NJ DWI Update: Immigrants Legal and Illegal can Face Backlash following DWI-related Traffic Accidents

With all of the focus on illegal immigration over the past decade or so, it is should not be a surprise that part of this debate regarding undocumented aliens leads to discussions of deportation for various crimes committed by individuals who have entered the country under questionable circumstances. While there are various points of view regarding the benefit to this country as a nation built by immigrants, the argument that those who flout our laws blatantly and with criminal intent is a strong one.

As New Jersey DWI defense lawyers, my colleagues and I are dedicated to helping those individuals who have been accused of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, prescription drugs and other controlled dangerous substances (CDSs). My staff has a great deal of experience in trial law, which includes both civil and criminal litigation.

Being charged with a drunken driving offense is serious, not to mention embarrassing and potentially detrimental to one’s personal, professional and public life. There is really no good reason why anyone should walk into a courtroom unprepared to fight for one’s legal rights following a DWI or drug DUI arrest. While there is never any guarantee of a not guilty verdict or dismissal of charges, having a qualified drunk driving attorney by one’s side is a smart choice.

Here in the Garden State, it is not hard to find news stories and police press releases that cover the latest drunk driving arrests in counties such as Atlantic, Hudson, Monmouth, Bergen and Middlesex. All across the state, motorists are stopped for essentially routine traffic violations only to be taken into custody on suspicion of being legally intoxicated by beer, wine or hard liquor, or even impaired by some kind of doctor-prescribed medication or illegal substance.

But the question of illegal immigrants causing drunk driving-related traffic accidents has really raised the ire of law enforcement and opponents of illegal immigration. Based on an editorial dating from earlier this summer, a portion of the populace is likely considering the option of deportation for any undocumented immigrant who drinks and drives. According to that piece, an illegal immigrant was allegedly drunk when he entered Rte 29 going the wrong way and hit another vehicle near the exit for Rte 129 at 3am in the morning. In the aftermath of that crash, the other driver and his four-year-old daughter were killed; the man’s son survived with a broken arm.

The author points to the apparent fact that the supposed drunk driver, who now lives in the Camden area, had a previous DWI arrest down in Texas prior to his move to New Jersey. The argument continues that if the man had been convicted of that earlier DWI, then he should have been deported back to his home country to serve his time. Now another, more serious offense has allegedly been committed, for which this individual began his New Jersey experience in the Mercer County Correctional Center.

The author likely reflects the thinking of many people who generally have no complaint with so-called undocumented people from various places around the globe coming to the U.S. to find a better life. But the trouble comes when citizens of this country see illegals flouting not only American immigration laws, but civil and criminal laws as well.

The fear, it appears, is that immigration reform could give every illegal immigrant in this country the “right” to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The author and others just want these “guests” to comport themselves in a responsible manner or be deported for their crimes and civil violations.

DWI should mean automatic deportation, Trentonian.com, June 19, 2013

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