Traffic and Criminal Defense Attorney in Raleigh, NC Takes on I.C.E.

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The Law Offices of William Fay, a defense attorney Raleigh firm specializing in DWI, traffic and criminal law, recently provided defense for a case that made the local press.

Jim Melo, an experienced attorney from the Law Offices of William L. Fay, was recently featured in a local publication in the Raleigh, North Carolina area for his work on a controversial defense case. With new immigration laws under the joint federal-local 287(g) program, which allows designated officers to perform immigration law enforcement functions, attorneys such as Melo are finding it difficult to navigate the state and federal laws. Melo was able to confront Immigration and Customs Enforcement authorities, though, which caught the attention of a local news writer at the Independent Weekly.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (I.C.E.) isn't doing their job in Wake County, according to attorney Jim Melo from William Fay's criminal defense law firm. Raleigh, North Carolina officers should have only been allowed to delay the release of his client, who they suspected might be living in the country illegally, for 48 hours under an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainer while I.C.E. took him into custody and attempted to determine his immigration status, according to the statutes of the 287(g) program. This Teodolo Nunez Bustos was picked up for possession of cocaine, a Class 1 Misdemeanor, on August 9, 2008. He pled guilty in Wake County District Court to possession of drug paraphernalia 17 days later, and was sentenced to time served.

The problem is, according to Melo, that I.C.E. must also file a Notice to Appear during that 48 hours requiring the defendant to appear at a hearing in immigration court, and they did no such thing. When the two days were up Bustos was still being held without the notice having been filed. "This is part of what's wrong with the system," Melo told Vernal Coleman at the Independent Weekly. "How am I or any lawyer supposed to know what a client's status is if we can't get the right documents? I wouldn't be doing my job if I took their words at face value."

Melo has not been the first criminal defense attorney in Raleigh, NC who has been having problems unraveling the bureaucracies of this program, which was intended to fill in the gaps between state and federal laws. The law was on the side of his client in the end, though. Judge Donald W. Stephens agreed that Bustos was being unlawfully confined and signed an order for his immediate release on August 29, 2008 in case number 08-CR-60208. Bustos is currently awaiting a court date in Atlanta regarding his immigration status.

"Basically, we're forcing them to be better about the process of deporting people," Melo said about the I.C.E. program. "But as long as they continue to make missteps, we're going to try and get our clients out."

For more information about hiring a criminal defense attorney Raleigh, NC, visit To read the full article about Jim Melo's client and the case in Wake County, go to

About the Law Offices of William L. Fay:
When facing traffic tickets, DWI charges or criminal allegations, the Law Offices of William L. Fay can help to understand what you are facing, what legal defenses might apply in your case and what options are available.

Attorney William Fay is a graduate of Saint Louis University School of Law where he finished 6th in his class of 312 students, was an editor for Law Review and received five Academic Excellence Awards. The focus of his practice is criminal defense in Wake County, North Carolina. He has been certified by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in Standardized Field Sobriety Test Administration, which are the tests officers use to determine whether a driver is appreciably impaired. It is often the most compelling evidence used against a defendant in a court of law. Detailed knowledge of the reliability of these tests and, more importantly, the proper administration and interpretation of these tests can be the difference between an acquittal and a conviction.

William Fay and his team of experienced defense attorneys have represented thousands of clients in DWI, DUI, Criminal Defense, Traffic Tickets, and Immigration Law cases in the courts of North Carolina, and will fight to make sure your rights are protected.

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