Late last fall, one of our current immigration clients came to office desperately seeking help. He had recently been pulled over by police on two (2) separate occasions and charged with “driving without a license.”
The client had initially retained our immigration attorneys to help him acquire his legal permanent resident card (commonly called a green card). Upon being retained, our immigration attorneys immediately filed the Form I-130, with the client’s wife, who is a US citizen, sponsoring him. The client is now working with our immigration attorneys to gather the necessary supporting documentation for his Form I-601A application.
Before getting pulled over for the first time, the client understood that he had been breaking the law by driving without a valid Maryland driver’s license. But, he had no choice — he had to drive for both of his jobs and his family relied on the money he earned in order to survive.
First and foremost, when he came to our office the client was petrified that his new traffic charges would impact his pending immigration case. In the 10 years that he had lived in Maryland, our client had never been charged with a crime or even cited with a traffic citation. And now, while he was in the right middle of trying to obtain his green card, he acquires not one but two separate traffic citations in a matter of a few weeks. The client was also equally worried and concerned about what would happen to his family if he was sentenced to jail in one or both of these cases.
Our attorneys were immediately able to ease his fears. Being well informed and up-to-date on changes to Maryland law, our attorneys knew something the client didn’t – they knew about an upcoming change to Maryland law that would greatly benefit the client.
Prior to January 1, 2014, someone who didn’t have legal immigration status could not apply for their Maryland driver’s license. However, starting on January 1, 2014, a new law was going into effect that made it possible for people like our client to obtain a valid driver’s license. The new law required that the person have a valid foreign passport, that he/she filed Maryland income taxes for the preceding two years, and that he/she had two residency documents (such as copy of a lease, utility bill or bank statement) showing proof of residence in Maryland. Our attorneys knew that if the client was able to obtain a valid Maryland driver’s license before the hearings, they would be able to persuade the State’s attorney to dismiss the driving without a license citations.
First, our criminal defense attorneys worked in conjunction with our immigration attorneys and the client to compile all of the necessary required documentation. This way the client would be ready to apply for his Maryland driver’s license as soon as possible the new law went into effect.
Next, our attorneys successfully obtained consent from the State to file a Motion for Continuance in both of cases. The hearings needed to be scheduled well past January 1, 2014 to allow the client time to obtain his license and keep his driving record spotless for a few months.
With the guidance of our attorneys, the client successfully obtained his Maryland driver’s license in early Feb. 2014. Several months later, the hearing for the first set of citations took place in early May 2014. Due to the persistence and dedication of our criminal defense attorneys, and after showing the State our client’s new Maryland driver’s license and clean driving record, the State agreed to dismiss all citations.
The hearing for the second set of traffic citations happened recently. Once again, armed with our client’s new driver’s license, the State eventually agreed to dismiss the driving without a license citation. The client only had to pay a small fine for the one remaining citation, which was using a hand held cell phone while the vehicle was in motion.
At the end of the second case, the client expressed his sincere gratitude and thanks for the services our criminal defense attorneys provided him. When he came to our office, he was facing possible jail time in both cases. But, through the perseverance and dedication of our knowledgeable and experienced attorneys, the client had a positive outcome — no jail time for either case.
Equally as important, the client now has a valid Maryland driver’s license. Our immigration attorneys look forward to continuing to work with the client and are eager to share the day when his immigration case is also successfully completed.
If you or a loved one has been cited for a traffic violation, including DUI / DWI, contact Anthony A. Fatemi and his legal team today so they can assist you in defending your case just as they did for this client.