DWI Conviction for a Foreigner: Can this Contribute to a Deportation?

by Lisa Coleman on July 29, 2013

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People who come to this country to work, study, or visit family are expected to follow the laws and avoid getting into legal trouble. When a foreigner is charged with driving while intoxicated, that person may wonder how this charge and any resulting punishment will affect his or her visitor status. In fact, being charged with a DWI offense can gravely impact a foreigner’s visa or green card eligibility. If a person finds himself or herself facing this charge, it is important to know what consequences that individual could face.

Revocation of Green Card or Visa

One of the requirements for visiting this country is that foreign guests will adhere to the laws. They are not above the law, nor are they immune to legal punishment simply because they do not hold citizenship status. When they are charged with a DWI, it is a very real possibility that they could have their visa or green card revoked for violating the law that requires people to be sober while driving.

Refusal of Citizenship Application

Because they did not follow this important law, people who are applying for citizenship could have their application denied. Immigration authorities prefer that applicants demonstrate their desire to become a citizen by following the law. Breaking any law, even those pertaining to traffic, could be interpreted as a person’s impudence and total disregard for the country’s legal authority. This perception could result in that person’s citizenship application being denied.

Deportation Out of the Country

Immigration authorities have little patience for visitors who do not follow the requirements of their temporary visa. A DWI charge could be punished by that person being deported from the country. The jails in this country are already overcrowded. Many immigration authorities prefer to deport offending visitors back to their own countries.

Prohibition of Reentering the Country

Visitors who violate the terms of their visas or green cards could be barred from reentering the country after they have been deported. Some people can be prohibited from reentering the country for as long as 20 years, if not permanently. This punishment can particularly be harsh when a foreigner has family, specifically children, living in the U.S. As such, people who are visiting on a green card or visa are encouraged to follow every law, particularly driving laws, to perfection.

The Role of Legal Counsel

A visitor who is facing such consequences may believe that he or she has no legal recourse available since that person is not a citizen of the country. However, most people, regardless of citizenship status, can get legal help with their DWI concerns when they hire an experienced local legal representative. For example, if a visitor is facing these charges in NC, then retaining counsel from a North Carolina DWI defense attorney would be ideal.

Retaining a defense attorney right away can help visitors avoid the worst consequences for this offense. They may be allowed to stay in the country while their cases are being heard and even face probationary consequences rather than being deported and denied citizenship. However, they put themselves at risk when they do not hire an experienced attorney right away. Their first call after being charged with a DWI should be to a defense attorney. Visitors can find an attorney by going online or asking the bar association for a referral. Many local attorneys also advertise in the phone book or in newspaper listings.

Being charged with a DWI can be a grave offense for anyone, however, this charge has more dire consequences when the offender is visiting the country on a green card or visa. That person must retain good legal counsel if he or she wants to remain in the country and be granted citizenship status.

Lisa Coleman shares the seriousness that a DWI conviction punishment could bring to a foreigner, and encourages consulting legal counsel with an experienced attorney that is knowledgeable about DWI law. Powers McCartan, P.L.L.C. is an experienced North Carolina DWI attorney firm that is equipped to counsel and legally represent a case for a foreigner that has been charged with a DWI in the state of NC.

Lisa Coleman
Lisa Coleman enjoys writing about her passions, which include law, animals, family, hobbies and travel.

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