What Should I Do If The Government (or ICE) Is Saying That I Have a Criminal Conviction but I Know This is False?
You should hire an immigration attorney who can actually find out what exactly it is the government (or ICE) is charging you with. This week, we had a client detained at his own house, before dawn, after ICE agents knocked on his door, and transferred him to Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, GA (2.5 hours south of Atlanta).
Our client’s wife promptly came to our office and hired us so we could investigate what charges the government was bringing against the client and to get a bond for him. ICE initially told us and our client’s wife that the client had an aggravated felony, which for the purposes of simplicity, is something really really bad (examples of aggravated felonies are child abuse and pornography, burglary, firearms offenses, drug trafficking, etc.). Two days after we were notified of this, now ICE was claiming our client had a conviction for DUI from 1997 and that’s I why he was being detained. By this time, our client’s wife had already secured a certified disposition for the county where our client lived and the disposition had nothing but a ticket for driving without a license.
At the time of our client’s bond hearing, the government continued alleging that our client had a conviction for a DUI, but after presenting them—and the Immigration Judge—with evidence of our client’s clean criminal record, the Court had to let our client get out on bond. By this time, the client had spent close to three weeks wrongfully in detention. Yet again another example of the government going after people who are not criminals.
This true story shows that not because the government says something is true it makes it actually true. Hire an attorney who can help defend you in court.
Johanna Cochran, Associate Attorney