As the prevalence of drinking and driving continues, especially around the holiday season, it is a sad reality that as criminal defense attorneys, we expect to see a large number of our clients arrested on a variety of drinking and driving related charges. While we all tend to know the typical consequences or "outcomes" of these arrests, does the same hold true for a foreign born client? In other words, what are the some of the potential added consequences that a foreign born client may face with a drinking and driving conviction? Is deportation or removal possible?
The intersection between criminal law and immigration law – often referred to as "crimmigration" by many - is actually quite complex and each case is unique. And the stakes are high as foreign born clients must address deportation and removal issues with every case. Many subtle factors often play a role in the immigration outcome of DUI cases as the BIA (Board of Immigration Appeals – Department of Justice) struggles with just how to deal with drinking and driving related crimes as they fall under the larger umbrella category of crimes of violence. Federal cases, as well as BIA precedent, have inconsistently fluctuated on the issue of whether a drinking and driving offense is a crime of moral turpitude. Often times aggravating factors will be considered such as a suspended license, an accident, a bodily injury or death. Since each case presents a subjective set of unique factors, even a seasoned attorney must carefully research the issues given the ever-changing laws on these issues. If the DUI is ultimately determined to be a crime of moral turpitude, the immigration consequences could be severe – including possible deportation for the client.
Without question, the field of "crimmigration" law is both complicated and unique and we highly encourage anyone facing the possible immigration consequences of a DUI, or any other criminal activity, to seek experienced counsel. For more details regarding these and other issues, we encourage you to contact our office immediately. The Law Offices of Freedman & Freedman will work very diligently to carefully guide you through the complex legal process and our seasoned attorneys are well prepared to aggressively defend you against any and all criminal charges. Call us at 1-877-858-5297 (TKT-LAWS).
Assistance with the material for this blog was graciously provided by our colleague Elisheva G. Mosko.