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Do immigrants have constitutional rights during a DUI stop?

As a driver, you understand that you have a responsibility to keep yourself and others safe when you get behind the wheel. If you choose to drink and drive, you may cause serious injuries or kill yourself or others. You may face very serious criminal charges, jail time or deportation for those who are not U.S. citizens.

However, it is also important to understand that even those who are not citizens do have rights, and if an arresting officer violates those rights, a court may dismiss the charges and halt other proceedings, such as deportation. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to navigate immigrants' rights, especially in light of the current political climate surrounding immigration. Many states passed laws in the last year that affect how immigrants can defend themselves against criminal charges.

While it is often true that citizens enjoy more protections under the Constitution than non-citizens, many of those protections cover immigrants as well. For instance, if an officer arrests an immigrant and fails to read him or her their Miranda rights, this may qualify as a violation of the immigrant's rights. Similarly, if an arresting officer initiated the stop without any cause, or if the officer uses unreasonable force during the stop, these may serve as grounds to challenge the charges.

The truth of the matter is that it is a very difficult time to live as a non-citizen in America right now, for many reasons. If you face DUI charges as a non-citizen, you deserve to present a strong defense and protect your rights and privileges, just like everyone else. However, immigration law changes constantly, so it is important to use all of your available resources to stay informed on these changes and how they may affect your defense.

Source: FindLaw, "Defenses to Drunk Driving," accessed Jan. 30, 2018

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