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Is DUI a Moral Turpitude? (Examples & Statistics For 2024)

Driving Under the Influence, or DUI, is generally considered a crime of moral turpitude, which refers to conduct that is considered contrary to community standards of justice, honesty, or good morals.
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What is Moral Turpitude?

According to DL, moral turpitude refers to acts that are fundamentally dishonest, morally wrong, or contrary to the standards of a “decent society” [1].

This concept is often relevant in immigration law, where crimes involving moral turpitude can lead to serious consequences for non-citizens, such as visa denial or deportation. However, crimes involving moral turpitude can also impact citizens, particularly regarding professional licenses, security clearances, and other important aspects of life.

It’s important to note that “crimes involving moral turpitude” are not a specific offense but rather a classification that can be applied to various crimes based on their nature and circumstances. Crimes involving moral turpitude typically include acts committed with reckless disregard for the potential harm caused and with a clear intention to deceive, defraud, or harm another person.

The defining factor in Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude is the evil intent behind the action, which sets these crimes apart from others where the consequences may be unintended or due to negligence – the agency stated.

What Makes a DUI a Crime of Moral Turpitude?

While a single DUI charge may not be considered a crime of moral turpitude, certain aggravating circumstances can elevate it to that status.

According to the SimmrinLawGroup, driving with a high blood alcohol content (BAC), even if the driver is speeding and is involved in a car accident, does not necessarily elevate the crime to one of moral turpitude. Violent behavior with malintent must be present. If illegal drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, and methamphetamine are present, it can raise the charge to a crime of moral turpitude [2].

Several factors can elevate a DUI to a crime of moral turpitude, including:

  • Driving with a suspended license
  • Endangering a child
  • Causing a fatality in an accident
  • Drug use

Also Read: Green Card Holder & Misdemeanor Trouble?

What are Some Other Examples of Crimes of Moral Turpitude?

For Immigrants, How Soon Could a Crime of Moral Turpitude Lead to Deportation?

In the United States, whether or not you have immigration status, being convicted of a crime can draw the attention of U.S. immigration authorities. They are known for checking the immigration status of individuals in jail or prison. Additionally, actions such as requesting a visa, green card renewal, or U.S. citizenship, all of which require fingerprint submissions, can inadvertently bring you to their attention.

Immigrants who are in jail or prison for their crime might discover that, on the day they are scheduled for release, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) places a “hold” on them, then picks them up for further detention and eventual deportation (removal) proceedings in U.S. immigration court.

However, even immigrants who are not incarcerated can be arrested by ICE and may need to attend immigration court hearings to defend against deportation.

Drunk Driving Arrest Statistics

  • According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 1.5 million people were arrested in a given year for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. That means that one out of every 121 licensed drivers were arrested for drunk driving.
  • In every state, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content of .08% or higher. Yet for every 88 instances of driving, someone is arrested for operating a motor vehicle above the legal limit. Within two hours of drinking, 772 drivers will be arrested for drunk driving.
  • The Bureau of Justice Statistics has reported that 40 percent of homicides involved the defendant drinking alcohol. Of the victims, 25 percent had also been drinking alcohol at the time of the event.
  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that in the year 2000, about 1400 automobile accidents involving fatalities had been caused by a driver with at least one other DUI or DWI conviction. This accounts for about 8.5% of all alcohol-involved automobile accidents where a fatality has occurred.

What these statistics show is that drunk driving is a serious offense. Drivers who have been drinking alcohol are nearly 1.4 times more likely to be involved in a fatal automobile accident. Unfortunately, repeat offenders pose the greatest risk accounting for nearly one-third of all drunk driving-related arrests.

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References:

1. https://www.simmrinlawgroup.com/faqs/is-dui-a-crime-of-moral-turpitude/
2. https://www.dicindiolaw.com/blog/what-are-crimes-involving-moral-turpitude/

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