Any type of arrest potentially can trigger deportation for an immigrant who is present in the U.S. Whether you are an undocumented immigrant or a legal immigration status, you could face deportation for an arrest, even if you never are convicted of the underlying crime. DWI charges are no exception. While no individual wants a DWI conviction on his or her record, the repercussions of a DWI potentially are much more severe for an immigrant, even if he or she is legally in this country.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) evaluates any criminal offense committed based on whether it is an aggravated felony or exhibits poor moral character. In some cases, the DWI is charged as a felony, which, in the state of Texas, can occur if it is your third or subsequent DWI arrest, if you had a child in the vehicle with you, if you were driving without a valid driver’s license, or if you were involved in a car accident at the time of the DWI that resulted in death, serious bodily injury, or property damage. If you are an immigrant facing felony DWI charges, you have a much greater chance of deportation than if you are facing a first-time misdemeanor DWI charge. Immigration authorities rarely will take action on your first misdemeanor DWI arrest.
The repercussions of a DWI arrest for an immigrant also depend upon his or her immigration status and where he or she is in the immigration process. For example, if you are in the U.S. on a nonimmigrant visa, the U.S. Department of State may automatically revoke your visa if you are arrested for DWI, which makes you ineligible for travel in the U.S. This is the case whether you have been convicted of DWI or not and definitely poses a problem if you wish to travel abroad and then reenter the U.S. If you do travel abroad, you generally must appear before an approved physician for an evaluation of alcohol and drug dependency in order to determine whether there is a health-based reason for inadmissibility to the U.S.
At Peek & Toland, we care about keeping your family together, whether that involves defending against deportation or another immigration-related matter. We will focus all of our efforts on standing up for your rights and representing your interests as you seek to remain in the U.S. Our knowledgeable immigration lawyers know the best strategies for gathering evidence to support your case and navigating the complex rules of the U.S. immigration system. Allow us to handle your immigration case by sitting down with us today and discussing your case.