Los Angeles DUI and the Dream Act
Drivers who are not citizens often have questions about what effect a DUI conviction will have on their ability to remain in the United States. The intersection of immigration law and DUI law has been become even more complicated with the adoption of the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act, more commonly known as the Dream Act or DACA, in 2012. Under this Federal law, certain non-citizens who came to the United States before the age of 16, who have lived in the United States for five consecutive years, who graduated from high school or received a GED, and are of good moral character are eligible for a deferral of any deportation or removal action.Requirements of the Dream Act
The Dream Act has a number of very strict requirements. A person would not be eligible for deferral if he or she has a conviction for a felony, a “significant misdemeanor” or multiple misdemeanors. The term “significant misdemeanor” is new to the Dream Act and does not correspond with any previous standard used in Federal immigration practice.
A significant misdemeanor is defined as a local, state or federal criminal offense that is punishable by between five days and one year in jail and that pertains to the sale or distribution of drugs, domestic violence, sexual exploitation or abuse, burglary, unlawful possession of a firearm or DUI. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) has indicated that a DUI is a significant misdemeanor regardless of whatever sentence is ultimately imposed.DUI and the Dream Act
Any person who is applying for DACA deferral or who already has been awarded this status and who has been arrested for a DUI offense should consult with a top-rated DUI attorney immediately. The consequences of a DUI conviction are severe to “Dreamers” and it is critical that every avenue of defense is fully explored. In certain situations, the prosecution may consider a reduced DUI charge that may prevent the defendant from being convicted of a DUI offense. This includes wet reckless under California Vehicle Code Section 23103/23103.5 VC, dry reckless under California Vehicle Code Section 23103 VC or exhibition of speed pursuant to California Vehicle Code Section 23109(c) VC.
In addition there may be issues with the case that may result in charges being dismissed or significantly reduced. If the driver was stopped and there was insufficient reasonable or probable cause to pull the vehicle over, the defense can file a motion to suppress pursuant to California Penal Code Section 1538.5 PC. If granted, the resulting DUI evidence would be suppressed and the prosecution would likely be unable to proceed and would have to dismiss the case.Expungements and the Dream Act
Having an expunged DUI conviction on one’s criminal record does not automatically disqualify someone from consideration under the DACA. Because of this, a DUI expungement is encouraged and a DACA applicant should speak with a qualified DUI attorney about expunging any old DUI conviction pursuant to California Penal Code Section 1203.4 PC. Any criminal history can result in a denial of relief, which is discretionary, and a DACA applicant with an expunged DUI convictions would still be subject to review.
If you or a loved one have been granted Dreamer status or are applying for DACA consideration, it is imperative that you discuss your situation with an experienced DUI lawyer as soon as possible. Michael Kraut is a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience who understands the severe consequences that a DUI conviction can trigger for Dreamers and works hard to ensure his clients receive the most comprehensive and thorough defense possible.
For more information about Los Angeles DUI and the Dream Act, and to schedule your free consultation, contact Michael Kraut at the Kraut Law Group located at 6255 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 1520, Los Angeles, CA 90028. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 323-464-6453.