What can I do if my boyfriend is an illegal alien and was arrested for a drunk driving? 38 Answers as of January 28, 2011

My boyfriend was arrested drunk driving and having no license. He is illegal. Will he be deported? Can I do something to stop it?

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David Lurie, Criminal Defense Lawyer
David Lurie, Criminal Defense Lawyer | David M. Lurie
Different offenses have different impacts on the status of people without US citizenship. No matter what he will be better off with a lawyer.
Answer Applies to: Missouri
Replied: 1/28/2011
Clifford Clendenin & O'Hale, LLP
Clifford Clendenin & O'Hale, LLP | Locke T. Clifford
DWI is not considered an aggravated felony, nor a crime of moral turpitude, so it is unlikely he will deported as a result of the conviction, but if he is placed under a federal detainer, he may face deportation for being here illegally. You need to contact an immigration attorney to discuss if there is anything that can be done to change his status.
Answer Applies to: North Carolina
Replied: 1/22/2011
Edward  D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law
Edward D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law | Edward D. Dowling IV
Firs this response is general information only and does not establish an attorney client relationship. However I would need further details in order to answer such as whether he is charged with a felony or misdemeanor DWI and whether he has a criminal record. If he has no criminal record and is not convicted of a crime then e may not be deported. However he may be deported depending on his exact immigration status or he may be able to file an application and avoid deportation. However if he does get convicted he will be deported. Looking forward to hearing from you further.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 1/18/2011
Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
The single best thing you can do is help him get a lawyer ASAP. DWIs are unique in that there are usually opportunities to have hearings in an administrative capacity - here, the officer can be put on the stand, before the DA even has the file, and an administrative officer for the Department of Public Safety serves as a judge. The benefit is to cross examine the officer, lock down his/her testimony, and get evidence up front for later use. This is the only crime where a defense lawyer can get this information in advance. But, the time limit to request an ALR is very short - 10 days from date of arrest. Most DWI clients wait until they receive a letter or notice from the Court to show up and talk to the Judge. By this time, the prosecutor has all the information, your defense lawyer hired at the last minute has no information and the prosecutor has all the power.

My firm handles DWIs in Collin County. If the charge is pending here, please let me know. Otherwise, you should get him a lawyer sooner rather than later.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 1/17/2011
Law Offices of Scott G. Hilderman
Law Offices of Scott G. Hilderman | Scott G. Hilderman
He will probably not be deported for the DUI. Generally, they will only deport for felonies because of resource issues and priorities; however, it is possible. You should discuss this issue with an immigration lawyer as soon as possible.
Answer Applies to: Montana
Replied: 1/17/2011
    Nichols Law Firm
    Nichols Law Firm | Michael J. Nichols
    He will in all likelihood face deportation status but the ultimate answer depends on many factors.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 1/17/2011
    Law Office of Michael E. Hendrickson
    Law Office of Michael E. Hendrickson | Michael E. Hendrickson
    Merely because your boyfriend has been arrested for DUI doesn't necessarily mean that he will come to the attention of immigration authorities. His DUI arrest is a state matter and his illegal immigration a federal matter and the "twain may never meet", so to speak (or so you should hope).
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 1/16/2011
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
    All is not lost. However, you need to hire an attorney to help out on this problem.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/15/2011
    Law Office of Aaron Nielson
    Law Office of Aaron Nielson | Aaron Nielson
    Your boyfriend needs and attorney that understands both criminal defense and immigration law. Has your boyfriend been released from jail or is he being held? Is the hold for the DUI or for Immigration?
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 1/14/2011
    Smith & John
    Smith & John | Kenneth Craig Smith, Jr.
    If he is convicted of driving without a license he will be deported.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 1/14/2011
    Law Offices of John Carney
    Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
    Illegal aliens can be deported for felony convictions or simply because they are discovered after being brought into court. If he does not have a "green card" his arrest may trigger immigration proceeding resulting in deportation. Often a DWI case can be reduced to an infraction of Driving While Impaired, which is not a criminal conviction. This may not effect his status or result in deportation. You should retain an attorney who is experienced with both DWI and Immigration cases. Immigration cases are a specialty and are often very expensive. Any federal case is going to result in legal fees in excess of $5,000 and a DWI in New York City is often a $2,000 fee or more. If he does not have an income or any property or funds he will be eligible for Legal Aid in State Court and an assigned attorney in Federal Court. You are usually better off to have a retained attorney handle both matters if you can afford it since the consequences are such that you want to have the best chance to get the most lenient sentence and best results under the circumstances. Call me for a free consultation any time.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 1/14/2011
    Russ Schenewerk and Associates, LLC
    Russ Schenewerk and Associates, LLC | Joseph W. Allen
    I handle criminal defense matters and many DWI cases and many of my clients are from a foreign country and here working. I do not, however, handle immigration law and always advise any clients who are worried about deportation issues to consult with an immigration attorney. Sometimes I represent someone in their criminal case while they have an immigration attorney working on the deportation issue at the same time. I would certainly advise him to consult with an attorney who is experienced in the field of immigration.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 1/14/2011
    Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC
    Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC | Lacy Fields
    The penalties for committing crimes if you are not a citizen are often deportation. If the only crime is drunk driving, he might be okay unless the prosecutor considers that a "crime involving moral turpitude." If so, he would be ineligible for citizenship for the next five years, and he MAY be considered ineligible for admission back into this country. I.e. if he leaves the country, he will not be permitted to return. In order to truly answer your question, an attorney will have to know his exact immigration status.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 1/14/2011
    The Law Offices of Stephen M. Wiles, LLC
    The Law Offices of Stephen M. Wiles, LLC | Stephen M. Wiles
    There is a fairly recent U.S. Supreme Court case that addresses this issue.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 1/14/2011
    Law Office of Thomas F. Mueller
    Law Office of Thomas F. Mueller | Thomas Mueller
    If they did not keep him in custody, they probably will not deport him. It's usually the jailers that notify ICE. He should make all his court appearances and comply with all court orders . that way he will keep a low profile. If he wants to avoid making the court appearances he can retain counsel. we handle many of those cases and would be pleased to talk to him. call Tom Mueller.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/14/2011
    Austin Legal Services, PLC
    Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
    That will depend on whether or not the authorities report it to the feds or if the feds notice he was picked up when doing a lien check. I had a similar type of case where the feds found on and put a federal hold on my client; but that was little different since death resulted in the accident and your case is just a drunk driving. It's a coin toss really.

    The best thing you can do is get him a good DUI attorney. Even if the feds don't find out about his status, he is still facing very serious trouble, especially with no license. Jail is a good possibility. Retain a good DUI attorney soon.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 1/14/2011
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
    An illegal alien can be deported for a variety of criminal offenses. Actually the agency responsible for making this decision is ICE, Immigration enforcement. If he is targeted for deportation, the only assistance could be from representation by an Immigration Attorney.k
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 1/14/2011
    Nelson & Lawless
    Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
    You? Nothing, except hire him an attorney, or have him apply to the Public Defender if he qualifies. Yes, illegal aliens face potential deportation for crimes. He would have appeal rights in those proceedings, so you could hire an attorney for that. If serious about hiring private counsel for him, feel free to contact me.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/14/2011
    Bloom Legal, LLC
    Bloom Legal, LLC | Seth J. Bloom
    The best thing to do would be to consult an attorney who specializes in immigration issues. You will also need a criminal attorney to fight the drunk driving charges. The matter will depend largely upon the state in which he was arrested and his current work status. Unfortunately our firm does not handle immigration or employment issues but we do handle criminal defense and specifically drunk driving issues.

    If the drunk driving offense occurred in the state of Louisiana and you need legal representation in that matter, we invite you to contact our firm.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 1/14/2011
    Goolsby Law Office
    Goolsby Law Office | Richard Goolsby
    While I am a former state and federal prosecutor, and currently, I am a criminal defense lawyer, we do not handle immigration matters, so I do not know the answer to your specific question concerning the impact of the charge. However, I can see that it is imperative that he should retain an experienced criminal lawyer as soon as possible, and hopefully, he will find a criminal attorney who also handles immigration issues, too. Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 1/14/2011
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly | Brendan M. Kelly
    Bond him out as long and they have not placed a detainer on him and then hopefully his attorney can keep him out of jail. Once in jail they will run a check and deport him.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 1/14/2011
    LT Pepper Law
    LT Pepper Law | Luke T. Pepper
    He might be deported but that depends on the jurisdiction. Given the backlog in cases, he is probably ok. This might be wake up call to start his way down the path toward citizenship.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 1/14/2011
    McWhirter Law Firm
    McWhirter Law Firm | Barry McWhirter
    It really depends on your boyfriend's circumstances. For example, has he ever been deported before? Does he have any other criminal convictions? Have they placed an immigration hold on him? Has anyone ever filed an immigration petition/application for him previously? How long has he been in the country? Does he have children that are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents?

    These are a few of the questions that would need to be answered before someone can tell you whether your boyfriend will be deported or not. As a general rule, however, one DUI is not a deportable crime, but, if they have placed an immigration hold on him, then you need to hire a lawyer who works in both criminal law and immigration law very quickly to try to avoid him being deported.
    Answer Applies to: Tennessee
    Replied: 1/13/2011
    The Law Office of B. Elaine Jones
    The Law Office of B. Elaine Jones | B. Elaine Jones
    I am sorry but there is nothing that you can do. If he is here illegally, once they have finished with him in the criminal court system they will turn him over to INS, I wish I had a better answer for you.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 1/13/2011
    Law Office of Geoffrey M. Yaryan
    Law Office of Geoffrey M. Yaryan | Geoffrey M. Yaryan
    If he was arrested and released, then they likely will not find out he is illegal. If he is still in custody he probably has an immigration hold, and he will be deported, there is nothing you can do.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/13/2011
    The Law Offices of Jason Chan
    The Law Offices of Jason Chan | Jason Chan
    Have him talk to a lawyer
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 1/13/2011
    Law Office of Elmer H.
    Law Office of Elmer H. | Elmer H.
    The legal defense of any such case does not vary with immigration status. What differs is the impact of a conviction or guilty plea. Hire the best, expect the best and pay for the best you can afford. Dismissal or acquittal solves all those problems.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 1/13/2011
    The Law Office of Kevin O'Grady
    The Law Office of Kevin O'Grady | Kevin O'Grady
    You need an attorney that concentrates on both criminal law and deportation and removal proceedings. Some criminal defense attorneys do not work immigration cases and some immigration attorneys do not do criminal cases. DUI is also a subset of criminal law and you need someone who is familiar with all three, criminal law generally, DUI specifically and removal proceedings. Because the consequences can be cumulative, you want to hire a DUI attorney to start, but have him prepared to work on the immigration matter too.
    Answer Applies to: Hawaii
    Replied: 1/13/2011
    Law Offices of Ryan P. Murphy
    Law Offices of Ryan P. Murphy | Ryan P. Murphy
    You need to get your boyfriend out of jail. The bail should be low if this is a first offense DUI misdemeanor with no injuries.

    If this is his first encounter with the law, he should not be deported.

    Should you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact my office.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/13/2011
    The Law Office of Eric R. Chandler, P.C., L.L.O.
    The Law Office of Eric R. Chandler, P.C., L.L.O. | Eric R. Chandler
    Those are two separate issues. Now, if I.C.E. notices that he is in custody and is illegal, they may initiate an immigration proceeding; but the DUI case is completely separate from the immigration case. Tell him to speak to a criminal defense attorney. He may also want to set up a consult with an immigration lawyer to discuss his citizenship status.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 1/13/2011
    Lawrence Lewis
    Lawrence Lewis | Lawrence Lewis, PC
    Bond him out of jail before the ICE hold drops. After the ICE hold drops, it is a wrap, but some unethical immigration attorney will tell you IF you bring him $ 5K he will be able to help. I haven't seen anyone notget deported in GA under the circumstances that you describe, whether they spent the $ 5K or not.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 1/13/2011
    Law Office of Andrew Roberts
    Law Office of Andrew Roberts | Andrew Stephen Roberts
    He will be deported if ICE picks him while he is in custody.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/13/2011
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C.
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C. | Dennis Roberts
    If the cops figure out he is illegal they will turn him over to ICE but figuring it out is not easy. Usually cops figure it out if the guy has a thick accent and then they question him about immigration status. If we assume he does get reported to immigration I don't know what you can do. Find a good immigration lawyer. I don't know where you live but there is an excellent one named Phil Levin. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/13/2011
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    Yes. You can help him hire a DUI specialist to prevent a conviction of DUI.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/13/2011
    Miller & Harrison, LLC
    Miller & Harrison, LLC | David Harrison
    You should hire a lawyer for him. Although DUI is not a deportable offense if it is his first, being in jail may trigger an ICE hold.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 1/13/2011
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