In this article, DUI Defense Lawyer discusses DUI as a Reason for Deportation. Click on the links below to go directly to your topic of interest.
- Mr. Trump’s Deportation Plan and DUI Consequences
- DUI Conviction and Criminal Record
- Can an Undocumented Immigrant with a DUI Conviction Get Support in California?
Jersey Vargas is a 13-year-old girl who is now fighting for her father, an undocumented immigrant. He was convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol in 2014. Her father is the only breadwinner and his deportation will bring family into poverty. In Los Angeles, there are more than 1 million of undocumented immigrants now who live in fear of deportation. Their families are very worried about such consequences.
President Donald Trump recently said in his interview that he’s going to deport undocumented immigrants who are criminals or have criminal records. It’s been part of his election plan to make such people leave the USA. He says they will tighten measures to send off as many as 3 million illegal immigrants. Many immigration experts are not sure that things are different now. Mr. Trump is continuing Obama’s administration policy on the deportation of people who committed crimes. Previous administration managed to deport more than 200,000 immigrants, among them – 59 percent are convicted criminals.
The problem the immigrants are facing nowadays is that they can’t get the immigration court hearing on time. Courts have a busy schedule and are failing to make timely decisions. There are not enough judges, clerks, and lawyers to help all those requesting immigration hearings. There are plenty of people who came to this country to seek asylum but they can’t get immigration hearings for years after applying. This could create a great obstacle for President Trump’s deportation plan. Mr. Trump stated he would nominate Senator Jeff Sessions as the Attorney General for the United States. Mr. Sessions is known for his active position on all immigration enforcement issues. He would probably appoint new inflexible and uncompromising immigration judges and also make changes in the deportation system. These factors can complicate the court hearing process for potential immigrants.
California opposed Trump’s plan to deport illegal immigrants by adopting SB-54, a sanctuary law that prohibits state law enforcement not to use resources to help deportation. The statutes are codified in Government Code sections 7284. For example, CGC 7284.6 prohibits California law enforcement from asking anyone about his immigration status.
If you are found guilty of a DUI you face two types of punishment – administrative and criminal. Administrative punishment affects your driver’s license and can get your license suspended or revoked. Criminal punishment can result in being found guilty of a crime and receive punishment through the criminal justice system, such as jail time, probation, fines, community service, etc.
Most drunk driving cases are treated as misdemeanors, which is a lower level offense level in California. Misdemeanors are crimes that can be punished up to 364 days in the county jail. If a crime carries more jail time then that, it is considered a felony. The traditional view is that less serious crimes should be punished less severely. Yet, a criminal conviction is a criminal conviction and a DUI conviction will show on your permanent record. This record could affect your future life in many ways, such as when applying for jobs, or for a license, or even getting some forms of financial aid. A DUI conviction in your background record is a potential reason for potential employers to deny employment.
Some states do not view a first DUI as a criminal offense, but this is not the case in California. In California, a DUI is considered a criminal offense, and not simply a traffic offense or a civil violation. California can look at DUI as a minor offense but in some cases, it is considered a very serious crime.
In California DUI case stay on the driving record for 10 years, and it is part of your criminal record forever. After ten years a DUI can not be used a prior so that another DUI received after ten years will be considered a “first offense DUI”. But even after ten years, if you are applying for a job, an employer can do a background check and see the conviction. Almost all application forms have the section checking your criminal background. Often the request focuses on felonies but even misdemeanor convictions can be considered. Also, for purposes of many immigration benefits, DUI is considered a serious misdemeanor and can cause a denial of benefits and deportation.
The good news is that according to California Labor Code section 432.7, private employer or organization can ask only for the record which resulted in a conviction. Also, you may try to expunge DUI from your record, i.e. it will be removed from your criminal history. It’s possible to do under the following conditions:
- if you served all the probationary terms;
- if you did not serve time in state prison;
- if you are not charged with any other criminal offenses at the moment.
If you meet all these requirements a DUI attorney can help you expunge your DUI case from the criminal record. This will help with employment, yet, the expungement will not delete the offense, only show that it was dismissed under PC 1203.4
Having an experienced lawyer to represent you in court increases your chances of winning your case. Statistical analysis is clear: detained immigrants’ chances of fighting deportation increased when they are represented by an attorney. California already spends more than $30 million to help immigrants get legal help to remain in the USA.
Immigration Consequences of a DUI:
A DUI conviction is not deportable – but it can indirectly cause deportation because it will disqualify you from an immigration benefit, cause a denial of an immigration bond, or prevent you from establishing a good moral character.
EXAMPLE: You were detained by ICE and want to fight your deportation. The Immigration judge denies your request for an immigration bond because you have an old DUI conviction.
EXAMPLE: You have DACA and you get arrested and convicted of a DUI. DACA is denied upon renewal because of a DUI conviction.
EXAMPLE: You are applying for asylum based on persecution in your home country. Your asylum application is denied because of a DUI conviction in the US.
President Trump’s immigration campaign faced serious opposition in California. In California, 40% of residents are of Latino descent. Even several members of the legislature are immigrants or children of immigrants. In 2017 California’s mainly Democratic legislature passed SB-54 which prohibits California law enforcement from using resource to help immigration officials. They are working on further proposals to protect undocumented immigrants and their families and to resist Trump’s immigration policy. For example, California can offer free legal help during deportation proceedings and additional support in criminal court hearings. They also suggest for the state to arrange public funds to cover expenses for immigrant trials on deportation.
Some police chiefs reassured the public, that they will not cooperate with the Department of Homeland Security to help people get deported. In fact, GC specifically says that California Law Enforcement is prohibited from Detaining an individual on the basis of an immigration hold request. In the past, immigration enforcement would fax a detainer, known as immigration form I-247, that would request a hold to be placed on a detained person. Most police agencies would place a hold and not release detainee until the hold is lifted or until ICE picks him up.
Other cities are trying to fight SB-54 by passing ordinances of their own against SB-54. We think such local ordinances can not be enforced because they conflict with California state law. California is one of the very few states that offer great post-position relief remedied to immigrants and even California driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants.
(818) 921 7744 We provide a free consultation to discuss your options.