DUI Convictions – Good Moral Character:
The attorney General recently ruled that evidence of two or more convictions for driving under the influence during the relevant period of Good Moral Character establishes a rebuttable presumption that the alien lacks good moral character during that time.
This came in to play during a Cancellation of Removal case that was Decided by the Attorney General on October 25, 2019. In that case, the Respondent was non legal permanent resident applying for cancellation of removal in Immigration Court. The period for good moral character – as it is on all cases for non legal permanent residents applying for Cancellation of Removal – was 10 years. Respondent had two DUI convictions in the 10 year period. Pursuant to the Attorney General, a rebuttable presumption was established that Respondent was not eligible for Cancellation because he lacked of Good Moral Character – on account of his two DUI convictions within the 10 year period. Respondent was unable to overcome the presumption for lack of good moral character. His case was therefore denied and he was removed to Mexico.
This same presumption – the rebuttable presumption of a lack of good moral character on the basis of two or more DUI conviction during the relevant period of Good Moral Character can and likely will apply to applicants for Naturalization. To be eligible for Naturalization, an Applicant must establish, among other things, that he or she is a person of good moral character during the relevant period – which is 3 or 5 years from the date of applying. If the Applicant has had two convictions of DUIs within those 5 years, then it can be assumed the rebuttable presumption will be applied. Again, this is a rebuttable presumption that Applicant lacks good moral character. If Applicant is unable to overcome the presumption, then he or she will not be eligible for Naturalization. The case will be denied.
Keep in mind, however, there are many ways to overcome the rebuttable presumption for lack of good moral character. It takes strong evidence and compelling arguments to overcome the presumption. We are well versed in these cases. So please do not hesitate to contact our Office if you think you may fall into the newly rebuttable presumption based on DUI convictions.