DWI/ DUIThe Attorney General’s (AG) Office in New Jersey emphasizes cooperation between local police and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) regarding arrests and detection of crime. The AG policy directs that an arresting officer must report immigration status to ICE and the prosecutor. New Jersey has implemented the system by an arrest report question intended to obtain particular information about defendants who are non-US citizens. New Jersey’s stated policy is to continue a cooperative relationship with ICE for public safety improvement.
When arrested and taken into custody for DWI, or indictable charges in New Jersey, AG policy directs that the police officer will ask immigration status. This question is already included in the current DWI arrest reports in many police agencies. In most arrest reports there is a section to identify whether an arrestee is a US citizen or not. You have the right not to answer, but DO NOT GIVE FALSE INFORMATION.
Besides basic information such as defendant’s name, address, phone number, age and the date of birth, the arresting officer can also ask the defendant’s place of birth, immigration status, and nationality. Based on an arrestee’s information, the police department can inquire about the arrestee’s immigration status to ICE.
The DWI arrest report also includes various fields to investigate whether the defendant’s record matches with other databases. Such fields include SBI identification Number, FBI Identification Number, Alien Registration Number, and CAD Identification Number. Such arrest reports are intended to serve the State’s purpose to coordinate and share information with ICE. Based on the information on the arrest report, the police department will access the Law Enforcement Teletype System (LETS). The response from accessing such databases exhibits immigration related information. The response can appear as follows.
****BASED ON THE INFORMATION PROVIDED****
THE FOLLOWING I.C.E. RECORD APPEARS TO RELATE:
I-94 Admission #:
Port or Entry:
Class of Admission:
This database further indicates whether the inquired individual entered the U.S. legally or not. It also mentions the possibility of overstay of the individual.
The immigration issue can be more complicated when you are facing some jail time. New Jersey law provides that there is a possibility or requirement of imprisonment for DUI convictions in some cases. That means even if you are a first offender, you may go to jail if you are convicted. If you are a third offender and get convicted, you will almost certainly go to jail. If a DWI is an element of a criminal charge, this may cause some immigration problems depending on the defendant’s current immigration status.
As you see above, the American database system is very advanced and Immigration Law is highly complex. You need a competent DWI & Criminal defense attorney who is aware of immigration consequences to do the best to defend your chance for a future life in America.
If you are a non-US citizen and get arrested for any charges, we highly recommend contacting this office immediately. This office defends international clients in consultation with an immigration attorney.