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help my Mexican undocumented friend not get deported at court tomorrow?
April 20, 2014 4:47 PM   Subscribe

My friend got pulled over for running a red light His ticket says " Accompanying charge no documents ". He goes to court Monday morning in Columbus Ohio. Is it likely result in deportation? He says he can't afford a lawyer and is just going to use the public defender. I have a copy of the ticket in front of me. How can I help him? Btw IKYANMYL.
posted by crawltopslow to Law & Government (22 answers total)
 
is there an option for just paying the ticket and not going to court?
posted by bruce at 4:54 PM on April 20 [5 favorites]


I would be surprised that one is eligible for a public defender for a red light ticket in the first place. Typically people charged with ordinary traffic infractions don't get them, but that could vary by jurisdiction.
posted by dcjd at 5:09 PM on April 20


IANYL. In my jurisdiction a public defender will not be assigned for a traffic violation. Your friend needs to call an immigration attorney before showing up at this hearing. If he or she is unable to get in touch with an attorney before the hearing on Monday, they should call the court (before the hearing) and explain that they are unable to make if for some reason and request to have it postponed. If it cannot be done over the phone or the clerk reuses your friend should draft a motion to continue (just a letter to the court explaining that they can't make it for whatever reason and asking it to be rescheduled later) and have someone else bring it to the court. A no show at this type of hearing may result in an arrest warrant issuing, but I don't think that puts your friend in a worse situation if they are facing deportation.

That being said, there isn't much information in your question and deportation might not be on the table at all. Talk to an attorney.
posted by unreasonable at 5:15 PM on April 20 [3 favorites]


Ya, is there a please no contest and pay online option?
posted by chasles at 5:17 PM on April 20


What does "accompanying charge no documents" mean? Does that mean the cop knew of his immigration status, or does that mean that he was driving without insurance?
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 5:24 PM on April 20 [1 favorite]


He goes to court tomorrow morning
posted by crawltopslow at 5:36 PM on April 20


Cop found out somehow his immigration status.
posted by crawltopslow at 5:39 PM on April 20


IANAL but first thing would be to clarify what court he has been summoned to.

If it's traffic court, they are certainly not going to handle immigration/deportation there! If it's a more "serious" court then he does AFAIK have the right to counsel even if he can't afford it. I think it's important to clarify that "no documents" means he is accused of being in the US illegally and not just driving without a license.

Also, he might try his local ACLU. They are often interested in these kind of cases where local police step into the role of immigration authorities, especially when they involve profiling of Latinos. (Though they probably cannot help him on such short notice, possibly they might recommend an attorney who would help very cheap or pro-bono.)
posted by drjimmy11 at 5:59 PM on April 20


He might also try calling the court and saying he's sick/whatever and asking for a postponement. I am NOT advocating skipping the appearance but it seems like trying to get it postponed might buy some time to consider options.
posted by drjimmy11 at 6:00 PM on April 20 [1 favorite]


Okay, YMMV but the last time I had to go to court for a moving violation I was the lone citizen in a courtroom filled with about 40 non-citizens. The judge was just processing each case in a few minutes, running down his list of names for the day. Literally every single case except mine was for a moving violation + driving without a license, and the reason all of those people didn't have a license is because they weren't citizens. Boom, boom, boom, each one of them got a fine or traffic school or whatever sentence, and then they each walked out of the courtoom. End of story. After the judge said to each one, "Why don't you have a license," and they each answered, "Because I'm not a citizen" (some of them used translators) that was the end. This was in Los Angeles.
posted by BlahLaLa at 6:22 PM on April 20 [3 favorites]


It's in Franklin county municipal court. I don't know if that's traffic court but I have the ticket right in front of me, anyone know how i can tell?
posted by crawltopslow at 6:22 PM on April 20


Just Google the courthouse and the room. Each room generally handles only specific cases.
Also it would be good to look up the statutes as well. It will let you know the min and max punishment or fine and an exact description of the crime.
posted by AlexiaSky at 6:28 PM on April 20 [1 favorite]


I looked at the ticket for like 3 minutes straight and couldn't find anything more specific than "Franklin County Municipal Court, 375. S. High st. Columbus Ohio 43215". I've called every lawyer I can find but none answer at this hour on sunday.
posted by crawltopslow at 6:37 PM on April 20


Postponing court (without permission) could be the worst of any options, by the way, especially if the muni court generates an arrest warrant when he fails to appear. This is not legal advice because I don't practice in Ohio, but if I were undocumented and facing a violation charge, I'd show up early for court and try to talk to a docket clerk, and ask them if I could get it postponed to a date 3 weeks from now (and then go talk to an immigration lawyer in the meantime.)
posted by Happydaz at 7:10 PM on April 20


If you enter your friend's name/dob or ticket number into here, does that give you any additional information?

Re: what's at that address:
"Currently, the court [at 375 S High] has two (2) traffic-arraignment courtrooms, two (2) criminal-arraignment courtrooms, two (2) record hearing courtrooms, one duty courtroom and sixteen (16) jury courtrooms in the General Division."
posted by neda at 7:36 PM on April 20


I just wanted to say on the plus side they did not throw him in jail immediately. A similar instance happened to a friend of friend (up in Canada) and he was jailed on the spot as he was a few days over his 6-month visa and yes he did get deported.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 7:48 PM on April 20


i typed his info in to the site neda linked:

1 Action Code 4510.12(A1) Degree of Offense M
Description NO OPERATOR LICENSE
Action Code Points Additional Information 0
Disposition Code Disposition Date
Req. Driver Ed. NO Driving School
DUI School

2 Action Code 4511.13(C) Degree of Offense MM
Description TURN ON RED
Action Code Points Additional Information 2
Disposition Code Disposition Date
Req. Driver Ed. NO Driving School
DUI School
CASE DISPOSITION
Status Status Date Disposition Code Disposition Date
OPEN 04/09/2014 UNDISPOSED
EVENTS
Event Date Start End Judge Ct.Rm. Result
ARRAIGNMENT - AR 04/21/2014 09:00 AM 11:55 AM AR1B, COURTROOM 1B 1B
FINANCIAL SUMMARY
Docket Application Amount Owed Amount Paid Amount Dismissed Balance
COST $94.00 $0.00 $0.00 $94.00
TOTAL: $94.00 $0.00 $0.00 $94.00
DOCKET
Docket Date Docket Text (Expand All - Collapse All) Amount Balance
04/09/2014 IMAGE OF TICKET/COMPLAINT
04/09/2014 STATE FEES FOR MOVING VIOLATIONS $39.00 $39.00
04/09/2014 CollapseARRAIGNMENT SCHEDULED $55.00 $55.00

Event: ARRAIGNMENT - AR
Date: 04/21/2014 Time: 9:00 am
Judge: AR1B, COURTROOM 1B Location: 1B LOCATED ON THE 1ST FLOOR
posted by crawltopslow at 8:14 PM on April 20


from http://www.fcmcclerk.com/dept/clerk/criminal.php
Traffic Arraignment Courtrooms 1A and 1B (1st Floor)

Magistrate presiding
Defendants (NOT IN JAIL)
All misdemeanor traffic cases except OMVI charges
Court begins at 9: 00 a.m. with the doors to the courtroom being opened at 8: 30 a.m. on a first come, first served basis, excluding holidays.
Courtroom 1A: Defendants whose last names begin with the letters A - K
Courtroom 1B: Defendants whose last names begin with the letters L - Z
posted by crawltopslow at 8:16 PM on April 20


They may not be able to help in time for the hearing tomorrow AM, but these guys are a good resource.

http://www.vineyardcolumbus.org/need-help/immigration-counseling/
posted by jpdoane at 9:41 PM on April 20


IANAL/IANYL.

So there are two offenses at issue here. Here's Ohio Revised Code 4510.12(A1) for driving without a license (http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/4510.12) and here's Code 4511.13(C) for turning on a red light (http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/4511.13).

The key language is right here, from 4510.12(A1):

(C) Whoever violates this section is guilty of operating a motor vehicle or motorcycle without a valid license and shall be punished as follows:

(1) If the trier of fact finds that the offender never has held a valid driver's or commercial driver's license issued by this state or any other jurisdiction, or, in a case involving the operation of a motorcycle by the offender, if the offender has never held a valid license as a motorcycle operator, either in the form of an endorsement upon a driver's or commercial driver's license or in the form of a restricted license, except as otherwise provided in this division, the offense is an unclassified misdemeanor. When the offense is an unclassified misdemeanor, the offender shall be sentenced pursuant to sections 2929.21 to 2929.28 of the Revised Code, except that the offender shall not be sentenced to a jail term; the offender shall not be sentenced to a community residential sanction pursuant to section 2929.26 of the Revised Code; notwithstanding division (A)(2)(a) of section 2929.28 of the Revised Code, the offender may be fined up to one thousand dollars; and, notwithstanding division (A)(3) of section 2929.27 of the Revised Code, the offender may be ordered pursuant to division (C) of that section to serve a term of community service of up to five hundred hours. The failure of an offender to complete a term of community service imposed by the court may be punished as indirect criminal contempt under division (A) of section 2705.02 of the Revised Code that may be filed in the underlying case. If the offender previously has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to any violation of this section or a substantially equivalent municipal ordinance, the offense is a misdemeanor of the first degree.

(2) If the offender's driver's or commercial driver's license or permit or, in a case involving the operation of a motorcycle by the offender, the offender's driver's or commercial driver's license bearing the motorcycle endorsement or the offender's restricted license was expired at the time of the offense, except as otherwise provided in this division, the offense is a minor misdemeanor. If, within three years of the offense, the offender previously has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to two or more violations of this section or a substantially equivalent municipal ordinance, the offense is a misdemeanor of the first degree.

(D) The court shall not impose a license suspension for a first violation of this section or if more than three years have passed since the offender's last violation of this section or a substantially equivalent municipal ordinance.

(E) If the offender is sentenced under division (C)(2) of this section, if within three years of the offense the offender previously was convicted of or pleaded guilty to one or more violations of this section or a substantially equivalent municipal ordinance, and if the offender's license was expired for more than six months at the time of the offense, the court may impose a class seven suspension of the offender's driver's license, commercial driver's license, temporary instruction permit, probationary license, or nonresident operating privilege from the range specified in division (A)(7) of section 4510.02 of the Revised Code.
posted by chloe.gelsomino at 11:29 PM on April 20


So does he have a valid license or no?

That's waaay different than not having legal status as an immigrant.

Again is there an option on the back under "ways to pay" that is a plead no contest and pay the fine online????
posted by chasles at 6:14 AM on April 21 [1 favorite]


He didn't have a valid license. He had no license.
We went to court, got a free public defender, he ended up just having to pay a ~$270 fine and that's it, free to go. What a relief now for him, but he had several sleepless nights.
posted by crawltopslow at 7:08 AM on April 23 [3 favorites]


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