A drunken driving accident is not a “crime of violence” allowing the government to deport a permanent resident, the Supreme Court ruled Tuesday in the first of three cases this term delineating the rights of immigrants.

In an 11-page opinion by ailing Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, the court ruled unanimously in favor of Josue Leocal, a Florida man who challenged his deportation to Haiti in 2002 after pleading guilty to a felony charge of drunken driving.