How to Respond If You Are Stopped For a DUI
What is a DUI? How can a DUI impact your immigration goals? Have you wondered about this? In this video, immigration attorney, Andres Mejer, answers those and more questions.
Andres Mejer: I’m on this mission and as an attorney, I help people with their immigration and criminal issues like DUI’s. Why do you ask? Because criminal issues can and do impact your immigration goals. So keep watching to find out more about how and what you can do to protect yourself.
Andres Mejer: So let’s start. What is DUI?
Andres Mejer: Well, look, every state has its own definition. New Jersey statutes. Thirty-nine seven code 4-50. That’s where they defined what is driving under the influence. Now, to be convicted in New Jersey, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt. Three things. You’re operating a motorized vehicle. So operating generally means you’re sitting in the driver’s seat and the ignition is on. Now, it used to be that the keys in the ignition. Nowadays you just press a button. So you’re operating a motorized vehicle. That could be a car, a boat, an electronic bike. So let’s think simply operating a car on a public road while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Now alcohol. They measure the level of your alcohol in your blood. You can have a drink and drive. That’s not a problem. What you can’t do is have more than the legal limit, which is point 0 8. Alcohol, in which case you are drunk. You can drink and drive and you can’t drive drunk. Makes sense. I hope so. It’s been a long day. So the state has to prove all three. Let me give you an example. We had a client passed out drunk in front of a liquor store.
Andres Mejer: I mean, I saw the video. You know, the officer comes in, wakes him up. It couldn’t even stand by himself. He was smashed. Police arrested and charged with DUI. He came to us. Guess what? He wasn’t convicted. How do you ask? Well, the video only showed that he was drunk. It didn’t show when it did show that he drove the car. Or better yet, that he operated the car when the officer came in. The keys were not in the ignition and the car was not on. It could be. He had a lot of alcohol. Drove to the liquor store and passed out. Or it could be he drove to the liquor store, had a lot about call passed out, but wasn’t driving. Maybe he never drove drunk. Police couldn’t prove it. Now imagine in the middle of winter. And he was freezing. He turns the, minus five degrees below. He turns on the ignition, puts the heat on, and passes out. Now, he would be guilty because he’s operating the car.
Andres Mejer: So but you could be convicted of a DUI even without having any alcohol. Like I said, under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Andres Mejer: Emphasis on drugs here. So marijuana or even prescription medicine. You imagine you’re,. you’re involved in a car accident. You have back pain. A doctor gives you medication. You take it. Officer pulls you over. The officer having a drink and you’re stumbling. And, you know, you’re impaired. You’re under the influence of that drug. If you yourself had caused an accident, it’s not the other person that didn’t take them out of your medicine under that condition. You did. So you would be guilty. Now under the influence of drugs is a particularly big problem if you’re not a U.S. citizen. Because drug possession is a federal crime, even if it isn’t a crime in your state. Imagine Colorado in most circumstances, drug possession results in your deportation even if you’re a Green Cardholder. Now, what do you do if you’re stopped for DUI or you’re stopped and you think the officer might charge you with DUI because you might have had some alcohol?
Andres Mejer: Show your red card. We’ve talked about this in the past. This card could. I’m not going to say it’s going to save your life. You know, it might. But I can’t promise that you know, I’m an attorney, after all. Legal disclaimer. But what I can tell you is you’re going to know your rights and you’re going to. And the card will prevent you from volunteering information that the officer could use against you. If you want a copy of the red card, it has your rights on it. You don’t have to memorize it. It’s in English and Spanish. It has our phone number on it. If you want it to message just or give us a call. We’ll see if you’re in the state of New Jersey and mail it out to you if you’re outside the state of. NewJersey, I will send you an electronic file. I’m not going to mail them out of state. You can always come to your office to pick it up. That’s never a problem.
Andres Mejer: So suppose you over. You don’t have your red card. You don’t know your rights. You don’t say the right things. And let’s be honest. You had one too many to drink. The officer will almost always ask you something like you’ve been drinking the night or they’ll just assume you didn’t say how much had you drank tonight? Now don’t lie, but don’t tell the truth.
Andres Mejer: I know that that’s a catch 22, right? Instead, because you have your red card. I won’t answer any question without my attorney present. Starts the investigation. And again, you’re not volunteering information that they could use against you. If the officer arrests you, then will he will force you to give a breath sample. Not physically, but I’ll tell you more than once. Are you refusing? You know, it is a separate crime because it is a separate crime. You can’t refuse to give a breath sample when the officer arrests you for driving under the influence. You can refuse to do other tests, but not to give a breath. Sample. What other tests? Listen, an officer. It would be nice if when the officer pulls you over and says, Hey, do you mind stepping outside the car? Would you mind doing some tests for us that I think will prove that you’re drunk? You know you don’t have to take them. But would you do me a favor and take these examples? No way an officer’s gonna do that. Instead, when they tell you to step outside, would you do some tests? They don’t give you the option to say no, but you can. They just don’t tell you that, you can refuse. Now you’ll likely be arrested if you refuse. But look, let’s be honest. If you’re under the influence, if you had drugs or alcohol, you’re not going to pass the test, that you’re just giving them ammunition that they’re going to use to arrest you. You’re better off not doing it. Many people can’t pass those tests even if they’re sober, particularly if you had certain injuries like your ankles, knees, hips, balance issues. You’re overweight or emphysema. You smoke too much and you have problems breathing. You know, there’s a variety of impairments that could prevent you from completing the tests. If you do, tell the officer, listen, I just had a hip replacement. I can’t do the test. Now, if you lie about it, that’s a different story. You know, if you’re 22 and have a hip replacement, it’s kind of hard to believe, but 62 or 52 maybe.
Andres Mejer: So if you have any questions, give us a call. Subscribe to our channel. We’re here for you. Thank you very much. I tried this method until next time.