What is the Exchange Visitor Visa? (J-1)   Leave a comment

Congress established the J-1 exchange visitor nonimmigrant visa program in 1948 to “promote a better understanding of the United States in other countries, and to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.” The program provides foreign nationals with opportunities to participate in educational and cultural programs in the United States and return home to share their experiences, and allows U.S. citizens to participate in such programs in other countries. With certain exceptions, J-1 exchange programs in the United States must also provide for cross-cultural activities, including sports, cultural, and social activities, to enhance the exchange visitor’s understanding of U.S. customs and society.

Congress modified the J-1 exchange visitor program in 1961. Over the years there has been a steady increase in the number of nonimmigrants that participating in the J-1 visa program. In 1953, there were just under 13,000 exchange visitors admitted to this country. In 1981 the number of J exchange visitors admitted exceeded 80,000. In 2006, the number of exchange visitors was more than 380,000. Many J-1 exchange visitors, however, are admitted to the United States more than once each year, so that number does not equate to the number of J-1 visas issued each year.

Posted 05/10/2012 by Salimi Law in Immigration Law

DMV Has Suspended My License; Can I Request a “Restricted” License?   Leave a comment

Assuming you are over 21-years old, you can get a restricted license after being suspended for a first time DUI by: (1) Paying the DMV a re-issue fee of $125; (2) Showing proof of financial responsibility (Form SR-22) – this must be Maintained for 3 years; and (3) Showing proof of enrollment in a DUI approved Program (AB-541 or SB-762)

Other situations where you will need to show an SR-22 to the DMV to have your license returned:

(1) Those convicted in the court of a DUI and sent to a DUI school. If the four months is not up by the time the DMV receives notice from the court of your conviction, then the requirement to show an SR-22 goes into effect.

(2) Those who had their licenses restricted by the court for a DUI or “Wet Reckless”. Proof of insurance must be maintained for a period of three years (from the date the original 4 month suspension would have been up). Proof of insurance WILL stay active (and you need not re-submit an SR-22) if you do not cancel the policy or get dropped during the 3-year period. The insurance policy that the SR-22 is filed under must remain in effect. If for any reason your policy is no longer in effect the insurance carrier is REQUIRED to notify the DMV. The DMV will then notify you that by a certain date you will have to file another SR-22 with them or your license will be suspended.

Refer to Cal Veh Code Section 13800 for authority or call The Law Office of M. Ali Salimi at (888) 919-2226 for a consultation.

Will I Lose My License If I Have a DUI?   Leave a comment

If you are successfully convicted of driving under the influence (DUI), whether it is your first offense, second offense, or if you are facing a felony DUI, it is likely that part of the DUI penalties you will be facing will include the possibility of a driver’s license suspension.

As intoxicated drivers in the road pose as a grave danger to the others around them, law enforcement and courts alike work tirelessly to ensure that they are kept safely off of it. Objectively, this is a positive thing for everyone on the roads. However, this often leads to hastily slapping all DUI offenders with a driver’s license suspension no matter what the mitigating circumstances.

By suspending licenses or installing devices such as an ignition interlock device, courts hope to reduce the amount of repeat offenders and keep drivers as safe as possible. It is unfortunate, however, that this penalty can often hinder those who do not necessarily deserve it. Whether you are victim to an unfair conviction or made a one-time mistake, you should not have to live without the necessity of your driver’s license. This is often a tool used in day-to-day transportation and being forced to live without it can cause extremely difficult obstacles in everyday tasks.

Consult With a Lawyer

Posted 05/09/2012 by Salimi Law in DUI Defense

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What is SR22?   Leave a comment

The requirement to show proof of insurance comes in the form SR-22. This is a CA DMV form (similar to SR-1). The only difference is that the SR-1 is required when you have an accident or are ticketed for not having proof of insurance and the SR-22 is for DUI. If you are asked to prove “future financial responsibility” by having an SR-22 on file with DMV, a copy of your insurance binder or your insurance card is not considered acceptable proof.

So then, it is ‘known’ by the person you are asking, that the SR-22 is in most cases for a DUI. The DMV will not accept any other form (policy, identification card, etc.) as a substitute for the SR-22. An SR-22 is required by all those persons arrested for a DUI, who are in a program, and who want to get a restricted license.

The purpose of the Compulsory Financial Responsibility Law is to ensure that drivers and owners of vehicles are financially responsible for any damage or injury caused by a traffic accident, regardless of fault, and to remove financially irresponsible drivers from the highways (Cal Veh Code §§16000-16078). Your insurance must cover all vehicles operated by you and/or registered in your name.

Remember that SR-22’s are state specific so a California SR-22 will only be valid for California. If you move to another state you may need a different SR-22 to show proof of financial responsibility in that state. An SR26 form cancels the SR22 once future proof is no longer required.

Consult With a Lawyer

Posted 05/09/2012 by Salimi Law in DUI Defense

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Is CA a Zero Tolerance state?   Leave a comment

YES!

California has a recognized “Zero Tolerance” policy for drivers under the age of twenty-one. Practically speaking, this means that a driver under the age of twenty-one years-old can be convicted of a DUI in the state of California for a blood alcohol level as low as 0.01%.

Posted 05/09/2012 by Salimi Law in DUI Defense

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How Did I Get a DUI?   Leave a comment

Your DUI journey began when an officer arrested you for suspicion of driving under the influence. The officer then took you in for a blood or breath test (depending on what you consented to) to verify your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). If your chemical tests came back with a BAC of .08 or above, a charge of driving with a BAC over .08 was added. If you refused to submit to a chemical test, a “refusal” allegation was added to your charges, and your license is at risk of being suspended for twelve months without appropriate representation.

After the testing phase, you were booked and (depending on the circumstances and your criminal history) released on bail or a promise to appear in court. The arresting officer has prepared and submitted a report to the prosecutor, who has decided to file DUI charges against you.

When you were arrested, the officer confiscated your driver’s license and issued you a pink, temporary license that is valid for thirty-days. You have TEN calendar days (not “business” days) from the day of your arrest to file for a DMV Hearing to determine whether or not your license will be suspended. If you have requested a hearing within that timeframe, any DMV license suspension will be delayed until the outcome of the hearing is determined. If you have not filed for a hearing within ten-days, the DMV will automatically suspend your license for four-months.

(Note: If you have not filed for a hearing and the ten day limit has already passed, contact our office to request an immediate hearing on your behalf so as to avoid the harsh automatic suspension. You are entitled to representation at the DMV hearing to protect your driving privileges.)

Regardless of whether or not you have had a DMV Hearing, you are still subject to the criminal court process and the criminal case against you. If you obtain an experienced attorney to plea “not guilty” on your behalf, your criminal case will be broken down into the following three stages: (1) Arraignment; (2) Pre-Trial Motions; and (3) Plea-Bargaining.

Your arraignment should take place within just a few days of your arrest. Your attorney can appear on your behalf to enter your plea so that you need not make a personal appearance. During the pre-trial phase, your attorney will use motions to reveal flaws in the case against you, gather evidence and corroborate police statements, and strengthen your defense. This is typically the longest phase of your court process and your attorney will spend this time aggressively examining every detail of the case against you. This may involve visiting the scene, evaluating the efficacy of the testing equipment, or any number of other investigatory techniques. A successful DUI attorney will expose so many shortcomings in the prosecution’s case that they will be willing to drop the charges against you. Most DUI cases can be resolved without going to trial. However, it is ultimately your choice of whether to pursue a jury or bench trial.

You could seek to shorten the process yourself and, without guidance from an attorney, go to the arraignment and enter a “guilty” plea. This will take much less time but cost you so much more than just money. Everyone knows that DUI charges, criminal charges, are not something you want to handle on your own. Contact the Law Office of M. Ali Salimi for a free consultation immediately.

Posted 05/09/2012 by Salimi Law in DUI Defense

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