Being an undocumented alien is very difficult, especially when the legal system is involved. There is a natural fear that going to court may lead to removal. Removal means possibly the following: “What is going to happen to my children?”, “How am I going to take care of my wife and my family”, “Who is going to pay the rent, the bills?”, “It is not safe in my home country. What will happen to me if I am forced to go back?”.
Many States like Michigan refuse to allow most undocumented aliens the ability to get a driver’s license. In Michigan it is almost impossible to get from one place to another without being able to drive. One option is to drive with a valid driver’s license from your home country and an international driver’s license (if your home country and the United States have a treaty to allow for such driving). What happens when your license is expired, or lost, or is no longer valid? Driving without a valid license is a misdemeanor offense. Another choice may be not to drive, which really isn’t a good solution? Another choice may be to contact an experienced immigration lawyer such as Attorney Sufen Hilf of the law firm Hilf & Hilf, PLC to see if you can obtain a lawful status in the United States. If you obtain lawful status in the United States it may become possible to obtain a valid license. However, in some cases it might not be possible to get lawful status.
So what happens if you are undocumented and you receive a ticket for driving while license expired, driving under the influence, domestic violence, retail fraud, or some other criminal offense? If you go to Court and are convicted there is a risk that the Judge or the probation department could report your status to ICE. There are some Judges that order Defendants to report their status to ICE as a condition of probation (which may be a violation of your 5th Amendment privilege against self incrimination, because being unlawfully present in the United States is actually a crime). If the probation department and the Judge are no good, what should I do?