Posted on 5/22/23

Encounters with law enforcement can be dangerous for non-citizens in Texas. Criminal charges always carry the potential risk of being deported, even if the individual is innocent and has been wrongly charged. If you live in Texas and you have been arrested for a DWI, it is possible that you will be deported, but it is not a certainty. Any prior convictions, the circumstances of your arrest, and any previous criminal history will all play a role in whether you will face immigration roadblocks or deportation. 

When Can a DWI Charge Lead to Deportation?

A first-time DWI arrest is generally considered a Class B misdemeanor in Texas as long as there are no aggravating factors. A second DWI arrest that involves a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .15 or more will usually be considered a more serious Class A misdemeanor. Generally, green card holders are allowed to remain in the United States after a misdemeanor conviction as long as they satisfy all of the court-imposed conditions and requirements.

However, if the DWI  arrest leads to a felony DWI charge, there is a deportation risk involved. Felony offenses are considered crimes of moral turpitude. Under Texas law, a DWI is a felony when it is a subject’s third or subsequent DWI-related offense. It is also a state jail felony when the alleged offender has a passenger in the vehicle younger than 15.

Drunk Driving Accidents Can Lead to Deportation

When a drunk driver causes an accident, they will likely face a felony DWI charge and can be at a greater risk of deportation. This is especially true when the accident leads to serious bodily injuries. If the accident results in a victim’s death, the defendant may face second-degree felony charges for intoxicated manslaughter.

DWI Charges Stemming From Prescription Drug Use

DWI charges related to illegal or prescription drug use can also be considered a crime of moral turpitude. These types of drugs driving cases can be more difficult for prosecutors to succeed in winning a conviction. Proof of intoxication may come down to different forms of urine tests.

Factors the Court Considers

Green card holders could be subject to deportation because of a DWI charge for many different reasons. The court will likely consider several different factors, including the specific circumstances of the DWI charge, when making a decision. Recently, there has been a greater emphasis placed on unlawful immigrants. The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has stated that they will detain removable aliens for any criminal conviction, unresolved criminal charges, or the commission of any chargeable criminal offense. However, immigrants are at the highest risk of deportation when faced with felony charges.

Contact a Dallas/Fort Worth DWI Attorney

Working with an experienced criminal defense attorney can help you protect yourself if you have been charged with a DWI as a non-citizen. Contact Abel Law Firm to schedule an initial consultation and learn more about how we can fight for you. We represent clients in Dallas, Fort Worth, and Plano.

Flower Mound Office

Phone: 972.584.7837

Denton Office