Padilla Law, P.C. is proud to announce that Beth Padilla was recently sworn into the New Mexico bar. She will join Paul Padilla to provide legal services to companies and individuals throughout northern New Mexico.
Padilla Law, P.C. will add a new member to the staff this week. The firm is excited to welcome Martha Burwell, legal intern, for the summer. Ms. Burwell graduated from Gonzaga University in Washington and has traveled extensively throughout Asia, Central America, and South America. She is bilingual in English and Spanish.
Finally, Beth Padilla was recently selected to serve on the Colorado Bar Association Young Lawyers Division Executive Council. Her two year term on the Council begins in July 2013.
-- Paul E. Padilla
There are many differences between state and federal laws. In many cases, the differences are based on policy. A state law is usually influenced by what is important in that particular state, while federal law is based on national policy and a very different political perspective. But, once in a while the differences are a result of timing and chance.
The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects people from unreasonable searches and seizures by the government. This requires the police to get warrants, have probable cause for making arrests, and to follow many other procedural steps in law enforcement and investigation.
If the government doesn’t follow those procedures, the evidence they obtain can be excluded from prosecution, and may not be used against a person charged with a crime. This is called the Exclusionary Rule.
States also have constitutions, and many of them are almost identical to the U.S. Constitution. However, even though a state constitution may be identical to the U.S. Constitution, it may not have the same protections or be interpreted in the same way, because a state court is making the decision, rather than a federal court.
Generally, when the police attempt to execute a search warrant, they must knock on the door of the place to be searched, and announce that they are police. This is called the Knock and Announce Rule. Under federal law, if the police do not knock and announce, and instead kick in the door without warning, the courts have held that the evidence found at the location can still be used against a person charged with the crime, because the police’s failure was minor (based on policy).
However, in New Mexico, if the police do not knock and announce their presence, the evidence found at the location cannot be used against the person charged with the crime.
At first glance, you would think that New Mexico has a different policy than the federal government. But, the real answer as to why there is a difference is because New Mexico’s law has not changed since the federal government changed the federal law.
Therefore, until the New Mexico Supreme Court decides to change the rule, remember this: if the police don’t knock and announce and you are prosecuted in federal court, the evidence WILL BE used against you; if the police don’t knock and announce and you are prosecuted in state court, the evidence CANNOT BE used against you.
It may be scary, but it’s as simple as that.
Padilla Law is pleased to announce that Beth Padilla has been officially admitted to the New Mexico state bar. Beth is an equity partner with the firm, and her practice currently involves Immigration, Family, and Juvenile Law.
Although Beth already practices Immigration Law on a national level, Beth anticipates expanding both her Family and Juvenile Law practice into New Mexico.
With Beth’s expansion into New Mexico, now both Beth and Paul Padilla are licensed in both jurisdictions.
-- Beth Padilla
Often, clients will ask me whether they can help their family members obtain lawful immigration status in the United States. In certain circumstances, a client may petition to bring a family member to the United States.
For example, if Jane is a United States citizen and she wants to bring her sister to the United States from Mexico, she may complete and file immigration documents on behalf of her sister. It is important to understand that for many visa categories, there is a very long wait until a visa is available. In this situation, if Jane filed a petition on May 1, 2013, to bring her sister to the United States, her sister will have to wait about seventeen years until she is legally allowed to come to the United States. Currently, the United States government is processing visa applications filed by United States citizens for their brothers and sisters from Mexico that were filed in 1996. This means that if Jane would have filed for her sister in 1996, it would now be Jane’s sister’s turn to immigrate to the United States.
It is important to understand that the wait time is not the same for all countries. Individuals wishing to immigrate from China, India, Mexico, and the Philippines have the longest wait before a visa is available. You can learn more by viewing the April 2013 visa bulletin, available at: http://www.travel.state.gov/visa/bulletin/bulletin_5900.html
. Keywords: inmigracion de hermanos, hermano ciudadano, Durango immigration, Cortez immigration, Farmington, abogado de inmigracion
Padilla Law, P.C. will be open on Saturday, March 23 and Saturday, March 30 to meet with clients. We understand that it can be difficult to meet with an attorney during the week. Please call (970) 764-4547 to schedule an appointment.
El bufete de Padilla estara abierto dos sabados en el mes de marzo. Estara abierto el 23 de marzo y el 30 de marzo para ayudar clientes. Por favor, llama a (970) 764-4547 para hacer una cita.
Keywords: abogada sabado, abogada inmigracion farmington
-- Paul E. Padilla
Last week, the New Mexico Court of Appeals released a decision that will have a big impact on New Mexico's DWI law. In the case of State v. Valdez (2013-NMCA-016), the Court of Appeals decided that anyone who is convicted of a DWI in New Mexico must have an interlock device installed in their car, even if the DWI did not involve alcohol.
In general, a person can be convicted of DWI if they are under the influence of any drug that impairs their ability to safely drive a vehicle. NMSA Section 66-8-102(B). However, the law also requires anyone convicted of any type of DWI “to obtain an ignition interlock license and have an ignition interlock device installed and operating on all motor vehicles drive by the offender[.]” NMSA Section 66-8-102(N).
In the case of State v. Valdez, a woman was arrested for driving under the influence of oxycodone and other prescription pills, but had no alcohol in her system. The woman pled guilty to DWI, but challenged the requirement to have an interlock device installed in her car, because she had not been drinking when she was arrested.
Interlock devices can only detect alcohol, and do not test for other drugs, such as marijuana or prescription pills. Therefore, the woman argued that there was no basis to make her install the interlock device, since alcohol had nothing to do with her arrest.
However, the Court of Appeals did not agree, and ruled that it is reasonable to believe there is a “connection between the use of prescription drugs and the use of alcohol.”
Therefore, even if you have not been drinking, if you are pulled over and convicted of a DWI for pills, marijuana, or any other drugs, you will still need to register for and install an interlock device, which costs a lot of money. An interlock will cost an average of $1,000 per year, plus the cost of getting an interlock driver’s license ($63.00), and fines if you try and start your car with alcohol in your system.
-- Beth Padilla
Padilla Law, P.C. successfully represented an 82 year old Mexican national in his immigration case to become a lawful permanent resident of the United States. The client has been in the United States since 1960 and was eligible for registry.
An individual may apply for and be granted lawful permanent resident status pursuant to registry if he:
- Entered the United States prior to January 1, 1972;
- Resided in the United States continuously since January 1, 1972;
- Is a person of good moral character; and
- Is not removable/deportable under certain sections of the INA (for crimes, immoral conduct, etc.)
Padilla Law, P.C. traveled to Grand Junction, Colorado with the client for his interview with USCIS in November and he was granted lawful permanent resident status last week. His green card should arrive within three weeks.
Keywords: Durango, Cortez immigration, Farmington immigration, registry case, been in United States for years
-- Paul E. Padilla
Although alcohol-related offenses are a major concern in Colorado and New Mexico, many people don’t realize that if a criminal charge involves a car (like DUI or DWAI), there are two different legal processes that you will have to deal with. A criminal case will likely be started for violation of the law, but there will also be an administrative case to deal with revocation or suspension of your driver’s license.
In Colorado, a person must request an Express Consent hearing with the Department of Revenue within 7 days of being arrested or cited with an alcohol- or drug-related offense. In New Mexico, you have 10 days to request an Implied Consent hearing with the Motor Vehicle Division. These administrative hearings are similar to going to criminal court and will be based on the evidence collected when the person is arrested, but they are in addition to a criminal case and subject to different rules.
While there are differences between the criminal and administrative processes, both will apply the Express Consent law (in Colorado) or Implied Consent Act (in New Mexico), depending on where the person is arrested. In Colorado, the Express Consent law (C.R.S. § 42-4-1301.1) states that by receiving a driver’s license, you give permission for the police or other law enforcement agencies to take chemical tests to determine blood-alcohol or other drug levels, if they suspect you of driving under the influence. In New Mexico, the Implied Consent Act (N.M.S.A. § 66-8-105) is fundamentally the same as Colorado’s law.
If you refuse to take chemical tests for alcohol or drugs, these laws allow the department of revenue to revoke your driver's license, even if they don’t have evidence of alcohol or drugs. The amount of time a person loses their license may also be longer if they refuse to take chemical tests than if they were convicted of a DUI. However, that depends on the specific facts of your case.
Regardless, alcohol- and drug-related traffic offenses can result in fines, court cost, drug education classes, inter-lock devises, and restrictions or loss of your driver’s license, both in criminal court and in the administrative hearing. But, what is important to remember is that you must proactively request an administrative hearing to challenge the revocation of your driver’s license, and that you must go through both the criminal and administrative processes.
-- Beth Padilla
Many people in Colorado are confused about the rules regarding voting if a person has been convicted of a felony. Importantly, every state has different voting laws, so this information only pertains to Colorado.
While waiting outside a court room in the Sixth Judicial District today, I found a pamphlet addressing whether an individual convicted of a felony may vote in Colorado. The pamphlet was produced by the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition and references C.R.S. 1-2-103(4). The law states that an individual is not permitted to vote while serving a sentence or on parole for a felony sentence.
This brings up an important question: what does it mean to serve a sentence? If a person is sentenced to a period of time in jail/prison or is serving parole he or she is still serving his or her setence. This means that a person in jail/prison for a felony, or on parole for a felony is not eligible to vote in Colorado.
You can find more information on the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition's website: ccjrc.org.
Keywords: can I vote if I am a felon?, felony, colorado felony, durango criminal, colorado voting rules
The internet is filled with blogs, articles, and postings criticizing and complaining about the state of the world. While I don’t want to fall into that trap and post another negative outburst that no one wants to read, I feel the need to vent a little. Specifically, I want to discuss customer service and the dissolving standards that many businesses are experiencing today.
As an attorney, I often find myself defending my profession and explaining why lawyers behave the way that they do (many times poorly). Most of the time, I simply say that lawyers fail to recognize that we are in a service industry. That realization is often overshadowed by the status and prestige of having a six-figure mortgage to pay for law school (note the sarcasm).
But, regardless of the reason, the fact remains that many attorneys do not recognize that we are here to serve. An obvious consequence of this is the long-standing number-one complaint by clients: lawyers don’t return phone calls. While this may be an issue that goes far back into legal history, and may not be resolved any time soon, it is also an issue that seems to be epidemic, spreading through many other industries and professions.
As both an attorney and a small business owner, I believe customer service is the most important part of my job. Without my clients, I have no job. As a result, both I and my wife / business partner do everything in our power to create value and provide more bang for our clients’ buck. It is a daily objective and effort. However, what I have observed and found incredibly disheartening is that many other small businesses no longer feel the way I do.
Traditionally, small businesses stay competitive by adding value through customer service. A small business is not a margin business with thousands of customers flowing through the doors daily. So, regardless of the industry, a small business relies on higher levels of product knowledge, customization, and attention to detail. All the things that are lost in high-volume businesses.
Lately I have seen a growing trend of narcissism in many small businesses. Small businesses have certainly felt the brunt of the economic downturn over the past five years. But, rather than leveraging their core strengths (i.e. providing value through customer service), many small businesses have turned their attention to pricing and margins. This re-focus has two major consequences: 1) the entire reason to support and patronize small businesses (i.e. value) is lost; and 2) the small business essentially re-positions itself to compete with larger businesses that have much better pricing.
In short, small businesses will fail if they don’t provide value through customer service. And, I’m sorry to say, I see a lot of small businesses going under these days and I don’t think that this situation is to blame on big-businesses. Big-box stores have a specific game plan and they do it well. The real issue is that small businesses have to establish their own game plan and execute it, rather than trying to compete with or blame big businesses. If anything, many large businesses have recognized the importance of customer service and are now beating out small businesses in their own game.
In the end, I don’t think small businesses are going the way of the do-do bird, but, without bolstering (and justifying) their product offerings with customer service, it’s going to be a long cold winter for many small businesses.