The answer is probably no for simple DUI, but possibly yes for aggravated DUI. In short, the answer may depend on whether your DUI could be considered a crime of moral turpitude.

In Marmolejo-Campos v. Holder, the court stated that a simple DUI has never been considered a crime of moral turpitude, but an aggravated DUI could be such a crime. In interpreting an Arizona DUI law, the court reasoned that a simple DUI does not require an element of mental intent, but merely requires that you had control of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. In contrast, the Arizona aggravated DUI law required that you knew you shouldn’t have been driving while your license was suspended or revoked.

In Illinois, it is still up for debate which elements of our Aggravated DUI law involve mental intent. If you are convicted of Aggravated DUI, an immigration attorney may still be able to argue that your offense lacked the intent necessary to become moral turpitude.

In Illinois, you can be charged with aggravated DUI if 1) this is your third or greater offense; 2) you proximately caused great bodily harm, permanent disability, or disfigurement; 3) you had a prior offense involving DUI-related reckless homicide; 4) your license was suspended or revoked or 5) you knew or should have known the car you were driving had no liability insurance. (See Illinois DUI statute).

It’s important to bear in mind that even a misdemeanor DUI can reduce your chances of obtaining citizenship or even a green card.

If you are charged with a DUI, contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. An attorney can review your options to determine your best possible defense. Even if the police acted lawfully and the evidence against you is overwhelming, an attorney who is respected in the courthouse may be able to negotiate a more favorable plea agreement than you could on your own. You should also check with an immigration attorney before entering a guilty plea to insure that the elements of your plea won’t subject you to deportation.

If you have questions about this or another related Illinois criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email

(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)

About mdkeenan

A criminal and school law attorney with over 17 years of experience, I have successfully represented clients all over the Chicago area. My practice includes DUI, felony, criminal, misdemeanor, homicide, internet crime, retail theft, traffic offenses, cyberstalking, drug crimes, weapons violations, domestic battery and juvenile crime. I also represent families involving school cases. My clients come from all over the Chicago area including Skokie, Wilmette, Niles, Northbrook, Glenview, Evanston, Winnetka, Highland park, Northfield, Park Ridge, Des Plaines and Mount Prospect. I am a member of the ACLU and the Illinois State Bar Association. I serve as a volunteer for First Defense Legal Aid. Se habla espanol.
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