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Woman's domestic violence arrest leads to immigration issues

Individuals who are accused of, or arrested on, domestic violence charges often face social, career or other consequences regardless of the outcome of an arrest. Though a strong criminal defense is always a first concern to minimize consequences or clear one’s name, individuals facing such accusations also should understand how to minimize other effects.

For one Colorado woman, the impact of an arrest related to an alleged domestic violence incident resulted in the threat of deportation. According to reports, the woman called police for assistance in July 2012. An argument between the woman and her husband became physical, and the husband later admitted to being the aggressor in the incident. Even so, police arrested the woman at the time of the incident and continued to hold her after her husband made the admission.

Documents indicate that a judge ordered the sheriff's office to release the woman following the husband's statement. However, because Immigration and Customs Enforcement had issued a detainer request on the woman, the sheriff's office didn't release her. The woman was held for three additional days at ICE's request.

The incident has sparked the involvement of the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado, which sent letters to sheriffs throughout the state. The letters notified sheriffs that their offices might be legally liable when detaining prisoners who would otherwise be released if not for ICE requests. A number of sheriff's offices reported that they would no longer do so.

The woman in the reported case received a settlement of $30,000 from the sheriff's office for the alleged wrongful detainment. Not all wrongful domestic violence arrests end in a civil settlement, but it is essential for those who are arrested to understand the entire situation and seek appropriate aid in defending themselves.

Source: Pagosa Daily Post, "Sheriff Pays $30,000 to Colorado Woman Unlawfully Detained," John Krieger, June 20, 2014

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