Undocumented immigrant sentenced for DWI, resisting police

Published 4:00 pm Tuesday, January 23, 2024

NILES — A former Mexican resident in the United States illegally could be deported soon. In the meantime, he will be serving a jail sentence for crimes he committed here in Berrien County.

Rafael Arellano Garcia, 27, of Coloma, pleaded guilty to resisting and obstructing police Monday in Berrien County Trial Court and was sentenced to 120 days in jail with credit for 80 days already served and $258 in fines and costs.

Garcia also pleaded guilty to attempted fleeing police and driving while intoxicated and was sentenced to credit for 80 days served and $1,335 in fines and costs.

The incident involving all three charges occurred Nov. 4, 2023 in Niles Township when police observed him speeding and attempted to pull him over.

Defense attorney Kevin Mackin said Garcia had been living in Coloma for a number of years when he made the “unfortunate” decision to drive from Coloma to Elkhart when he was drunk.

“Police pursued him and he made it worse when he fled,” Mackin said. “He had a nice life here and unfortunately this is going to cost him everything.”

“You’re very likely headed for deportation back to Mexico because of these crimes and your citizenship,” the judge said. “This was a very dangerous series of events where you made poor decisions in driving drunk and running from police.”