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Drug Charges Involving Immigrants

Though there is a longstanding federal strategy in place to combat the abuse and distribution of controlled substances, each state also has its own set of drug laws. One key difference between the two is that while the majority of federal drug convictions are obtained for trafficking, the majority of local and state arrests are made on charges of possession. Out of these state and local arrests, over half are for the possession of marijuana.

Another difference between federal and state drug laws is the severity of consequences after a conviction. Federal drug charges generally carry harsher punishments and longer sentences. State arrests for simple possession (i.e. possession without intent to distribute the drug) tend to be charged as misdemeanors and usually involve probation, a short term in a local jail, or a fine — depending on the criminal history and age of the person being charged.

Controlled Substances and Immigration

The vast majority of all criminal cases involve drugs, and controlled substances cases are treated very harshly under immigration laws. Many different types of convictions in drug cases can trigger deportation, inadmissibility, and disqualification from eligibility for many different types of immigration benefits. The greatest care must be taken when a foreign national is arrested for any controlled substance offense.

Immigration Consequences of Arrest or Conviction

The immigration consequences of arrest or conviction depend on your present immigration status, as well as on your race, class, and country of origin. Under many circumstances, the result is expulsion from the United States, often with a permanent or lengthy (five years) restriction on re-entry.

If you entered the United States without a visa or a visa waiver, your chances of being detained by the authorities and then sent home are high. You needn’t have committed any other crime, since being in the country illegally is itself grounds for expulsion.

If you entered the United States legally, but your visa has expired, you are still at high risk of being expelled.

If you entered the United States legally and your visa is still valid, then your immigration consequences depend on the type of visa, the outcome of the case, and the crime(s) of which you’re convicted. If you are merely here on a temporary visa, your risk of expulsion is higher. If you are a lawful permanent resident (have a green card), you have more legal maneuvers available, but you could be still be expelled even though you may have lived in the United States most of your life.

If you are acquitted of the charge(s) against you, there is generally little impact on your immigration status. If you are convicted, then it is more likely that you will be expelled. (Note that if you are sentenced to incarceration, you will have to serve your time before you are sent out of the country.) There are three levels of crime, and convictions for the more serious crimes are obviously worse from an immigration standpoint.

If convicted of a felony (a crime punishable by prison time), the risk of being expelled is high, especially if the offense involves drugs, firearms, violence, sex or dishonesty (like fraud). During a felony case, you should make sure your criminal defense lawyer works closely with an immigration lawyer who’s experienced in criminal issues. (source)

West Palm Beach Immigration Criminal Defense Attorney

The law firm of Andrew D. Stine, P.A. in West Palm Beach, is committed to representing legal and illegal immigrants facing criminal charges and possible deportation. We use our extensive experience in immigration criminal defense to protect the rights of immigrants charged with:

  • Drug crimes
  • DUI
  • Assault
  • Theft
  • Animal cruelty
  • Weapons charges
  • And other crimes against morality

Many crimes result in multiple criminal charges. If charged with drunk driving you may also receive a speeding ticket, a reckless endangerment charge or a manslaughter charge if someone was killed in an accident. You can remain in the United States with one criminal charge. If you have more than one, the possibility of deportation is high.

At the law office of Andrew D. Stine, P.A., we take immigration criminal charges seriously. If you are an immigrant and are charged with a crime, contact our office today. We will seek to have your case dismissed (nolle prossed).

We Immediately Start Working for You

The most important thing in all immigration criminal cases is to act early. Our defense team uses pretrial intervention to prevent a case from going through trial. We negotiate with prosecutors for a reduced sentence and work out deals to have our clients enter programs and complete community service instead of serving time in jail. Being proactive in an immigration criminal case often makes the difference between deportation and remaining in the United States.

Free consultation 24/7: Call West Palm Beach criminal defense lawyer Andrew D. Stine, P.A. at (561) 832-1170.Se habla español.

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