Immigration Law + Criminal Law = ?

If you are NOT a US citizen, there is ALWAYS a chance that you can be deported! Being a legal permanent resident for 20 years or more does not protect you from deportation, IF you commit a crime!

Criminal law and immigration law are two distinct fields of law, but the problem is that committing certain crimes can lead to triggers in immigration law. The other problem is committing a crime in criminal law has a different name and different definition in immigration law. For instance, in immigration law you can be deported for committing an “aggravated felony” or committing two or more “crimes involving moral turpitude.” But if you look at the criminal statutes in Massachusetts there are no aggravated felonies or crimes involving moral turpitude.

What does “aggravated felony” and a “crime involving moral turpitude” (CIMT) mean? The answer is tricky. Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, the term aggravated felony includes acts of murder, rape, sexual abuse of a minor, drug trafficking, trafficking firearms or other destructive devices, theft or burglary where term of imprisonment is at least one year, child pornography, treason, and more. As you can see the list is pretty serious and extensive.

The term “crime involving moral turpitude” is even trickier. The Board of Immigration Appeals defined it as “conduct that shocks the public conscience as being inherently base, vile, or depraved, contrary to the rules of morality and the duties owed between man and man, either one’s fellow man or society in general.” Well what does that mean you ask? The immigration courts have determined that it generally includes: spousal abuse, child abuse, robbery, aggravated assault, animal fighting, theft, fraud, driving under the influence, and more. Crimes involving moral turpitude are much broader and can have serious consequences!

Those who are not US citizens should definitely hire an attorney if they are charged with ANY crime to ensure that it does NOT affect their immigration status!

Also if you are legal permanent resident and it is possible for you to naturalize, DO IT! You never know what can happen in the future and if for whatever reason you are charged with a crime, at least you will be assured that you cannot be deported if you are a citizen!



Cinco de Mayo– Margaritas and Mugshots

Today is Cinco de Mayo, a day notorious for eating Mexican food and drinking Margaritas and Coronas.

On May 5, younger crowds go out to bars to imbibe. This year, with Cinco de Mayo falling on a Thursday, its the perfect recipe for a night out to celebrate.

If you are heading out tonight, a few things to remember.

1.  The police also know it is Cinco de Mayo.  They will be out stopping cars tonight, looking for impaired or drunk operators. If you are drinking, call a friend, call a cab, call uber.

2. Drunk drivers will be on the road.  If you are not drinking and are on the road,  keep an eye out for other motorists. Be extra vigiliant watching for other drivers that may pose a hazard to you.

3.  Have fun.  Enjoy your margaritas.  Enjoy your enchiladas.  But be safe.  No one wants a Cinco de Mayo mugshot!

4. If you are arrested, call Broadbent & Taylor  for representation at 508-438-1198.

5.  If you are involved in an accident, contact us to see what your next step is.

#accident #massachusetts #drunkdriving #accidentlawyer #oui #ouilawyer

Can I Refuse Field Sobriety Tests?

In Massachusetts, if you are caught drinking and driving, most people know that you have the right to refuse a breathalyzer test, which results in an automatic 6 month license suspension.  But few know what happens if you refuse other tests going along with an OUI arrest.

Typically, if an officer suspects that you are impaired, he will request that you step out of the car to perform field sobriety tests.  These tests include saying your alphabet, counting, standing on 1 foot, and completing a 9 step walk and turn.

Most that are stopped complete these tests because they are not aware of any alternative. An officer does not give you a choice and ask if you want you do the test, however, you do have the ability to refuse.

If you refuse to do the tests (which can be done by saying “I am not going to do that”) the officer will arrest you and take you into custody.  You will be brought to the station where you have the right to then refuse the breathalyzer.

How does refusing these test benefit you? If you decide to take the matter to trial, refusing to take the field sobriety tests limits the amount of evidence that the officer can collect against you.  It is more likely that you will succeed at trial if you do not submit to the field sobriety and breathalyzer tests, since there is  less evidence to prove that you are guilly beyond a reasonable doubt.

If you were arrested for drunk driving, contact us to discuss the options in fighting your case.


Stopped for Drunk Driving in Massachusetts?

If you are stopped for drunk driving, there are a few things you should know about what rights you have at the time of the stop.

First, say as little as possible!!!  The officer will ask you preliminary questions.  Chances are, these answers will be admissable if you go to trial.  If you admit that you had 4 beers, that will go in the police report, and most likely come out at trial.  Your best answers if you have been drinking is to tell the officer that you don’t wish to answer any questions without a lawyer present. 

Refuse field sobriety tests.  Field sobriety tests are subjective.  They are all up to how the officer perceives you completed them.  You could feel that you executed each test properly, and still have the officer decide to fail you on the test.  These are very rarely video recorded.  If you refuse to do the tests, you are to be arrested immediately, however, your refusal is inadmissable at trial.

Portable Breath Tests are typicaly inadmissable.  If you choose to take a breathalyzer at the side of the road, it will typically be held inadmissable at the trial.  Because there is no way to calibrate the unit before each breath, the reading will be held inadmissable unless the Commonwealth of Massachusetts wants to pay an expert to testify to the unit’s accuracy.  It is a good chance for you to figure out whether you should take the breath test at the station, which is admissable.  If you score over the .08 on the portable breath test, chances are you would fail the actual breathalyzer.

Stay quiet.  Once you are arrested, do not talk to the officer.  Be polite, yes sir, no sir.  Remember that once you are given your Miranda Warnings ANYTHING YOU SAY WILL MOST LIKELY BE ADMISSABLE.  If you are asked questions at the station about how much you had to drink, where you were drinking, or anything like that, tell the officer you don’t want to answer those questions without a lawyer present.

Breathalyzer Test: If it is your first offense, and you refuse the breath test, your driver’s license will be suspended for 6 months. That being said, if you are drunk, and you refuse the test, you are greatly increasing the odds that you can win your case at trial.  

Video Evidence:  Keep in mind that most police stations are video monitored.  The police can use the booking video as evidence against you at trial.  Be careful not to make any incriminating statements.  Try to stand up straight.  This evidence can be make it or break it depending on how you carry yourself, whether your speech is clear, and whether you act out during the booking process.  Keep in mind that all other observations are the officer’s subjective memories.  The content on the video tape is objective evidence that the judge or jury can view and make a decision based on your conduct.


If you have been arrested for OUI/Drunk Driving in Massachusetts, contact my office for a free consultation.