If you are not a citizen of the United States and are arrested in Texas for DWI, you are in serious trouble. If you want to continue living in the country, whether you are doing so pursuant to a work or school visa, or because you have a green card granting you lawful permanent residence (LPR), you need legal help. Getting a DWI with a green card or without legal residency in the United States can be devastating without the help of an experienced defense attorney. Your ability to continue living in the U.S. is in jeopardy – contact our law firm for help.
DWI and a Green Card Revocation
Normally, a DWI will not be cause for revocation of a green card and deportation if there are no extenuating circumstances. But, the laws are complicated and you may be deportable even if you have a green card if the lone DWI had any aggravating factors such as:
- The person was driving on a suspended or revoked driver’s license at the time.
- There was a minor in the car at the time.
- Your blood alcohol level (BAC) was extremely high, way over the legal limit of 0.08.
- There were any controlled substances involved.
- If an accident occurred and anyone was injured or killed.
In Texas, a third DWI is a felony which will subject you to revocation of your green card and subsequent deportation. When your green card is revoked, deportation proceedings will be initiated. Deportation is not automatic, and you will have a chance to defend yourself before an immigration judge. There are no guarantees in the law, but it is likely that if you have been a green card holder for at least five years, or in the country legally on any immigration status, you may be able to successfully win your case.
If your green card was not revoked, and you travel abroad, you cannot be denied reentry into the U.S. just because of your DWI, but, your criminal record will be reviewed. You can be referred to immigration for a deportation hearing. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your DWI, and if there were any aggravating factors, you could be detained in custody of immigration until the hearing date.
DWI and Application for Renewal
Even though green card grants you permanent residency, you are still not a citizen and must reapply for a new green card every 10 years. It would be wise to have the help of an attorney when reapplying for your green card so you can determine the best legal way to present your DWI record on your renewal application.
DWI and a Work or School Visa: Immigrants in the U.S.
A policy for visa revocation applicable to those in the U.S. on a non-immigrant visa was established in November 2016. A non-immigrant visa is the type of visa applied for and obtained by those who do not expect, nor want, to live in the U.S. permanently, but who want to stay in the country for a temporary period of time to work or study, to receive medical treatment, or just to be a tourist.
The new policy requires automatic revocation of a person’s visa, whether a work or study visa, when that person has been arrested for a DWI. The unfortunate key word is “arrested,” not “convicted. There are reports that some people have received their notice that their visa has been revoked on the very day they were arrested.
The U.S. Department of State justifies this policy by stating that driving under the influence may indicate the person has “a physical or mental disorder that is likely to pose a threat to the property, safety, or welfare of the applicant or others in the future.” The visa holder may receive a notice telling them they have to leave the country immediately and to report to their overseas U.S. Consulate.
Revocation of a visa is a reason for a removal order to issue by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). In order to have the visa reinstated, the person must be re-interviewed at the overseas consulate that originally issued the visa.
The risk of losing your right to live permanently in the U.S., or to stay to work or go to school, is high. The way in which your DWI is handled under Texas law will make a difference in your future. If your visa is revoked, and you have dependents who are with you on visas, they may also be at risk for deportation.
Don’t Risk Deportation: Call Our Defense Attorneys for Help
If you have a green card in danger of revocation, your whole life plan may be disrupted. If you are deported, your family may suffer either deportation or living life in the U.S. without you.
Whichever situation you are in, call the attorneys at Johnson, Johnson, & Baer, P.C. We have decades of experience with cases involving clients without legal residence and who were charged with DWI while in Texas with a Green Card. We can help. Contact us as soon as possible after your arrest using the form on this page or by calling our law firm’s office in Houston, Texas. We offer a free consultation where we can work with to find the best solution to help you continue your life in the U.S.