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What is a 601 waiver?

When you live in Arizona but are not a U.S. citizen, you may be worried about what will happen to your family if for some reason you are deported. Depending on the facts of your case, you may be able to file a 601 waiver to stay in the country.

A 601 waiver allows immigration services to temporarily overlook your legal standing while you work toward changing your immigration status. You may receive this waiver if your family would experience severe difficulties if you were deported. But there are qualifications you need to meet to show that you are eligible for this waiver.

Having a criminal conviction set aside

A criminal conviction can quickly endanger your immigration status. Thus, when many come to see us here at the Sanchez Law Group following such an occurrence in Yuma, their first question is typically how they might be able to get an offense off their record. Nearly everyone is familiar with the concept expungement. The question whether or not it is even available to you, and then whether having an offense expunged will help keep you from being deported. 

The first important point for you to understand is that Arizona law does not allow offenses to be expunged from your record. However, the state does allow for certain criminal convictions to be "set aside." What this means is that your conviction will remain on your record, yet it will also show that you met the requirements for having the conviction set aside and that, because of your efforts, the court agreed to vacate your conviction. Not all offenders are eligible to have their convictions set aside, however. According to Section 13-907(K) of Arizona'a Revised Statutes, any of the following offenses would eliminate you from being eligible for this benefit: 

  • A dangerous offense
  • Any offense that would require you to register as a sex offender
  • Any offense that was found to be sexually motivated
  • Any traffic offense or offense involving you driving without a license
  • Any offense in which the victim was under 15 years of age

Maricopa County deputies accused of using excessive force

Yuma residents may understand (and even expect) that law enforcement authorities might need to result to using force in order to uphold the law. Yet while such professionals have been empowered to do so, such a privilege is one that is to be used judiciously. Typically, the use of force may be reserved for those situations in which authorities believe themselves or others to be in imminent danger. This implies that using force may not be appropriate when ensuring compliance, particularly when other methods might be available. Authorities may be expected to understand this and keep it in mind when dealing with the public. 

A recent lawsuit filed against the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office states that such understanding was not present in its deputies' dealings with a local man. The man was arrested after authorities attempted to conduct an unauthorized search of his vehicle following an accident (and subsequent altercation) he was involved in. The man protested, and a fight broke out between him and the deputies (during which one of the deputies suffered a broken leg). The man alleges that the remaining deputies then took him back to a police substation, where he was assaulted by officers and bitten by a police K9. While the man's attorney admits that he did resist the officers at points and probably could have handled the situation better himself, the response (and alleged retaliation) of the deputies was inappropriate. 

Crunching the numbers for U.S. immigration

As the controversy around illegal immigration in Arizona and throughout the U.S. continues to simmer, the plight of immigrants remains the same; deportation. This is shown in an Aug. 21 Fox News story about more than 100 illegal immigrants who were abandoned in the state, according to Border Patrol officials.

Agents found 128 immigrants in a remote area of the desert. Among them were several children, some just four years old. They came from El Salvador, Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala, and many adults had received previous immigration violations. They were medically evaluated, found in good health, and turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement for removal.

What should I tell my child to do if they're arrested?

Teenagers are likely to make a few mistakes during these years. They may try something reckless or test what they can get away with, but it doesn't make them a bad kid. Unfortunately, it can be complicated for children of immigrants if they are arrested.

Immigrant families who want to have a talk with their teenager about staying out of trouble may want to talk about what to do if they are arrested. Being convicted of a crime can have long-term effects that last long after their youth is over.

Medical pot may be detectable by breath

Despite the fact that so many of its nearby western states have taken the step to legalize marijuana for recreational use, Arizona has not. The state has, however, enacted legislation to allow select use of marijuana for medicinal use. Even though a person may be legally using pot via the state's medical marijuana program, that does not mean they cannot find themselves in trouble with the law for this legalized use.

Driving under the influence offenses can involve drugs just as well as they can involve alcohol and marijuana is a drug. In the continued effort to crack down on impaired drivers, a business based in neighboring California is said to have developed a breath test device for marijuana according to National Public Radio. The goal of the device is to assist law enforcement during an investigation for suspected impaired driving.

How far can you go in defending yourself and others?

Like most in Yuma, you likely go about your daily routine unafraid of becoming the target of another's threats or aggression. Yet you never know when you might cross paths with an individual that is seemingly intent on doing harm to you and/or others. Your natural reaction may be to defend yourself, yet the fear may also exist that if you must use force against another, you could end up facing criminal charges yourself. Is this true?

Self-defense certainly is not an uncommon claim, but it is one that is often met with a great deal of skepticism. This may be due to questions as to whether or not the allow even allows for it. Arizona has enacted what is known as a "Stand Your Ground" law (which can be found in Section 13-405 of the state's Criminal Code). This law stipulates that your do not have a duty to retreat if a person is threatening to use physical (even deadly) force against you or another. Not only are not required to retreat, but you are permitted to respond in kind if a reasonable person in the same situation would deem it necessary. Specific situations that the law has mentioned where such force is permissible include: 

  • When one is threatening you or others in your immediate vicinity 
  • When one is attempting to enter your home or other property you own
  • When one is attempting to deprive you of personal property 
  • When one is attempting to commit a crime against you or others

Authorities turn the tables on would-be patrolman

Oftentimes, people hear stories of arrests made in Yuma and immediately may question why authorities needed to apprehend the accused. There may be instances where the old adage of the punishment not fitting the crime might seem to apply to a case. Yet despite one's beliefs that law enforcement intervention may not have been needed in a particular incident, authorities are tasked with maintaining a peaceful atmosphere in the communities in which they serve. If they believe that one's actions could present a potential danger to that peace, then they may feel justified in detaining him or her. 

A Mesa man recently learned this lesson the hard way. Although his motives are not yet currently known, the man (who reportedly works as a security guard) decided to take it upon himself to try and enforce traffic regulations. He reportedly pursued a vehicle on a Phoenix freeway and turned on the emergency lights on his own vehicle (which were made to appear similar to those used on law-enforcement vehicles). The vehicle he was pursuing, however, failed to stop. He then pulled alongside the vehicle and motioned for them to pull over. One might imagine his own surprise when that vehicle then turned on its own police lights. It indeed turned out to be an unmarked police car, which proceeded to then pull the would-be patrolman over. He ended up being arrested for impersonating a police officer. 

What are the family preference system visa quotas?

Having already gone through the immigration process, you know firsthand just how complex it can be. Yet now that you are settled in Yuma, bringing the rest of your family here to join you may be somewhat easier than the process you were made to go through. That is because one of the primary goals of U.S. immigration policy is reuniting families. An unlimited number of visas are made available for immediate family members such spouses, unmarried minor children and parents of U.S. citizens. After that, a certain number of visas is allotted through the family preference system annually. The question, then, is how many are available and how are they distributed? 

The U.S. Congress has set the number of annual new family preference visas at 480,000. However, the actual number of available visas is determined by subtracting the number of immediate family visas issued in the prior year from that 480,000 total. The number of unused employment preference visas from the previous is then added to that number to come up with the final available amount. By law, the number cannot be lower than 226,000. 

Distinguishing between lost and mislaid property

It is not uncommon for people to come across personal items in Yuma that were obviously lost by their owners. One might find a wallet on a park bench, or a cell phone left on a table at restaurant. One's first impulse may be to find the owner, yet that can often be difficult if he or she did not actually witness the owner leaving it there. At that point, some might say that the proverbial "finders keepers" rule comes into play. Yet following such an axiom may end up leaving one having to deal with legal troubles (and even the potential threat of deportation, depending on the seriousness of the alleged offense). 

According to the Cornell University Law School, the law recognizes two different types of lost property: actual lost property and mislaid property. Lost property are those items that the owner likely left unintentionally. In the aforementioned examples, the wallet left on the park bench might be lost property, given that there likely was no apparent reason why one would have his or her wallet out in such a setting. Mislaid property, on the other hand, is an item that a owner likely was using but then forgot. Again, looking at the previous examples given, one might understand why another would have their cell phone out in a restaurant, and also understand how easily he or she could have forgotten it. 

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