Does Your Defense Lawyer Understand Immigration Law?

Often times a person who needs a defense lawyer only thinks about if the person they are hiring knows criminal law. This can be a costly mistake. Often times hiring a defense lawyer who is not familiar with immigration law can have terrible consequences down the road.

A common scenario is something like this: A person who is not legally in the United States gets charged with a DUI. The person hires a DUI lawyer who knows nothing about immigration law and does not tell the client that pleading guilty can have an impact on that person’s immigration case. The client pleads guilty and they think everything is fine. The person goes to get citizenship down the road and now immigration authorities tell the person that because they have a DUI they can’t get citizenship. This is just one example of how having a criminal defense lawyer who understands immigration law can be important.

The Benikov Law firm only handles criminal and DUI matters but we understand how a conviction can have an impact on your immigration status. We work with some of the best immigration lawyers in the Phoenix area to make sure we craft the best possible solutions for our clients. If you or someone you love has been charged with a crime and are worried if the charge will affect your immigration contact us for a free consultation.

Dealing with Driver License Issues After a DUI in Arizona

Dealing with License Issues After a DUI in Arizona
When you are charged with a DUI in Arizona you have a lot of things to worry about. You are worried about going to jail, how a conviction could alter your future, what your friends and family will think. One outcome that many people don’t think of after being charged with a DUI, but should, is how their drivers license will be affected.

When you are charged with a DUI in Arizona the officer is supposed to mail paperwork to Motor Vehicle Department (”MVD”). There are two likely types of suspensions that you will be looking at after being charged with a DUI. What is important here is that the suspension can start before you are ever convicted of a DUI. Many people in Arizona think they don’t need to worry about their license being suspended because they have not yet been convicted, this is a mistake. In Arizona you can have your license suspended just for being charged with a DUI.

The determining factor of the type of suspension you are looking at is if you submitted to the chemical tests that the officer asked you to perform. Under Arizona law you have to submit to the tests. If you refuse the officer will obtain a warrant and proceed with the tests. The most common one is a test for the amount of alcohol in your blood. If you submit to the tests you are likely looking at a 90 day suspension.

Out of the two common types of suspension the most common one is a 90 day suspension. While the suspension says it is for 90 days it is really for 30 days as after the first 30 days of no driving you can be given a restricted license for going to work or school for the next 60 days. The restricted license is not automatic and steps must be taken to get one. A good defense lawyer familiar with MVD can be a huge benefit in this area.

The second type of suspension is the one year suspension. If you do not submit to the officer’s chemical tests you face a one year license suspension. Even if you are later acquitted of the DUI charge you could still lose your license for one year. While this suspension can be challenged it is very difficult to overturn.

What to do When Stopped by Police?

What to do When Stopped by Police?
As a defense lawyer I get this question a lot. I also hear a lot of terrible advice given on the subject. The first thing to do is to remain calm. Once you stop being calm it is a lot easier to make bad decisions. The calmer you remain the better off you will be. I know this is easier said then done as having contact with the police is a stressful event for most people.

The second thing you should do is know your rights. In Arizona there are some things you have to provide the officer with like an ID if they ask to see one. There are some things that you don’t have to do. One common example are field sobriety tests when an officer is investigating a possible DUI.

Try to be polite to the officer. This is not always possible but do your best. If you become agitated the officer will also be more likely to be agitated and the situation can escalate. Remember the the officer has a lot discretion with certain types of offenses as far as what you are charged with.

Try to get as much information as you can about why the police are contacting you. It is ok to ask questions when speaking with the police. There are times when the police may not be able to tell you a lot and this is ok. Try to remember everything that happens. Try to write down everything as soon as you can. There is a lot of research on how flawed our memory is so the more you can write down the more beneficial this will be to your defense lawyer. Try to write down things as soon as you can. As you can guess your memory of the encounter with the police will be a lot better after one hour then it will be after two weeks.


LANSING, Mich., Nov. 13, 2017 – Alex Benikov, criminal defense lawyer, law professor, author and international lecturer, spoke to students at WMU-Cooley Law School’s Lansing campus Nov. 2 about how he found success after law school.

Benikov, who by his own admission had the lowest LSAT score of anyone he knew, graduated near the bottom of his class, but was able to achieve success and open Benikov Law Firm as soon as he graduated from law school. Benikov has managed the firm for eight years representing clients charged with crimes ranging from major felonies to misdemeanors.

Benikov discussed how he planned ahead for his future legal profession during two sessions at the law school, the second of which was held during the reception for graduates who just passed the bar exam. The new Michigan Bar inductees were able to network and discuss career development with Benikov following the presentation.

“Success is easy for a lawyer. You just have to be willing to outwork and out-hustle everyone else. If you are willing to do what other lawyers are not, you will find success,“ Benikov said.

For the past four years, Benikov has also been an adjunct law professor at Arizona Summit Law School. He has taught Law Office Management, Professional Responsibility, Trial Skills, Pre-trial Skills, Elder Law, Health Law and is currently developing a class on the Economics of Law Practice. Benikov is also an adjunct professor at St. Francis Law School in Long Beach, California. He has served as special prosecutor in Arizona.

The author of four legal books, Benikov has lectured nationally and internationally, and has been recognized for his entertaining style of presentations. He recently spoke in Shenzhen China on entrepreneurship and the American criminal justice system. He has received numerous awards from lawyer recognition associations including from Super Lawyers, American Trial Lawyers and Phoenix Magazine.


About Western Michigan University Cooley Law School: WMU-Cooley Law School resulted from the 2014 affiliation that combined WMU’s status as a nationally-ranked, public, comprehensive research university with the commitment to practical legal education of an independent, non-profit, national law school. WMU-Cooley is accredited by both the American Bar Association and the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Since the law school’s founding in 1972, WMU-Cooley has provided nearly 20,000 graduates with the practical skills necessary for a seamless transition from academia to the real world, and enrolls classes in January, May, and September at its Lansing, Auburn Hills, and Grand Rapids, Michigan campuses, and its Tampa Bay, Florida campus. WMU and WMU-Cooley Law School operate as independent institutions with their own governance structure and separate fiduciary responsibilities.