proven track record in handling DUI cases and understanding immigration law. Their expertise can be invaluable in navigating the complexities of your case and protecting your future in the United States.

Here are some key factors to consider when choosing the right attorney:

  • Experience: Ensure the attorney has extensive experience in both DUI defense and immigration law. This dual expertise is crucial for understanding the nuances of how a DUI charge can affect your immigration status.
  • Track Record: Look for an attorney with a proven track record of successfully defending clients against DUI charges and protecting their immigration status. Client testimonials and case results can provide insight into their effectiveness.
  • Communication: Effective communication is essential. Your attorney should be able to explain complex legal concepts in a way that you can understand and keep you informed throughout the process.
  • Compassion: Choose an attorney who demonstrates compassion and understanding of your situation. Facing DUI charges and potential immigration consequences can be incredibly stressful, and having a supportive attorney can make a significant difference.

How an Attorney Can Help

Working with an experienced attorney can provide several benefits, including:

  • Legal Guidance: An attorney can guide you through the legal process, explaining your rights and options at each step. They can help you understand the potential consequences of a DUI conviction on your immigration status and develop a defense strategy tailored to your specific situation.
  • Defense Strategy: Your attorney can employ various defense strategies to fight the DUI charges, such as challenging the legality of the traffic stop, questioning the accuracy of BAC tests, and negotiating plea deals. These strategies can help minimize the impact of the charges on your immigration status.
  • Representation: An attorney can represent you in court, advocating on your behalf and working to achieve the best possible outcome. Their expertise in both DUI defense and immigration law can be crucial in protecting your rights and future.

The legal process for DUI charges can be complex, especially when immigration status is involved. Here’s a brief overview of what to expect:

  1. Arrest and Charges: If you are arrested for a DUI, you will be charged and given a court date. It is essential to contact an attorney as soon as possible to begin building your defense.
  2. Pre-Trial Proceedings: During the pre-trial phase, your attorney will gather evidence, file motions, and negotiate with the prosecution. This phase is critical for identifying weaknesses in the prosecution’s case and exploring potential plea deals.
  3. Trial: If your case goes to trial, your attorney will present your defense, cross-examine witnesses, and challenge the prosecution’s evidence. The goal is to achieve a not-guilty verdict or a favorable plea deal that minimizes the impact on your immigration status.
  4. Post-Trial: If convicted, your attorney can help you navigate the post-trial process, including appeals and addressing any immigration consequences. They can also assist with any necessary steps to protect your immigration status.

Additional Resources

For more information on how DUI charges can affect various professional licenses and careers, explore our detailed guides:

What is a DUI? A DUI in Florida is defined as operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. It also includes driving under the influence of drugs. The penalties for a DUI can include fines, license suspension, and even imprisonment.

Additionally, understanding the potential immigration consequences of a DUI conviction is crucial. For non-citizens, a DUI conviction can lead to deportation proceedings, denial of visa or green card applications, and other severe immigration consequences. This makes it even more important to seek expert legal assistance.

For a comprehensive guide on the collateral consequences of DUIs, including impacts on child custody, auto insurance rates, and more, visit our Florida Guide to the Collateral Consequences of DUIs.

In summary, facing DUI charges as a non-citizen in Florida can have far-reaching consequences on your immigration status. Seeking legal help from an attorney experienced in both DUI defense and immigration law is essential for protecting your rights and future in the United States.

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Infographic depicting the words Will I get deported if I get a DUI in Florida?


Can a DUI affect my visa application?

Yes, a DUI can affect your visa application. If you are applying for a visa, a DUI conviction can be considered a negative factor during the application process. It may lead to delays, additional scrutiny, or even denial of your visa application.

Will a DUI conviction lead to deportation?

A DUI conviction alone may not automatically lead to deportation, but it can be a significant factor. If the DUI is combined with other criminal offenses or if it is deemed a crime of moral turpitude, it could trigger deportation proceedings. It is crucial to consult with an attorney to understand your specific situation.

What are the immigration consequences of multiple DUI convictions?

Multiple DUI convictions can have severe immigration consequences. They can lead to increased scrutiny during immigration applications, potential inadmissibility, and a higher risk of deportation. Each additional conviction compounds the seriousness of the situation.

How can I protect my immigration status if I am charged with a DUI?

Protecting your immigration status if charged with a DUI involves working with an experienced attorney who understands both DUI defense and immigration law. Legal strategies may include challenging the validity of the traffic stop, questioning the accuracy of BAC tests, and negotiating plea deals. Prompt legal assistance is crucial to minimize the impact on your immigration status.


Explore other practice areas we serve to understand how we can assist you in various legal matters:

DUI Impact on College Students UCF Students and DUI Charges
Military DUI in Florida DUI Defense for Florida Nurses
DUI Defense for Airline Pilots DUI Charges for Orlando Tourists
Undocumented and DUI in Florida DUI Defense for Florida Teachers
Defending Minors Charged with DUI DUI Defense for Truck Drivers
DUI Impact on Security Clearance Defending Women Charged with DUI
DUI Impact on Professional Licenses Defending Engineers Charged with DUI
DUI Arrest and Medical Licenses DUI Impact on Veteran Benefits

Top-Rated DUI Lawyers Serving Florida

Looking for the best DUI lawyers in Florida? Our distinguished team of attorneys is committed to offering you the best possible defense against your DUI charges.

  • John Vallillo: As a stalwart in the Florida legal scene, John Vallillo has earned his stripes through a consistent record of case dismissals and proactive defense. His background as both a prosecutor and defense attorney enriches his strategic defense planning with invaluable insights.
  • Joe Easton: Renowned for crafting winning defenses, Joe Easton’s approach to legal advocacy in Florida combines thorough preparation with aggressive representation. His notable recognitions and ratings stand testament to his exceptional service and client-focused approach.
  • Joel Leppard: Joel Leppard infuses every DUI case with a level of personal commitment and innovative thinking that sets him apart. His leadership has not only grown Leppard Law into a top-rated criminal defense law firm but also ensured that clients receive empathetic, effective legal care.

Hear From Our Satisfied Clients

At the forefront of our DUI practice is a deep-seated commitment to client satisfaction. Each case is handled with utmost care, as echoed in the appreciative feedback from those we represent. You can read more 5 star reviews here.








Take the Next Step: Secure Your Future with Leppard Law

Facing a DUI charge can be incredibly stressful, especially when your immigration status is at stake. At Leppard Law, we understand the gravity of your situation and are here to provide the expert legal assistance you need.

Imagine having a personal relationship with your attorney—someone who knows you as well as they know your case. At Leppard Law, we treat our clients like family, always putting their best interests first and fighting for the best possible outcome.

But don’t just take our word for it. Our commitment to excellence has earned us numerous accolades, including:

  • Highlighted among the “Top Personal Injury Lawyers in Orlando, FL” for 2023 by Expertise
  • Named as one of the “Top Personal Injury Attorneys near Sanford, FL” for 2023 by Thumbtack
  • Listed among the “Best Car Accident Lawyers in Sanford” from 2016-2023 by Expertise
  • Recognized as “Best Lawyers in Orlando, FL” by BirdsEye in 2019
  • Ranked as one of the “Top 10 DUI Attorneys near Orlando, FL” by Thumbtack in 2023

Our team of top-rated criminal defense attorneys is ready to stand by your side. With over 60 years of combined experience, our lawyers are renowned for their trial advocacy and skillful negotiations, achieving countless dismissals and reductions for our clients.

Don’t let a DUI charge jeopardize your future. Rest easy and pick up the phone. Call us today at 407-476-4111 to schedule a free consultation. Let us provide the support and legal expertise you deserve.

Experience the difference for yourself. Contact Leppard Law: DUI Attorneys today and take the first step toward securing your future.

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Legally Reviewed by Joe Easton

Experienced Florida DUI Attorney

Legally reviewed by Joe Easton and the content team, this article reflects the firm’s 60 years of combined criminal defense expertise. Joe Easton, with his extensive experience and strategic prowess in DUI and criminal defense, offers more than just legal representation; he brings a commitment to turning legal challenges into triumphs. His approach, combining tenacity in the courtroom with personalized client care, ensures your DUI case is not just defended but championed with dedication and expertise.

Learn More About Joe Easton