Are you a lawful permanent resident (Green Card holder) who’s facing
driving while intoxicated (DWI) charges? If so, you could be very worried that a DWI conviction
can lead to deportation, otherwise known as removal proceedings. If you
plan on applying for U.S. citizenship you could be thinking, “Can
this ruin my chance of becoming a U.S. citizen?”
Can a DWI lead to removal proceedings? Yes, it can, but that’s not
guaranteed. It depends on your personal circumstances and the facts of
the DWI case. Generally, a first-time DWI will NOT trigger removal proceedings,
but it can under the following circumstances:
It was a
felony DWI because someone else was seriously injured or killed.
It was a felony DWI because it was your
third DWI offense.
- You were previously convicted of marijuana possession but the immigration
judge was lenient with you.
- It was a drug-related DWI; for example, you were driving under the influence
of marijuana, methamphetamines, cocaine, LSD, mushrooms, or another controlled
- You have a history of multiple criminal convictions, even if they were
If this was your first alcohol-related DWI offense and you do not have
a criminal record and no one was injured or killed, the DWI should not
trigger removal proceedings. On the other hand, if it was a drug-related
DWI, a felony DWI, or if you have been convicted of other crimes too many
times in the past, it is possible that this DWI can affect your immigration status.
Criminal Behavior & Deportation
In order for a Green Card holder to live and work in the United States,
he or she must be a person of “good moral character.” If a
permanent resident engages in criminal behavior, he or she faces the possibility
Section 237 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), it lists the “general
classes of deportable aliens.” While there are too many deportable
offenses to list here, we can say that
domestic violence, fraud,
sexual assault, robbery, burglary, violent crimes, and multiple criminal convictions
can all lead to removal proceedings.
Facing criminal charges in Denton?
Contact us today for a FREE consultation.