DWI Arrest May Affect Man’s Immigration Status

A conviction for driving while intoxicated can become part of an individual’s permanent record, with potentially severe consequences. In fact, even an arrest for driving while intoxicated might influence an individual’s treatment in the event of subsequent criminal offenses.

Take the case of a driver who allegedly caused a drunk driving accident at 3 a.m. on a recent early morning. The alcohol-related crash occurred in a different state. However, the 27-year-old driver had a previous DWI arrest, arising from an incident in Texas.

A Houston DWI defense lawyer might caution that an arrest is different than a conviction. Whereas multiple DWI offenses may result in more severe penalties — such as higher fines, longer prison sentences and license suspension or revocation — the same may not be true of an arrest that hasn’t yet gone to trial.

In addition, a recent editorial raised the issue of potential immigration consequences arising from a DWI arrest. Under current immigration law, deportation proceedings might be initiated against an individual arrested for an offense without a valid visa or residency.

In this case, the alleged DWI accident claimed the lives of both the driver and one passenger in the vehicle struck by the 27-year-old, and left a second passenger with injuries. If alcohol testing reveals that the driver’s blood alcohol limit was over the legal limit, he may be facing felony DWI charges because of the fatal injuries connected to the incident. Under Texas law, that offense is called intoxication manslaughter. In addition, the man’s previous DWI incident may also elevate his potential sentencing.

Source: trentonian.com, “DWI should mean automatic deportation,” L.A. Parker, June 19, 2013

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