Criminal Defense attorney Walter is located in Waco, they help people in some of the surrounding counties, Bell Bosque Falls, and some of the smaller counties around here.
He’s been a criminal defense attorney for a long time, he represents people just about on anything and everything, and they also have had a chance to help people after the fact they’ve already been convicted, and try to help them out of situations they may have gotten into.
If I Have A Criminal Record Would Be Affected By That In My Immigration Case?
For an immigrant or someone who has an immigration case, their criminal history and their current status with any criminal cases are extremely important.
In fact, most of the time when we have a client come to our office and they’ve had some law enforcement interaction in the past, even if they report that they were arrested and no charges were ever filed, we’ve got to go find those records.
We’re looking for the criminal outcome in every law enforcement interaction for our clients, because each type of interaction can have a different consequence.
The reason why this sounds complicated is that each immigration case type has different consequences for different crimes, depending on whether the person is going for a Green Card through marriage, or a U Visa for crime victims, or they’re applying for asylum, or they are applying for TPS, or they’re renewing their DACA.
All of those have different laws about what crimes are allowed in criminal convictions, and which ones aren’t.
You really have to know what exactly is in the record, and this is something that often people who have had law enforcement interactions don’t know, this is not something you will know off the top of your head.
Most criminal defense lawyers also don’t know the immigration consequences of certain criminal activity, and so they’re often trying to answer their immigrant clients’ questions about what this is going to mean for them in the future, and they may or may not have all that information.
So, this is why it is very important to check everyones’ criminal background through an immigration process, it is of the utmost importance, it is as important as the correct spelling of your name and your date of birth.
When Criminal Defense Attorneys Have To Recommend An Immigration Attorney?
Anytime a criminal defense attorney may have somebody that’s got some kind of legal status in the United States, even if they don’t have any kind of legal status, the thing most people worry about in criminal cases is what’s going to happen to them: Am I going to go to jail? Am I going to get probation? What fines are going to be involved?
Those are all important things but for somebody with some kind of immigration status, that’s all sort of secondary to what might happen to that status, so a criminal defense attorney’s preference is that they always have an immigration attorney that they can at least consult with, and ask questions.
They prefer the client to actually have an immigration attorney on board, because that’s something that for most people is a lot more important, and then, what happens in a criminal case? You may get probation, and you may get your case resolved, and you don’t go to jail, but it doesn’t do you much good if ICE comes, picks you up, takes you and starts removal proceedings on you.
How Often Does ICE Get Involved With Immigrants In Criminal Defense Cases?
In the criminal defense practice, thankfully, a lot less than prior administrations, we used to see that almost everybody that got arrested and came through jail, ended up with an ICE hold on.
We don’t really see it as much now except for serious offenses like sexual assaults and serious crimes, but just because you don’t get an ICE hold put on to you, it doesn’t mean that you’re not going to run into problems.
How Often Does ICE Get Involved With Immigrants In Immigraiton Cases?
All of this is changing, the enforcement priorities for immigration are up in the air right now, that’s the bottom line, so we could start to see ICE holds where we haven’t in the past.
Back when we had Obama in office, he set out a memo of enforcement priorities meaning: This agency of immigration and customs enforcement, does not have the resources to actually go out and detain and deport all of the undocumented people in the U.S, so we’re going to decide who are we going to prioritize for deportation as an agency.
Obama said it’s going to be serious criminals, recent entrants, people who belong to gangs, etc, and then, on the first day in office, Trump said: SCRATCH THAT, everybody is a priority.
Then, we entered into the era during the Trump administration, where undocumented immigrants who had police interaction were almost automatically detained and put into deportation proceedings, and we saw a lot of good people with a long history in the United States deported during the Trump years.
We all probably heard about that, then, Biden took office and he said: We’re going to return back to something like the Obama enforcement priorities, where we’re going to focus on serious criminals and people who belong to gangs, etc.
He implemented these enforcement priorities again, and that’s when we saw the ICE hold drop, and so for the last few years, most immigrants are not at risk unless they’re charged with something very serious, being picked up by ICE or have an ICE hole put on them.
There has been recent litigation and the essence of this it’s probably Ken Paxton who brought the Lawsuit State of Texas and said: Oh, actually Biden doesn’t have the authority to decide who the priorities for deportation are. Which is insane, because of course the president has the authority to decide how the federal agency that he runs will prioritize its resources.
The outcome of the court, a conservative court, said: You know what? I don’t think the president does have that authority. And so now, like as of last week, or maybe a couple weeks ago, we’re in this new era under this court order, where essentially the ICE agents themselves are the ones who are deciding whether someone’s a priority for the agency or not.
That’s going to result in conservative jurisdictions depending on the ICE agent, depending on the mood of the office, depending on the supervisor, they’re gonna start detaining people, deporting people, putting ICE holds on them on a whim, because that’s now what the court has held.
The bottom line for immigrants is that there is no guarantee that you will not have an ICE hold put on you when you are detained by the police, so you should almost think about it and treat it as if we’re back to the Trump era, in your level of caution, do not drive drunk, we’ve got Uber, we’ve got Lyft, there is no excuse, do not get behind the wheel of a car if you are an immigrant and you have been drinking, especially if you’re an immigrant, be really really cautious, do everything you can not to get arrested.
DWI’s & Immigrants In 2022
With criminal defense law, a lot depends on where you committed your offense, in one county, you may have a pretty good chance of getting a lesser charge, if you committed in another county, your options may not be so great.
Usually, if you have any options, the options are some kind of lesser traffic offense, reckless driving, is something that sometimes it’s used to see in a criminal defense law office.
It’s usually limited to people that is their first offense, they haven’t been in any kind of trouble before, it’s not a serious case, it’s not somebody that’s driving with a point one six, or one seven breath alcohol level, there’s not any kind of aggravating factor like an accident, but that’s available in some places, not others.
In Waco it’s a rarity to get a prosecutor to agree to something like that.
Some kind of pretrial diversion program is available sometimes, but those are usually your options, they are pretty limited on DWI cases.
Which Are The Consequences Of DWI In An Immigration Case?
For DACA applicants, for example, if you get a DWI you can’t renew your DACA, and if you have a pending DWI you can’t renew your DACA.
Right now only DACA renewals are allowed, you can still file DACA initials. We still have the final regulations that the agency still isn’t issuing decisions on DACA initials, but if you have a pending DACA renewal, you get charged for DWI, it could take you months or years to get that resolved, and in the meantime, your DACA expires and you’re back into DACA initial land.
It can affect citizens or good moral character for people who want to apply for citizenship, so if you already have a Green Card and you’re looking to naturalize, you can’t have an arrest unless it was just a totally wonky arrest, that the charges ended up getting dismissed, and you can document that within the last five years, or three years, if you’re married to a U.S citizen.
DWIs can impact certain types of cases.
Other types of cases are not so impactful, humanitarian cases, for example. If you’re applying for a Trafficking Visa, T Visa, crime victims Visa like a U Visa, or even in many cases a Green Card through family, a DWI is not going to impact you all that much, but none of this is legal advice for you in your own individual case, never ever rely on general information or Google search, a notario, friend, family member, your twin who has the exact same history as you, none of that is legal advice for you and your case.
If I Get Detained, Should I Speak Or Not With The Police?
It depends on what they’re talking to you about, but our standard advice is that if they are investigating a crime, and they think that you’re involved or they think that you’re a suspect, you should never ever talk to the police. Nothing good generally happens.
There’s a lot of reasons for that but if they already suspect you’ve committed a crime, they’re not looking for information that’s going to clear you, and say: Oh, we’re just going to let you go.
They’re looking for information that’s going to implicate you and confirm what they already think, so you can end up saying things that are taken out of context, and that they’re going to come back and hurt you later.
The standard advice is never do it, if you’re going to do it, make sure you call a criminal defense attorney first, before you go do it, and we’re probably going to tell you not to do it.
What Type Of ID Should I Have If I Get Stopped?
The one thing you don’t want to do is lie about it, because then, that’s a criminal offense, you’re about to lie about who you are, so that’s going to be a criminal offense.
If you don’t have any ID and you don’t have a license, you’re going to get probably a ticket for driving without a license, that’s a ticket that’s not a big deal, but unfortunately, we often see people that are in a situation like that, and they try to say that they’ve got a license and it’s in their brother’s name or something, and making a false statement to a police officer is an offense, so you don’t get yourself in more trouble than you’re already in.
Should you have further questions about criminal charges, your DWI, or your specific case, you may contact us at (855) 502-0555. After a brief 10-minute evaluation of your case over the phone, we will let you know what options you have. You can also follow us on our social networks so you don’t miss our weekly broadcasts on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitch.