Can drug use get you deported?

Drug laws vary from state to state. It’s important to understand the specific local laws when immigrating; it may be confusing, but never assume the entire country has the same laws. They often differ widely across state lines.

For instance, recreational marijuana use is legal in Michigan, Colorado, Washington and a number of other states. In Pennsylvania, just possessing marijuana is a misdemeanor that can land you in jail for 30 days. Growing it is a felony that could lead to as long as five years in prison. The use of heroin or cocaine, though, is still illegal in every state. Penalties may differ, but it is never allowed.

As an immigrant, though, your biggest question may be whether or not drug use can get you deported. No, you don’t want to pay fines or go to jail, but you really don’t want to lose everything you’ve worked for and be forced to leave the country. Could it happen?

What law did you break?

You could be deported for violating drug laws. The biggest thing to consider is if the crime was a misdemeanor or a felony.

You can be deported for some misdemeanors, but it is uncommon for low-level offenses. If you just fail a drug test and get a misdemeanor, you’re probably not going to get deported. If you are accused of federal drug trafficking, though, and the police find guns and money in your car, that’s a very different offense and you may well get deported. If you cause a car accident while under the influence and someone passes away, that’s a serious felony that could lead to major ramifications.

Whether something is a misdemeanor or a felony doesn’t always determine whether or not you get deported. The judges take each case on individually. They will consider the details of your case.

Your rights

Any time you’re accused of a crime or worried about getting deported, the key is to learn as much as you can about your rights. Our experienced legal team can help.

FindLaw Network