Immigrant Charged With A Crime
Being arrested or convicted of a crime can certainly affect your current immigration status. It can reduce the chances of obtaining a work visa or citizenship, and can increase the risk of deportation, especially for those currently in the U.S. without any legal documentation. Individuals attempting to immigrate to the United States may be denied entrance if they have been arrested or convicted of a crime.
All arrests and convictions in the U.S. are entered into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC), a federal database containing criminal records. An arrest will appear in the NCIC computer if the person was fingerprinted and photographed by a law enforcement officer, or a law enforcement officer ordered the person to accompany him or her against the suspect’s will.
Even if the arrest did not result in a conviction, the individual is required to advise immigration officers, employees of Homeland Security, and employees of Department of State about the arrest when asked. If an individual is asked by any of these law enforcement officers about an arrest, and the person fails to admit to the arrest, it could result in his or her conviction for “fraud to gain an immigration benefit.”
Immigration Consequences of Criminal Cases
Because of the grave immigration consequences of many criminal convictions or even pleas resulting in dismissal, most jurisdictions recognize that effective criminal defense of a non-citizen often goes well beyond the typical criminal defense. The effective defense of a non-citizen requires a defense on the criminal charges as well as a defense against possible adverse immigration consequences (source).
Potential for Deportation
Remarkably even misdemeanor convictions with no jail time can resort in the deportation and permanent exclusion of a non-citizen. This same result occurs even with residents that have been in the United States for decades, established businesses, purchased homes, raised families and had no other prior legal problems. It is surprising to learn that relatively minor charges can result in deportation while far more serious crimes have no immigration consequences at all. The immigration consequences depend on the classification of the crime.
Charges of Moral Turpitude
Crimes of moral turpitude and aggravated felonies are removable. It is the crimes of moral turpitude that typically have surprising immigration consequences. Instincts or general impressions of the seriousness of the crime are unreliable. If you are not citizen and you are charged with a crime, you attorney’s first task is to determine the exact immigration consequences of a conviction. To know this, he must determine if your crime is one of moral turpitude. Once this determination has been made, the attorney should then determine the immigration consequences of every possible plea deal even those that result in dismissal.
Your Criminal Lawyer must be Aware of Your Immigrant Status
To help you, your attorney must obviously know that you are not a United States citizen. This is not always apparent to the attorney, and sometimes the attorney may not think to ask. Therefore, if you are not a United States citizen, your first task is to immediately inform your attorney of this fact. Your immigration status may dramatically impact the defense strategy. Failure to inform your attorney of your immigration status could result in catastrophic immigration consequences even with what is an otherwise very good criminal defense.
West Palm Beach Immigration Criminal Defense Attorney
If you are accused of a crime your freedom and immigration status may be at stake. The outcome you receive in the criminal justice system depends upon the experience and knowledge of the defense attorney you choose to represent you. Not all criminal defense attorneys may be aware of all of the ways a criminal charge or conviction can affect immigration status. If you have a previous criminal conviction or facing criminal charges you should immediately speak to an immigration or criminal attorney familiar with how criminal convictions may affect immigration status.
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:
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).