I often get the question, can a DWI affect someone’s immigration status? As a DWI attorney in Houston I can tell you that this is a very complicated question. Someone who is not a United States citizen can always be susceptible to immigration consequences. What those consequences are depend on many things, including that person’s immigration status, the person’s criminal record, whether this is a first DWI, etc. There is not an answer that covers everybody.
My advice to all of my clients who are not US Citizens is to get a consultation from an immigration lawyer. Luckily, at my law office, Benavides & Serrano, all we practice is Criminal Law and Immigration Law. My clients have the benefit of having an immigration lawyer in house that they can consult with. This is crucial because many individuals hire attorneys who have no clue about Immigration law.
This particular client had a defendable DWI that I think we could have won had we gone to trial. He had a consultation with my partner Sam Serrano, and decided that he wanted to opt for the sure thing, and earn a dismissal through a pre-trial intervention program. Pre-trial intervention (PTI) isn’t the best option for many people, because whether immigration will count it against you or not is currently being litigated in the courts. But he was comfortable with the position he was in, and he did in fact earn his dismissal. His case will soon be eligible to be expunged off of his record.
Again, there is no way to truly answer the question, “Will a DWI hurt my immigration status”. It is very case by case, and for those who are already in deportation proceedings it is very “judge by judge” as well. The important thing to do if you are a non-citizen charged with DWI is do not make any quick decisions. Time is your friend. Take your time selecting a lawyer who knows the law. Take your time, and allow your DWI attorney in Houston to fight your case. Take your time when presented with your options. And take the time to consult with an immigration lawyer.
Your life is the most important thing, and criminal cases can alter not only your present day life, but your future. If you have any questions about your situation, feel free to reach out to me at my office and I will do everything I can to keep you informed, and put you on the best path for your situation.
Eric Benavides is a Houston Criminal Defense Attorney. He is a co-founder of Benavides & Serrano, PLLC. He is a graduate of the prestigious Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Trial College, and is a proven trial lawyer. He has been recognized as one of the best criminal lawyers in Houston by the Houstonia magazine, and has earned a perfect 10.0 rating on AVVO.