Barbara A. Bowden

Tacoma, WA DUI Attorney

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DUI most common conviction targeted by recent ICE raids

84 people were taken into federal custody as a result of a 3 day operation in Washington, Oregon and Alaska this week.[1] 60 had criminal records; 24 did not. 19 arrestees had a DUI as their only, or their most serious, conviction – DUI was by far the most common conviction targeted.

According to a news release by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) “This operation highlights our commitment to promoting public safety through the pursuit of targeted criminals residing in the U.S. illegally.”[2]

One of the arrestees does have a pending child rape charge, and prior convictions for assault and domestic violence. ICE made sure to spotlight him in the first line of its press release, and to mention that he was recently released from custody by local authorities despite a federal immigration “detainer” request. Although attorney general Jeff Sessions has characterized local jurisdictions’ refusals to comply with such requests a violation of federal law, a federal court in Oregon ruled in 2014 that it’s in fact unconstitutional to detain people without a warrant after they would have otherwise been released. ICE detainer requests are not warrants because they are not signed by a neutral magistrate who has found probable cause to arrest. Thus, restricting the liberty of anyone present in the United States (whether or not he or she has permission to be here) per such a detainer request would constitute an illegal seizure under the Fourth Amendment.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray recently filed a lawsuit against President Trump regarding the threat to withhold federal funding for so-called “sanctuary cities” that refuse to comply with ICE detainer requests. The Tenth Amendment provides that the federal government may not compel local authorities to do its bidding. Threatening to withhold funding is tantamount to coercion, according to Murray, and it creates budgetary uncertainty, which hinders Seattle’s ability to effectively govern.

It is unclear whether the recent raids were retaliation for Murray’s lawsuit.

What is crystal clear, though, is that if you are charged with a DUI (especially if you are at risk for removal from this country) you need to contact competent counsel immediately. You do not want a DUI on your record.