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Arrested for DWI in Houston as a Foreign Exchange Student

 Posted on February 02, 2023 in Uncategorized

Living in a foreign country can be exciting as a teen or young adult. The opportunity to live and attend school in the U.S. is an adventure that about one million foreign high school and college students take each year. But what happens if you're arrested for driving while intoxicated in the U.S.? There can be serious consequences for international students who drink and drive. But this isn't something you have to figure out on your own. An expert in Texas DWI defense can help.

DWI in Texas

Texas takes drinking and driving seriously and has some severe penalties for DWI convictions. You can face a DWI charge in Texas if you are driving a vehicle in public while intoxicated. However, whether you are "intoxicated" can sometimes be a subjective judgment. Under Texas law, you can be "intoxicated" if you:

  • Have a blood alcohol content of.08% or higher, or.04% if you hold a commercial driver's license, or
  • You no longer have the normal use of your physical or mental faculties.

However, those under the legal drinking age of 21 can face heightened scrutiny. Texas is a zero-tolerance state, meaning any amount of detectable alcohol in your blood can result in a DUI.

DWI as a Foreign Visitor

The DWI arrest and criminal prosecution are the same whether you are an American or a citizen of another country on a foreign exchange. However, while many people arrested for DWI are released on their own recognizance and ordered to appear for hearings and trial, this may be more complicated for you if you aren't a U.S. citizen. The court could order you to stay in the country to await prosecution, even if you're a minor.

At the same time, many foreign exchange programs also prohibit participants from driving or drinking while in the U.S. For example, the International Student Exchange and Education Travel and Culture, two of the largest foreign exchange programs in the country, will automatically suspend students caught engaging in either behavior, sending them back to their home country. If you're charged with a DWI in Texas, you could find yourself unable to leave the country until the court resolves your case, but also kicked out of your foreign exchange program, your exchange program, and your school while awaiting trial. That's why you must hire an expert in DWI defense immediately after your arrest.

Future Immigration Issues

Many people resolve a DWI by pleading to lesser charges or accepting a suspended or reduced sentence in exchange for a guilty plea. As a foreign exchange student, you may also be tempted to do this. But a guilty plea and a criminal record could affect your ability to reenter the U.S. legally at a later time. If you have dreams of obtaining future education in the U.S. or working in the U.S., a DWI conviction could prevent that. A DWI conviction could also affect your travel abroad to other countries. Before accepting any plea, you should consult an expert in DWI defense who also understands the potential consequences to your visa or immigration status in the future.

You Need an Expert in Texas DWI Law

If you're a foreign exchange student facing a DWI in Texas, you need an expert in DWI defense by your side as soon as possible. Attorney Doug Murphy is a recognized DWI Defense and Criminal Defense Law expert with experience in how a DWI can affect immigration matters. U.S. News and World Report also recently voted Doug as Lawyer of the Year its list of the Best Lawyers in America list for DWI defense in Houston for 2021 and 2023. The Houston media calls Doug the "drinking driver's best friend," and he can help you too. Contact Doug and the experienced team at the Doug Murphy Law Firm, P.C. online or call them at 713-229-8333 to schedule your consultation.

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