Driving while intoxicated (DWI) under Sec. 49.04 of the Texas Penal Code is the one offense that is commonly committed by everyday people and Texas especially, has a big problem with people who drink and drive. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, “About every 20 minutes in Texas, someone is hurt or killed in a crash involving alcohol.” TxDOT continues, “Don’t drink and drive.” If you are stopped and it’s your first DWI offense, you face:
- A maximum fine of $2,000
- Up to six months in jail
- Up to a one year driver license suspension
- An annual fee up to $2,000 for three years to keep your license
But what if you are a lawful permanent resident (Green Card holder), will a DUI conviction lead to deportation or removal proceedings? This is a very good question indeed and just about every non-U.S. citizen who’s arrested for DWI asks this question.
Ordinarily, a first-time misdemeanor DWI will not trigger removal proceedings, but that does not mean it’s not possible. A DWI can lead to removal proceedings under the following circumstances:
- It was a felony DWI.
- It was a drug-related DWI.
- The driver was previously charged with marijuana possession and an immigration judge went easy on him or her.
- The driver has too many prior misdemeanor convictions on their record.
If you do not have any history of arrests or convictions and you are facing misdemeanor DWI charges, it is unlikely that you will face removal proceedings. On the other hand, if you’re facing felony DWI charges, drug-related DWI charges, or if you have multiple misdemeanor convictions, a DWI conviction could lead to removal proceedings.
General Classes of Deportable Aliens
For one to live and work in the United States, and in order to become a U.S. citizen, immigrants need to be “of a good moral character.” If a Green Card holder commits certain crimes, he or she can fall into the General Classes of Deportable Aliens, which are listed in the Immigration and Nationality Act.
Under Section 237 of the INA, there are a number of crimes that will cause an immigrant to be deported. Some of these crimes include:
- Child abuse
- Spousal abuse
- Drug offenses
- Assault crimes
- Fraudulent crimes
- Sexual assault
- Felony DWI
- Firearm offenses
- Unlawful voting
- Violent crimes
Get 15+ Years of Experience on Your Side
If you are facing DWI charges in Fort Worth, the best way to protect your immigration status is to avoid a conviction in the first place. To learn more, contact me at (817) 953-2663 for a free consultation.