Lee & Garasia, LLC
  • Tel: 732-516-1717
  • Toll free: 888-404-5876
Experience, Accessibility, and Excellence for Over 20 Years
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  • "Mr. Lee and Ms. Garasia did a great job with my renewal of my permanent residence application. They help prepare the paperwork with such a great attention to details and accuracy. I will recommend the law firm every time." Read More

  • "Mr. Lee did a great job with the renewal of my permanent residence application. My case was very time sensitive and they worked really fast on my case with great detail and accuracy. I will recommend the law firm every time." Read More

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Criminal Law & Municipal Court Archives

New Jersey DWI Lawyer on Consequences of Drunk Driving on Visas

In this day and age of increased DWI enforcement, especially in New Jersey, more and more people are recognizing the adverse consequences a DWI arrest and/or conviction can have on one's immigration status, ie, potential removability. What is less well known is the impact of a DWI on visa applications, that is, the ability to get here in the first place if one has been arrested for or convicted of drunk driving. Consular officers are specifically instructed to follow a certain protocol when encountering visa applicants whose background checks reveal DWI related offenses. According to the Department of State, consular officers must refer applicants for visas to panel physicians (for further evaluation) in two circumstances: 1) an applicant has a single drunk driving offense or conviction within the last three calendar years or two or more drunk driving arrests or 2) convictions in any time period. This is in addition to referrals based on suspicion of a probable alcohol problem. While alcoholism is not in and of itself a specific ground of ineligibility for a visa to the United States, it is a medical condition that can render one inadmissible under 212(a)(1)(A)(iii) if a panel physician determines that the individual has an alcohol abuse problem which has or is likely to pose a danger to the property, safety, or welfare of the alien or others.

NJ Deportation Lawyer on Immigration Post Conviction Relief Applications

While the subject of post conviction relief applications often arises within the context of whether an attorney should have advised a criminal defendant of the potential immigration consequences of a plea, most of the case law seems to center around deportability: that is, whether someone who is already physically present in the United States and in many cases, lawfully admitted, may be removed from the US on account of the plea to the criminal charge. What is rarely discussed but arguably equally important is the issue of admissibility. The issue of admissibility may arise in a number of contexts including when someone physically present in the United States is applying for permanent residence as well as when Lawful Permanent Residents travel abroad and technically make an application for admission when they return. Foreign Born criminal defendants who are not United States Citizens should bear in mind that deportability and admissibility are not necessarily coterminous, and that while a certain plea may not necessarily render one deportable, it doesn't necessarily insulate one from admissibility issues. Equal consideration should be given to both, even if criminal defense attorneys are only aware of the deportability ramifications.

Could Certain Traffic Violations in NJ Lead to Deportation?

While most people generally understand that certain felonies and sometimes misdemeanors may constitute Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude, it is less understood that under certain circumstances, even traffic violations may rise to the level of crimes of moral turpitude. DWIs can, under aggravating conditions, get you deported. A recent case from the Board of Immigration Appeals from this year goes further and confirms that driving in a manner indicating a wanton or willful disregard for the lives or property of others while in the course of eluding a police officer in pursuit--at least as codified in Washington--is also a crime of moral turpitude. It is, of course, more complicated, but the decision does loosen the boundaries of what can potentially be a deportable offense. Foreign born residents of New Jersey charged with an offense involving elements of reckless driving and eluding should read the decision. The case is Matter of Armando RUIZ-LOPEZ from June 30, 2011, and can be found on the EOIR website.

Metuchen Immigration Lawyer and Traffic Ticket Attorney

As an immigration lawyer based in Edison, New Jersey, our office naturally serves a very diverse population of residents living not only in Edison, but also Woodbridge, Iselin, and Metuchen. Metuchen is incredibly mixed. The quaint borough notably has an Asian population of 7.23%. It is not clear whether undocumented aliens are part of this demographic. In any case, it is worth noting that besides being, in my opinion, one of the most scenic towns in the state, Metuchen is also one of the more aggressive in enforcing traffic laws. It is not uncommon for people to be charged with improper passing, DWI, as well as speeding around this area. Why is this significant? Because many people with immigration status problems are under the impression that they will only pop up on ICE's radar if they unfortunately have some sort of criminal history. What is not taken into account is that if traffic tickets are not handled responsibly, people may be incurring motor vehicle points which may in turn lead to license suspension if too many are accumulated. In some cases, people forget or ignore their traffic summonses, leading eventually to bench warrants. If an individual without status has the misfortune of being arrested for Driving While Intoxicated, or picked up on a warrant, he or she could conceivably come to the attention of ICE, the enforcement arm of DHS. The most recent sweep by ICE bears this out in which many people with arrests in Municipal Court were picked up. It goes without saying that individuals with status issues should of course be driving responsibly. Unfortunately, this is not a perfect world and mistakes do happen, whether it is the individual's or police officer's error. If you do have the misfortune of receiving a traffic summons, and your immigration status is not certain, make sure that you take care of it.

"Illegal" Aliens Being Picked Up in New Jersey for Deportation Because of Criminal Convictions

According to ICE, "Operation Crosscheck" was a resounding success. Our office had received anecdotal reports of as well consulted with people who were caught up in this recent dragnet, and now the statistics are actually out. According to the Asbury Park Press, the latest ICE sweep rounded up 2901 individuals in one week. In New Jersey, 86 convicted criminals were apprehended. In Monmouth alone, four people were picked up. More than 1600 had felony convictions, but our office received many calls from people who had minor, disorderly persons/misdemeanor type offenses. The point here is that individuals with criminal records, even if they are from municipal court, should definitely consult with a lawyer to determine both the criminal and immigration ramifications. Anyone (assuming that you are not already a US Citizen) who has even been arrested, even if for something like DWI or Driving While Suspended, is potentially vulnerable. It's only a matter of how wide ICE decides to broaden its target efforts. Of course, being arrested and being convicted are two different things, but do you really want to be in court or worse, detention, litigating that difference?

Criminal-Immigration Post Conviction Hearings (PCR) in New Jersey Stayed

On July 26 of this year, the Supreme Court of New Jersey signed an Order effectively staying all Post-Conviction Relief Applications regarding claims of ineffective assistance of counsel due to failure to properly advise of immigration consequences. All such petitions are currently on hold now pending the outcome of a case called State v. Gaitan. Oral arguments on the case had been scheduled for this month. However, the New Jersey Supreme Court has just advised that the hearing will be postponed to November of 2011 so that the Gaitan may be consolidated with another case involving similar issues, State v. Rohan Goulbourne.

IMMIGRATION, MUNICIPAL COURT, AND UNLICENSED DRIVERS IN NEW JERSEY

One of the most common traffic violations which undocumented aliens are charged with in our state is that of being an "unlicensed driver." Any alleged violation of this charge must be taken seriously. This is not a matter of just paying a fine, and some municipal courts around this State have been known to impose incarceration under certain circumstances. The provisions of the statute can be found at NJSA 39:3-10. The law provides that:

PROFESSIONAL RECOGNITION

    • Avvo Rating 10.0 | Superb
    • Client Distinction Award martindale.com | 2016 Martindale-Hubbell Client Distinction Award
    • New Jersey State Bar Association | Paris Lee Chair - Immigration Section 2015-2016
    • Nationally Recognized | Newsweek Nationwide Showcase | Top Attorneys 2013
    • New Jersey Chapter | American Immigration Lawyers Association | Angie Garasia | Chapter Chair 2015-2016
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Lee & Garasia, LLC
190 State Route 27
Edison, NJ 08820

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