One of the most common criminal charges is drunk driving. A DUI charge means that someone was caught driving above the legal drinking limit, which increases the chance of serious auto accidents.
For immigrants, a criminal charge can spell disaster. Immigrants may need to learn about a few facts that could help them if they’re pulled over by the police under the suspicion of drunk driving. Here’s what you should know:
Fact 1: Immigrants can plead the Fifth
Drivers have the right to plead the Fifth if they’re asked questions by the police. Pleading the Fifth allows people to refrain from making any self-incriminating comments that might be used against them in a court of law. People who know they have not committed crimes can also benefit by pleading the Fifth.
While many non-citizens don’t realize it, the Fifth Amendment does apply to them.
Fact 2: Non-citizens have a right against unreasonable searches
The police do not have the right to search vehicles unless there is probable cause or a warrant. An officer may not have probable cause unless there is evidence that would suggest a crime was or will be committed. For example, if a driver has an open bottle of alcohol beside them when an officer stops them, then the officer has probable cause that the driver was drinking and, thus, makes a reasonable search.
Much like the Fifth Amendment, the right against unreasonable searches under the Fourth Amendment also applies to immigrants. However, there may be exceptions if there is a search at a border.
Fact 3: A DUI charge could lead to deportation
Criminal offenses, such as trafficking, assault and drug dealing can lead to deportation. However, drunk driving may not be considered a violent crime or aggravated felony. A DUI charge may not directly lead to deportation, but it can make it harder for immigrants to renew an immigrant visa.
It’s important that immigrants understand how DUI charges can affect their future. Immigrants facing criminal charges may need to learn about their legal rights.