July 2016
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DUI & Deportation: Can an Arrest Affect Your Immigration Status?
California has more immigrants, both documented and undocumented, than any other state in the country. The U.S. Census estimates that over 10 million people living in California were born in a foreign country. About three-quarters of these immigrants are in the country legally, while about a quarter are undocumented.

With so many immigrants in the state, it is not uncommon for a person with a visa or a green card to be arrested for driving under the influence. If you are an immigrant who is arrested for DUI, will your arrest affect your immigration status?

In general, a person is only deportable if he or she commits an aggravated felony, a crime of moral turpitude, or a few other specified offenses. Crimes of moral turpitude involve things like fraud, larceny, or crimes meant to harm persons or things. While the term is not very well defined, crimes of moral turpitude usually involve some element of purposeful deception or immoral behavior.

California legislators decided in 2014 that immigrants who plead guilty to an alcohol-related DUI conviction will not be eligible for deportation. The alcohol DUI falls within the federal "petty offenses" exceptions to crimes of moral turpitude because the maximum penalty for a misdemeanor DUI is no more than a year in jail.

As a result, most immigrants who are arrested for their first DUI will not face deportation. However, driving under the influence can be a deportable offense in certain circumstances. DUIs that involve drugs, driving on a suspended license or driving without a license, child endangerment, or that cause injury or death are much more serious offenses with harsher punishments. Additionally, people who have been arrested before for DUI or for other crimes may be in more serious trouble with the immigration authorities. In these cases, the accused may have his or her naturalization petition denied, or could face deportation. 

Because a DUI has the potential to affect a person's immigration status, it is important to speak with an attorney as soon as possible after an arrest. An attorney may be able to reduce your charges and safeguard your immigration status. To learn more about your rights and options after a DUI arrest, contact the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry today. To schedule your appointment, call 866.902.6880 or visit us online at www.duiqueen.com
Is Being Highly Intoxicated a Defense? Voluntary Intoxication As A Defense To Assault & Battery Charges
Anyone who has overindulged in alcoholic beverages understands that highly intoxicated people sometimes make stupid decisions. After a night of drinking, otherwise reserved people may end up dancing on table tops or starting a bar fight. While most people wake up from these nights with no greater consequences than a headache and some lingering regret, others have had the unfortunate experience of committing a crime or injuring another person while intoxicated. If this occurs, is being a highly intoxicated a defense?

Whether or not a person's involuntary intoxication will affect his or her case depends on the type of crime with which he or she is charged. In order to be convicted of any type of crime, the prosecution must prove every element of each particular offense. If one element is missing, that person cannot be found guilty. For instance, Section 240 of the California Penal Code defines a battery as, "[A]ny willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another."  Under this statute, prosecutors trying a person for battery must prove several different elements: 
  • The accused person used force or violence,
  • Against another human being,
  • The use of force was willful, and
  • The use of force was unlawful.
Without the presence of each of these elements, a person cannot be found guilty of a crime. For example, surgeons purposely use force to cause injury to their patients every day. However, they are not guilty of battery because their conduct is not unlawful. When patients consent to the surgical procedures, that element of the charge is removed and there is no crime. Interestingly, when surgeons are negligent and cause injuries by operating on the wrong patient or the wrong body part, they can sometimes be charged with criminal battery. Because the patient did not consent to the surgeon's malpractice, their use of force becomes unlawful and all of the elements of the charge apply. 

The elements of a crime become an issue when a person wants to use high intoxication as a defense to his or her actions. Some types of crimes are known as "specific intent" crimes, which require prosecutors to prove that a person not only committed an illegal act, but committed an illegal act with an illegal purpose. If the person accused of committing the crime is too intoxicated to form the requisite intent, then he or she cannot be convicted of that offense.

For instance, receiving stolen property is a crime that punishes a person who knowingly benefits from another person's theft. In order to be convicted of this crime, the person who received the property must have known that the property was stolen. Also, some types of murder charges require the accused to have had malice aforethought, meaning that the accused thought about and planned the crime before it happened. For both of these types of offenses, it may be difficult to prove that a heavily intoxicated person had the required mental state to be convicted of the crime.

Just because a person was intoxicated and may not have meant to cause an accident or injury does not mean that he or she cannot be found guilty of a crime. People are just as culpable for crimes that they committed while highly intoxicated as they would be if they had committed those crimes sober. Additionally, many types of offenses do not require a person to have a specific intent. While voluntary intoxication may be a defense to some elements of some crimes, most people who are arrested while intoxicated will still face charges for their actions, even if they would never have committed the same act sober.

While assault and battery seem like the types of crimes where intent would matter, California courts have consistently held that crimes like simple assault and assault with a deadly weapon do not require the accused to have had a specific intent. A person who fires a gun at another, starts a fight, or throws a punch can still be arrested and convicted even if he or she was too highly intoxicated to understand his or her actions. 

If you were arrested for a crime that you committed while under the influence, the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry can help. We understand that intoxication can lead you to commit out-of-character actions, and we will help you create the best defense for your situation.

To schedule a consultation, contact our office today by calling 866.902.6880, or visit www.orangecountycriminallaw.com to learn more about defending your rights.
Virginia Landry

Virginia L. Landry received her undergraduate degree from Northern Arizona University in 1982. She then went on to pursue her law degree from Western State University, graduating in 1988. The following year, Ms. Landry opened her own Law Office. As a nationally recognized Board Certified DUI Defense Attorney Specialist, Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney Virginia L. Landry, is able to practice law within all the California state courts and the Central District Court of the United States.


As a criminal defense lawyer with years of litigation and trial experience, Ms. Landry is fully prepared to handle criminal cases involving violent crimes, white collar crimes, theft crimes, sex crimes, juvenile crimes, drug crimes, weapons charges, and domestic violence. Attorney Landry has successfully represented clients facing a variety of complex misdemeanor and felony charges.

In addition to her current position as Regent for the National College for DUI Defense (NCDD), Virginia serves on the Board of Directors for the California DUI Lawyers Association  as its Secretary. Virginia is one of only a handful of attorneys across the nation who is Board Certified in DUI Defense. She has also received her  certificate of instruction , successfully training participants in DWI Detection and Standardized Field Sobriety Testing Student and Instructor courses.


Virginia Landry served on two committees and was on the Orange County Bar Association's Board of Directors for three years, is a past President and current member of the West Orange County Bar Association, is currently a Sustaining Member for the California Attorneys for Criminal Justice and is a member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. Other local bar associations include the North Orange County Bar Association, The Newport Harbor Bar Association, the South Harbor Bar Association, the Western State University Alumni Association, the Northern Arizona University Alumni Association and the Warren J. Ferguson Inns of Court.

The Law Offices Of Virginia Landry Team