Do Non-U.S. Citizens Get More Punishments for DUI?

Posted by William H. Sherman on Feb 15, 2016 | 0 Comments

Question:  My arrest for a DUI has gotten me very worried because I am not a United States citizen and I'm worried about the possible punishments. I am from India and I work here in Georgia, in the city of Cumming. I am a computer programmer from a well-known tech company; in fact we are publicly traded.

A Forsyth County deputy sheriff made me pull over because he said I was speeding. I did pull over and he could smell the alcohol on my breath, he said. I admitted to drinking and he made me walk a straight line and he looked at my eyes. It was degrading. I took a breath test on the road and he arrested me for a DUI and took me to the jail. At the jail I took another breath test.

I am worried that because I am not a citizen, I am only a green card holder, that my punishments will be much more extreme than if I was a citizen. I have a friend at work who is from Mexico who is also not an American citizen and just has a green card, and he thinks that because I am not a citizen that a judge can give me extra punishments under the sentence.

I need to know if a person who is not a U.S. citizen gets a DUI, will the court make them suffer more?

N.P. in Forsyth County, GA

Answer:  No, just because a person is not a U.S. citizen does not mean that he or she will have harsher punishments than a citizen. Georgia law does not provide for enhanced punishments for non-U.S. citizens.

In fact, that would be unconstitutional under the laws of the state of Georgia and under the U.S. Constitution. Of course, any arrest of a non-citizen can have immigration implications separate and apart from the DUI charge, but the actual law cannot provide for “extra” or more severe punishments based simply upon citizenship status.

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William H. Sherman

With a professional background that includes serving as a Senior Assistant County Attorney and as an Assistant Attorney General, attorney William H. Sherman has great experience, a broad range of legal knowledge and a proven record of success.  Each of Mr. Sherman's clients gets the full benefit of his experience.  Because attorney Sherman has worked for governmental organizations, large corporations and clerked for a judge, he has handled a wide variety of cases from negotiation and trial to successful appeal. Mr. Sherman is very proud of his reputation as a problem-solver who is always available to his clients.  Active in the community, Mr. Sherman and his wife, attorney Valerie Sherman, support many community organizations, sports teams and charities.  Call him now and let his experience work for you.

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