MANHATTAN DA’S OFFICE AGREES TO NEW ALTERNATIVE PLEA POLICY FOR DACA RECIPIENTS
The Law Office of Ali Najmi was able to secure a rare alternative plea from the Manhattan DA’s office for a client charged with Vehicle and Traffic Law (VTL) §1192(2) (Driving While Intoxicated). The client is also a “Dreamer”—a participant of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) program which provides a work permit and legal immigration status to young undocumented individuals brought to the United States as young children.
If an individual is guilty of a “significant misdemeanor” under Immigration Law, an individual is disqualified from renewing their DACA status. DACA must be renewed every two (2) years. The definition for “significant misdemeanor” under DACA includes “driving under the influence”–which includes all of New York’s alcohol related driving offenses–both “impaired” and “intoxicated”statutes.
The client had previously plead guilty to the violation of “impaired” DWAI VTL §1192(1). Despite being a violation and not a misdemeanor, a plea to DWAI VTL §1192(1), would disqualify a Dreamer from renewing DACA and make them deportable. The client was not properly advised by his previous attorney of the consequences of pleading to a violation of impaired.
After the client learned of the immigration consequences he was facing he retained The Law Office of Ali Najmi to resolve this matter appropriately. Mr. Najmi previously filed a motion to withdraw his client’s plea by filing a motion pursuant to Criminal Procedure Law §440.10.Read more about withdrawing a guilty plea here.
Mr. Najmi succeeded in convincing the Manhattan DA’s office to offer a DACA-neutral plea offer of VTL §1212 Reckless Driving, which allows his client to be held accountable for his actions and still renew DACA. The facts of this case and Mr. Najmi’s advocacy has lead to a permanent change in policy by the Manhattan DA’s office in matters involving DACA recipients charged with DWI.
Mr. Najmi regularly represents immigrant clients charged with serious crimes and understands the immigration consequences of criminal charges and effectively guides his client’s with appropriate advice every step of the way.