DWI Defense Attorney in NJ
Helping Foreign Nationals Who Have Been Accused of Driving While Intoxicated
Driving while intoxicated by drugs or alcohol, or DWI, is a common traffic violation of which hundreds of thousands of people are accused of each year. While common, DWI is a serious offense that can often result in significant legal penalties, including the following:
- Fines into the hundreds or even thousands of dollars
- Community service
- Drug and alcohol counseling
- The mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device
- Driver’s license suspension or revocation
- Jail time
Furthermore, a DWI conviction can have significant collateral consequences, as well, particularly for individuals who are not United States citizens. While a DWI conviction is not specifically identified in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) as an offense that can result in deportation, there are some circumstances in which drunk driving may result in deportation. For this reason, it is imperative for anyone who is a non-citizen who has been arrested for DWI to speak with a qualified lawyer, as soon as possible.
Importantly, even experienced criminal defense attorneys who have been practicing law for years may not be aware of the potential immigration consequences of a DWI conviction. The intersection between immigration and criminal law is complicated and is has recently become recognized by many as its own area of law, known commonly as “crimmigration.” Understand the way in which the two areas interact is a specialized skill, so individuals with immigration concerns arising from a criminal case should be certain to speak with a lawyer that is familiar with this developing area of law.
Driving While Suspended from DWI
It is important to note here that in many cases, a first-time DWI offense without any aggravating factors is unlikely to result in deportation. Generally speaking, in order to be a deportable offense, the DWI must also involve or itself be a crime involving “moral turpitude” (CIMT) or be classified as an aggravated felony. As a result, the circumstances surrounding the offense will determine whether it could potentially result in removal from the United States.
One of the more common ways in which a DWI rises to the level of a crime of moral turpitude is if the driver was driving with a license that was suspended from a previous DWI. There are many other aggravating factors that could make a DWI offense serious enough as to justify removal proceedings, including driving with a child in the car or driving with the intent to cause injury to another person.
Facing Deportation for DWI
In cases where a person who is a non-citizen is facing deportation after a DWI arrest, there may be several legal options available. First of all, there is always the option of directly challenging the DWI case in a number of ways. Some of the more commonly utilized defenses to allegations of drunk driving include the following:
- Challenging the Reason for the Initial Stop – Under U.S. law, law enforcement officers must have a requisite level of reasonable suspicion in order to make a traffic stop. If it can be established that an officer did not have this degree of suspicion, all evidence gathered after the stop may be deemed inadmissible in court.
- Arguing that Any Chemical Testing that Was Performed Was Inaccurate – In many DWI arrests, the strongest evidence of intoxication exists in the form of the results of the chemical testing of a driver’s blood, breath, or urine. If it can be shown that these results are unreliable, they may exclude from evidence, forcing the prosecution to drop the case.
- Introducing Evidence that Any Observed Signs of Intoxication Were the Result of a Medical Condition – In some cases, a driver may have a medical condition that involves symptoms that may be mistaken for intoxication.
In cases where there are no defenses available, a person facing deportation may still of options.
Call a New Jersey Crimmigration Attorney Today to Discuss Your Legal Options after a DWI Arrest
If you are a foreign national that has been arrested for driving while intoxicated, you should talk to an attorney familiar with the potential immigration consequences of DWI, regardless of whether or not there are any clear aggravating factors. In the event that your offense could result in deportation, it is best to start to address that issue as soon as possible, and if it does not, an experienced lawyer will be able to advise you as to that fact. To schedule a case evaluation with New Jersey crimmigration lawyer Ronald P. Mondello, call our office today or send us an email through our online contact form available here.