A Vineyard man who is a native of Brazil won a case in the U.S. Supreme Court this week that could affect other immigrants who are trying to prevent the U.S. government from deporting them.

The case, which turned on a narrow legal issue, involved Wescley Fonseca Pereira of Oak Bluffs, who came to the Island in 2000 on a tourist visa but did not return to Brazil when the visa expired six months later.

According to court records, Mr. Pereira was arrested for drunk driving in 2006. While in detention, he was served with a notice that immigration officials were initiating proceedings to have him removed from the country and that he was required to appear at a hearing in Boston. The notice did not specify the time or specific place of the hearing. Immigration officials later sent the notice and time of the hearing to Mr. Pereira’s home address, but he did not receive it because he gets his mail at a post office box.

In May 2013, he was arrested again for driving with a suspended license. He argued that he was eligible to have the removal proceedings canceled because of a provision of U.S. law that allows in some circumstances an action known as cancellation of removal for non-citizens who have lived in the United States for 10 consecutive years.

Mr. Pereira works as a carpenter and is a father and primary breadwinner for two children who are U.S. citizens.

Under the law, a notice to appear at an immigration hearing would stop the clock on the 10 consecutive year provision, the U.S. high court ruled that the government did not properly provide Mr. Pereira a notice to appear.

Justice Sonia Maria Sotomayor wrote the opinion for the court, which voted 8 to 1 in favor of Mr. Pereira.

“If the government serves a noncitizen with a document that is labeled ‘notice to appear,’ but the document fails to specify either the time or place of the removal proceedings, does it trigger the stop-time rule?” wrote Justice Sotomayor for the majority. “The answer is as obvious as it seems: No. The plain text, the statutory context, and common sense all lead inescapably and unambiguously to that conclusion.”

David Zimmer of the Boston law firm Goodwin Procter, was one of four attorneys who represented Mr. Pereira in the appeal from the U.S. circuit court.

“It was a very exciting day,” said Mr. Zimmer, “especially for Mr. Pereira. I called him as soon as I saw the decision. He was obviously extremely happy.”

Mr. Zimmer said the Supreme Court ruling opens the way for Mr. Pereira to apply for cancellation of immigration proceedings against him, and allow him to remain on the Island with his family.

“The case will make its way back down to the immigration courts, where Mr. Pereira should be able to apply for cancellation of removal,” Mr. Zimmer said. “At that point we’ll hope for the best. We think we have a strong case.”

Mr. Zimmer said it is unclear how many other people will be affected by the ruling, but it could number in the thousands.

“It applies to any such notice that anyone received,” the attorney said. “The decision is binding on any court in the country.”