Could Canadian Justin Bieber’s Plea Deal Cause Him Immigration Problems?

In January, pop star Justin Bieber made headlines when he was arrested in Florida. The then 19-year old was drag racing an exotic sports car on a neighborhood street when Miami police caught up with him. Bieber, who was belligerent with police, failed a field sobriety test after officers noticed the odor of alcohol on his breath. Bieber later admitted to drinking some alcohol, using marijuana and taking prescription pills. At the time of the arrest, Bieber also had an expired driver’s license. He was charged with driving under the influence, resisting arrest, and driving without a valid license.

News of Bieber’s arrest spread like wild fire. An official White House petition was created using the White House website shortly after Bieber’s arrest. The petition asked that the government deport Canadian born Justin Bieber and revoke his green card. The petition drew over 270,000 signatures. While the White House did not directly comment on the petition, it did create a stir in the media about whether a DUI conviction could be a valid reason for a person to be deported. While the simple answer to this question is of course, it depends on the facts of the particular situation.

Crimes that lead to deportation are typically aggravated felonies and crimes involving ‘moral turpitude’. In Kansas, a first-time DUI charge is usually a misdemeanor criminal offense. Like most other states, a Kansas DUI does not have an intent element. This means that a person can be found guilty of DUI regardless of whether he or she intended to drive under the influence. In Kansas, a simple DUI would not be a crime of moral turpitude unless it had an aggravating factor.

The good news for Justin Bieber, is that his DUI charge was dropped. In mid-August it was announced that Justin Bieber had accepted a plea deal. As part of the deal Bieber agreed to plead guilty to non-violent resisting arrest and his DUI charge was reduced to “reckless driving”. However, since Bieber is Canadian and was not present in court when the Judge formally accepted the deal, the plea stipulated that Bieber’s attorney must discuss with him the possible immigration consequences of the agreement. The stipulation went on to further say that INS (Immigration and Naturalization Services) will consider this conviction in any deportation decision.

It is unlikely that Bieber will face deportation proceedings as the result of his plea deal with Miami prosecutors. However, there is a lot that can be taken away from this case. Most importantly, is that if a person is arrested for DUI and he or she is not a U.S. it is important that he or she speak with an experienced DUI defense attorney who is familiar with immigration law as soon as possible. Upon meeting with a DUI defense attorney, a non-citizen needs to make sure that he or she informs the attorney of his or her immigration status. The attorney will need to know a person’s immigration status so that he or she can properly advise the client as to how to proceed with the case.

If you are a non-citizen who has been arrested and charged with driving under the influence, it is important you to speak with a skilled Kansas DUI Defense Attorney that is knowledgeable about immigration law. Only an experienced Kansas DUI Defense Attorney can properly advise you of your rights and make sure that all of your defenses are explored. To schedule a free and completely confidential consultation with one of our Kansas DUI Defense Attorneys, call The Whitman Law Offices today at (785) 843-9460.  With more than 35 years of experience handling DUI matters, Attorney Charles E. Whitman, is the attorney you can trust to make sure your rights are protected.

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