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Non-immigrant Visa DUI Arrest

In 2016, the U.S. Department of State adopted a new policy as it relates people in the United States on a “nonimmigrant” visa. This is not a new law, rather a statement of a new policy which the United States Department of State.

Based on this policy, you be subject to what is known as a “prudential revocation.” In essence, your visa can be revoked on the basis of mental health issues, or physical issues. While the 2016 statement is not law per se, it is a strong position as it relates to DUIs and “nonimmigrant” visa status. Essentially, the U.S Department of State has determined that people, who are accused of a DUI, may have mental or physical issues sufficient to support the “prudential revocation” of visa status. What is truly disconcerting is this policy is triggered when you are arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, as opposed to being triggered upon a conviction of driving under the influence. As such, it is possible to have your nonimmigrant visa status revoked, even though you are completely innocent of the crime of driving under the influence in violation of California Vehicle Code §23152.

Luckily, if you are arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, and are here on a nonimmigrant visa, all is not lost. The newly adopted policy may have the practical effect of causing you nonimmigrant visa to be revoked; it does not automatically trigger deportation. There has not been enough time since the U.S. Department of state adopted this policy and now to truly determine the actual effect. Over time, attorneys across the country will keep a wary eye on the application of this policy. As of right now, the only thing we know about people who have had their nonimmigrant visa status revoked as a result of being accused of a DUI, is they will have to reapply for the visa prior to any attempts to enter the United States.

Utilizing a general understanding of the law, the Constitution, and personal experience, it is our belief that over time, the fact that someone has been accused of driving under the influence will form an insufficient basis to actually revoke a person’s visa status. It is much more likely that a conviction for a DUI will have an impact on the visa status of the person who has been convicted. As such, it is important to understand the crime itself, the penalties associated with a “simple” DUI, and the defenses an attorney from Los Angeles DUI Attorney Law Firm can raise to prevent a conviction being entered against you, and ultimately putting your visa status at risk.

What are the Elements the Prosecution will Have to Prove in Order to Convict me of Driving Under the Influence?

Pursuant to California Vehicle Code Section 23152, it is a punishable offense to operate a motor vehicle if any of the facts set forth below are true:

  1. While operating a motor vehicle, you have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher;

  2. While operating a “commercial vehicle”, your blood alcohol content is 0.04% or higher;

  3. While operating a motor vehicle, you are presently addicted to any drugs; and

  4. While operating a motor vehicle, you are under impaired by drugs, alcohol, or both.

Like all other criminal charges, the Prosecution must prove every element of the crime they are seeking to convict you of; this presents many opportunities for the skilled attorneys at Los Angeles DUI Attorney Law Firm to poke holes in the Prosecutor’s “theory of the case”, which may ultimately result in a dismissal, or acquittal, of the charges against you.

I Have Been Accused of Driving Under the Influence for the First Time, What Happens Next?

Being arrested for anything is a frightening experience, being arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence is frightening because of the immediacy of the consequences, and the impact on your life. At the time you are arrested on suspicion of violating California Vehicle Code §23152, the arresting officer will physically take your California Driver’s License away from you, and they will provide you with a pink piece of paper, commonly referred to as an “Admin Per Se.” This is your temporary driver’s license. The moment you are arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, the clock starts ticking as it relates to your driving privileges; you have ten (10) days, including the weekend, to request a hearing with the local Department of Motor Vehicles. The hearing at the DMV is for the purpose of convincing an administrative judge to set aside the automatic suspension of your driving privileges in California until the resolution of the criminal case against you.

The moment you are arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, it is in your best interest to contact an attorney at Los Angeles DUI Attorney Law Firm immediately; they will provide you the best opportunity to obtain a desirable outcome at your DMV hearing, and ultimately, your criminal trial.

The DMV hearing will focus on four (4) issues, and nothing else; it is not the time to provide the administrative judge a sob-story about the impact the loss of your license will have on your life. The administrative judge will accept evidence, and argument, as it relates to: (1) was there reasonable suspicion present to justify the traffic stop, (2) was there probable cause present to justify your arrest on suspicion of driving under the influence, (3) were you properly informed of the consequences of refusing to submit to a blood, or breath, test; and (4) did you refuse to perform the test when you were asked to do so. The attorneys at Los Angeles DUI Attorney Law Firm have ample experience representing individuals who were accused of driving under the influence in DMV hearings. This experience has the tangible benefit of our attorneys knowing precisely how the administrative judge wants the evidence and arguments set forth; it prevents the argument from being convoluted and hard to understand. Ultimately, the administrative judge presiding over the DMV hearing will issue what is known as a “finding of fact” and make a determination of whether or not to move forward with the suspension of your license, or to put the suspension on hold until a final determination of your guilt is made in criminal court. Once the determination is made, the criminal proceedings against you take place.

If you are ultimately convicted of driving under the influence, or you plead to a charge that involves intoxication and operating a motor vehicle; it is possible that your license will be suspended at that point, if it was put on hold after the DMV hearing. If you are convicted of your first DUI, the loss of your license is not the end of the consequences you will face.

I Have Been Convicted of a DUI, What are the Penalties I Might Face?

While California Courts treat DUIs very seriously, a person convicted of a DUI for the first time may face lesser penalties if they have an attorney advocating for them. Some of the penalties a first time offender may face include:

  • A fine ranging between $390 and $2,000; this includes the cost of the penalty, which is assessed after conviction;
  • You may be forced to enroll in, and complete, a treatment program designed to help with alcohol dependency;
  • Incarceration for a period of 2 days; and
  • Suspension of your California driving privileges for at least 30 days, depending on the facts surrounding your DUI. Once the suspension of your license has run its course, you will then face additional driving restrictions.

It is important to realize that the possible penalties listed above are associated with what is known as a “simple” DUI; that is a DUI without aggravating factors. For a detailed discussion of factors that can result in enhanced penalties, please refer to the article on our page title “aggravated DUI.”

I Have Been Accused of Driving Under the Influence, What can Los Angeles DUI Attorney Law Firm do for Me?

As mentioned at the beginning of this article, the consequences of a DUI are far reaching, and significant. Further, DUI convictions remain incredibly important for the following ten (10) years. This is because, if you are convicted of a DUI within the next ten years, you will be charged with a second offense DUI; the penalties associated with a second offense are significantly more severe. If you are convicted of a DUI four (4) times within a ten (10) year period, you will be charged with a felony DUI, this carries extreme penalties.

Since the cost of a DUI can be so staggering both financially and otherwise, it is important to have the very best attorney available, that is where Los Angeles DUI Attorney Law Firm comes into the picture. Our attorneys have extensive experience representing clients against DUI charges, and have proven results in the courtroom. For a detailed analysis of our results, please take the time to review the page on our website titled “recent results.”

Our attorneys will build the strongest case possible to defend you in the DMV hearing, allowing you to keep your driving privileges. We will take the defense we built on your behalf at the DMV and advocate that defense vigorously during trial. Some of the defenses we will raise, and fight for, include: (1) The officer imitated the traffic stop that resulted in your arrest without reasonable suspicion, in violation of your Constitutional rights, (2) The officer arrested you, without probable cause to believe you had been driving under the influence, (3) The breathalyzer test was flawed for a number of reasons; (4) The arresting officer failed to read you your Miranda rights before beginning “custodial interrogation.” There are many other defenses to be raised, but these are common defenses that succeed when they are put forth by an attorney skilled an advocating for their clients against charges of driving under the influence; that is precisely who the attorneys at Los Angeles DUI Attorney Law Firm are.

Being arrested, or convicted, for a DUI is a frightening experience for anyone. With you immigration status on the line, a DUI can be life altering. If you have been accused of driving under the influence, while on a nonimmigrant visa, contact Los Angeles DUI Attorney Law Firm at 424-285-5400 IMMEDIATELY. It is unclear what consequences you will face, but having one of our skilled attorneys representing your case will vastly improve the outcome of your case.

1This particular provision is intended as a catch-all for people who are below the legal limit of 0.08%, but the arresting officer still believes that whatever the person’s BAC is, it is still impacting their ability to operate their vehicle. This is a very difficult charge for a Prosecutor to prove, and it is rarely pursued.

2If you have an out-of-state driver’s license, please refer to the article on this site titled “Out of State Licenses.”