Could a DWI Arrest Actually Hurt Your Immigration Status?
Just about everyone knows that a DWI arrest can have serious consequences. But, could it have any impact on someone’s immigration status? After all, isn’t driving while under the influence just considered a motor vehicle offense?
Deportation is a very real fear among many immigrants to this country. Whether someone is here with on a visa or without one, it’s a concern. For those on the pathway to citizenship, a drunk driving conviction could present some real problems.
You should know that New Jersey law enforcement officials are expected to communicate their concerns with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE). You should also be aware that a DWI arrest does not necessarily mean you will be deported.
Drunk Driving and Immigration Status
Obviously, any type of arrest can be troublesome. The impact may be extremely grave for someone without papers. Or, someone that stayed in the states on an expired passport or visa.
For one, there’s a good chance someone here illegally was driving without a license. That’s another ticket in itself. We’ve already intimated that DWI is not a criminal charge in New Jersey. But, what happens if you are accused of driving under the influence and injuring or killing someone?
So, let’s get down to the basics of why you really need an experienced DWI attorney. Particularly if you’re concerned about your immigration status. Here’s what you need to know:
- DWI, a Crime of Moral Turpitude? Even for those here with green cards, a big concern is a conviction for a crime of moral turpitude. According to federal immigration laws, a crime of moral turpitude could warrant deportation. A drunk driving conviction on its own would remain a motor vehicle offense and thus not necessarily fall under this category. Again, you could face criminal charges if your drunk driving caused a fatal accident or personal injury. Either could impact your immigration status.
- Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance: What if you weren’t drunk, but were found to be driving under the influence of a controlled dangerous substance? What if the police found drugs in your car? With a very limited exception, this could be reason for deportation.
The bottom line is that any DWI (driving while intoxicated) or DUI (driving while under the influence) arrest should be taken seriously.
Have you been accused of driving while intoxicated or while under the influence? Are you also concerned it may affect your immigration status? The Law Offices of Beninato & Matrafaljo has experience handling these types of cases. Contact us to learn your legal rights.