What Happens With a DUI While In Removal Proceedings?

Immigration attorney, Andres Mejer, explains what happens to immigrants who are charged with a DUI during removal proceedings.

Transcript (Transcripción):

Andres Mejer :Now, what happens if you’re in removal proceedings and you’re charged with a DUI? You know, if you’re under removal, that means you’ve already been contacted by ICE and you were either bonded out, which means you paid money, security, that you appear in court or you were released without a bond. So let’s say you filed for asylum, you were denied and you’re automatically referred or you applied for him for a Green Card denied. And you’re now charged with with a crime and you’re placed in removal proceedings. So if you’re in removal, you likely you have filed a will file for asylum or a cancelation of removal. And your case is proceeding before an immigration judge. Now, you can be picked up by ICE and your court date and your court date can be moved up dramatically. So, again, you’re not detained. You’re in the not detained docket, which typically means you’ll see a judge between 10 or or or 12 months. If you’re detained Now. Sorry, most not most immigration cases have four or five court appearances. If you’re detained, that’s four or five months, about once a month. If you’re not detained about once a year for a month versus four years. Very big difference. So you can have a court date for next year and all of a sudden you’re in court in a couple of weeks. So if you were convicted DUI, you likely weren’t aren’t going to be released. If you’re charged and you’re and you’re and that and a DUI is is reduced or dismissed. You don’t have any other criminal history. You likely will be released, but the bond will be high. If you’re charged with DUI, you charges still pending. It really depends on what immigration judge you get. But the fee will be high. The bond will be high. You’re looking at probably 20000 or more. Now, it really depends on your jurisdiction and it depends on your judge. So I can only speak about, you know, the New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania area where I’m more familiar. If you’re in Nebraska, South Carolina, Florida or or Phoenix or Arizona, for example, it really does vary. But one thing’s for sure, it’s high.

Andres Mejer :Now, what if you are you already filed for u visa or you want to file one because you think you qualify. U Vis is taking over four years to approve a petition nowadays so you could have filed one and then be charged with a crime afterwards. Now u visa has a built in waiver and immigration can look at the totality of the circumstances. What’s the crime that you were a victim of versus what’s the crime that you are accused of and see or convicted of? And in the totality, do you deserve this benefit? Are you a good moral person? Remember I said every single petition has that requirement. Two or more. You have a problem. One DUI. You can likely defend it, but two or more, you’re going to have a really hard time and you really have some exceptional circumstances in order to in this climate get approved.

Andres Mejer :Now, what if you’re charged with a DUI? What can attorney do for you? Look, a good attorney can help you determine what your defenses are. Not every case is defensible. What I can tell you, if you hire our firm, if there is a defense, we’ll find it. 71 percent of the U.S is in New Jersey result in convictions. So if you don’t have an attorney, that number goes way up. Now, if you have a good criminal defense attorney, your chances go up, too. But it’s fact specific. Look, if your attorney does not risk, does not know to look for a possible defense strategy, they’re not going to find it. So you need to have somebody with the knowledge, experience and training in law to help you in those Now. Even though you may be an immigrant, you’re still entitled to a public defender if you can’t afford a good criminal defense attorney. But your chances don’t really improve much with a public defender. 71 percent get convicted for the defendant. Don’t work that hard. Well, let me phrase it. So I have nothing against public defenders. Some of them are great attorneys. Problem is, they have they get paid the same thing where they get one case or 10 cases or 30 case or 40 cases, and they can’t give every case the same time and attention that a private attorney can or that a good private attorney can, because not every private attorney gives you the time and attention either. So you’ve got to do your homework. Most important, if you’re not a U.S. citizen, you really need a good criminal defense attorney that is also familiar with immigration consequences. You don’t need an attorney to plead guilty. You could do that on your own, you’ll need an attorney to fight for your rights to stay in the U.S..

Andres Mejer :So if you have any questions, give us a call. Subscribe to our channel. We’re here for you. Thank you very much. I’m I’m Andres Mejer, until next time.