Live here for 22 years, graduated high school, went to college, have a clean record except a DUI. The DUI happened a year ago and was dismissed thru probation. Why are misdemeanors even mentioned in this new law. What can be done?
I assume you are talking about the DIVERT program. For those who don't practice DWI defense in Harris County, Texas, this is Houston's answer to pre-trial diversion. It is reserved for low risk, first time DWI offenders, who first must qualify for acceptance into the program. To qualify, a candidate must have no criminal record whatsoever. They must then complete a Substance Abuse Life Circumstances Evaluation (SALCE) test, at a cost of $202.00. The key to being accepted into this program, besides being "squeaky clean", is to demonstrate that you are not likely to re-offend. People who are considered "high risk" are not accepted into the program. The reward for completing the program is that the DWI is dismissed, and after two years, (the statute of limitations for DWI) the person can file a Petition for Expunction of their criminal arrest record. With the impending departure of our elected District Attorney, the future of this program is now in question. For those who are accepted into the program, the period of supervision is anywhere from one to two years, depending on the individuals supervisory needs as demonstrated by the SALCE. An interlock device will be required for the first half of the DIVERT period, and all standard conditions of a DWI probation, including remaining drug and alcohol free, will apply. Was your case a DUI or a DWI? In Texas, DUI refers to Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol by a Minor which is a class C Misdemeanor. Even if it was dismissed through Class C deferred adjudication probation, it will still probably disqualify you from being accepted into the DIVERT program. If it was a DWI, Driving While Intoxicated, a Class B Misdemeanor, unless it was a pre-1984 deferred adjudication probation, chances are it's a final conviction. Either way, you are probably not eligible for DIVERT. Of course, any decision to deny you entry into the program can be appealed to Judge Roger Bridgewater, but I wouldn't expect him to make any exceptions in this case.
My answer is based upon the limited amount of information available at the time of writing.I am a Texas DWI Lawyer. If possible, hire an attorney who is a member of the National College of DUI Defense, who is familiar with your jurisdiction.
Violent Crime Lawyer
You should absolutely have an attorney look at the paperwork associated with your prior conviction to determine whether the "judgment and sentence" contains the requisite wording to uphold the conviction.
It seems clear that the "new law" you're referring to is the June 15th announcement that DHS would be exercising prosecutorial discretion and affording "deferred action" to certain young undocumented immigrants. The existing guidelines do suggest that certain criminal convictions would disqualify otherwise eligible youths from consideration for deferred action - and it appears that DUI would be among these.
The answer is simply that those are the criteria that the agency chose to use in creating this new policy.
The details of the new policy are not yet clear, but you should contact an immigration attorney to determine whether you actually have a DUI "conviction" for immigration purposes, and also to see if "post conviction relief" is available to you. Good luck!
Please note that he information above is general in nature and is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship between us. It is intended simply as background material, is current only as of its indicated date, and may not include important details and special rules that could be applicable to your case. You should consult an attorney directly before acting or refraining from action.