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Avoid immigration risks from your Virginia DUI prosecution

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Avoid immigration risks from your Virginia DWI prosecution, says Fairfax DUI lawyer

Avoid immigration risks from your Virginia DUI prosecution and any other prosecution. As a Fairfax DUI lawyer and Virginia criminal defense  attorney, I have been blessed with having been in prior law partnership for ten years with a top-notch immigration lawyer, and having consulted many times thereafter with immigration lawyers for my clients to know and reduce their immigration risks from various possible outcomes (short of acquittal or outright unconditional dismissal) in their cases. This area of criminal defense is often referred to as crimmigration. This is a complex area of the law that does not always have a clear answer, but at least reveals warning signs and vital advice that an unfamiliar criminal defense lawyer could otherwise miss. For non-United States citizens who are criminal defendants and DUI defendants, your Virginia criminal defense lawyer can provide you better service the better s/he is able to spot possible immigration pitfalls and possibilities, communicate about all this with a suitable immigration lawyer, and articulate the matter in a persuasive way to the prosecutor and/or judge.

Will I avoid immigration authorities learning of my Virginia criminal court case if my lawyer or I tell the police, prosecutor, judge or probation office about my immigration status?

The horror stories are too many and too startling about immigration authorities trolling courthouses to nab criminal defendants who are not lawfully in the United States, if not also to detain people who have lawful visas but whose criminal charges (even while presumed innocent) make them deportable. In addition to deportation risks, certain criminal convictions and sentences can expose a non-United States citizen to being barred from re-entering the United States (also known as non-admissibility) and can also interfere with adjustment of immigration status. Having a Fifth Amendment right to remain silent, arrestees should have no obligation to tell their immigration status to police, jail authorities, Virginia magistrates and judges, nor anyone else. On the other hand, if your Virginia criminal lawyer does not reveal your immigration  status to the prosecution  / Virginia assistant commonwealth’s attorney for negotiations and/or to the judge for sentencing, the lawyer will not be able to obtain any negotiating nor sentencing traction on the basis of your immigration status. Your lawyer should not be revealing your immigration status to any authorities without your informed consent, after telling you the risk level of any of those authorities revealing your immigration status to the immigration authorities. For instance, the current chief Fairfax County prosecutor is averse to reporting such information to the immigration authorities for civil enforcement purposes, but would even he go in the other direction if he thought the alleged crime committed by the defendant were particularly heinous? The police, on the other hand, are their own entity, and who is to say that once a line prosecutor knows a defendant’s immigration status that the assistant commonwealth’s attorney will not reveal your status to the police in your case? Avoid immigration risks in criminal court starting by having the right attorney on your side.

Why should prosecutors and judges adjust for a Virginia DUI defendant’s status as a non-United States citizen, security clearance holder, military member, or CDL holder?

As a Fairfax DUI lawyer, I know that many non-United States citizens in Northern Virginia have the status of Dreamer / Dream Act / DACA / Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which not even the last Republican president was able to dismantle. Of course it is easiest to avoid immigration risks by not getting behind the wheel in the first place within twenty-four hours of consuming wine, beer or alcohol / liquor. It is easy for a pro-prosecution person to pontificate that a person whose immigration, security clearance, military or CDL (commercial driver license) status whose status is threatened by a DWI conviction under Virginia Code § 18.2-266 should not expose themselves to a driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs conviction in the first place. However, the Virginia definitions of DWI are so watered down (criminalizing a 0.08 and higher blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and an even lower BAC if enough alcohol was consumed to noticeably affect the driver’s appearance and/or behavior) that drivers who become Virginia DWI defendants do not always even feel the effects of alcohol nor know they are or might be over the legal limit to be driving.

How did Fairfax DUI lawyer Jon Katz recently save a Virginia DWI defendant’s DACA status? can I avoid a Virginia DWI conviction if I have Dreamer / Dream Act / DACA status (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals)?

Recently, I successfully convinced a prosecutor to convert a Virginia DUI and refusal (refusal to submit to BAC testing) prosecution to wet reckless driving, for a client with DACA. To avoid immigration risks with DACA, a DWI conviction must not happen. It did not hurt — and maybe helped — that I have been knowledgably talking with prosecutors about DACA for a decade having been fully schooled on the topic by an immigration lawyer and having studied the matter in depth myself. It helped that I was able to show the prosecutor that my client had been evaluated with a MAST (Michigan Alcohol Screening Test) score if 2 (meaning social drinker) and had completed a Virginia DMV-approved driver improvement class. When you are not a United States citizen and have a criminal or DUI charge against you, it is a good idea for you to ask your potential Virginia criminal defense lawyer his or her level of relevant familiarity with the immigration law.

Fairfax DUI lawyer Jonathan Katz pursues your best defense against Virginia DUI, felony and misdemeanor prosecutions. Call 703-383-1100 for your free in-person confidential consultation with Jon Katz about your court-pending case.