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Criminal Defense

Immigration Criminal Defense Lawyer

One of the most common reasons for detention and deportation of non-citizens is because they have been convicted of certain criminal charges. It should be noted be however that any non-citizen who has been charged with removability has the right to remain in the U.S. for a Removal Hearing. Removal proceedings for criminal conduct, unlike admissibility review, will apply only after there has been a conviction by the courts. In this regard, the federal courts have struggled with a uniform definition of “conviction” for immigration purposes. This is because many states, including New Jersey, allow diversion programs where the defendant is placed on probation for a period of time and after successful completion the charges are dismissed. Other states require you to take a guilty plea but allow for an automatic expungement at the completion of a year if there have been no further problems. The circumstances surrounding every criminal offense are different and unique but one thing is for sure – if you are a non-citizen and you have been arrested for a criminal offense you need the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney who can properly advise you on your options and how each can affect your immigration status. If you would like to learn more about how we can help you or your loved one, contact our office today at (732) 450-8300 for a free consultation with one of our attorneys.

Consequences of a Criminal Conviction on a Non-Citizen

The two common categories of crimes that can impact your immigration status are (1) Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude “CIMT” and (2) an Aggravated Felony. The consequences of being convicted of an aggravated felony or CIMT are certainly severe and long lasting and include detention, imprisonment and mandatory deportation from the United States. In addition to being subject to removal, non-citizens removed for having been convicted of such offenses are permanently barred from re-entering the U.S. and may be sentenced to up twenty years in prison if they re-enter illegally. A person convicted of an aggravated felony or CIMT can not normally establish good moral character and is thus permanently barred from naturalizing as an U.S. citizen through residence. Persons convicted of aggravated felonies are subject to mandatory detention, can be placed in expedited removal proceedings, and are eligible for most forms of relief from removal. In addition, removal orders based on an aggravated felony are not subject to judicial review, although federal courts do have jurisdiction to determine whether a particular offense is an aggravated felony and to review constitutional claims and questions of law.

Affect of Criminal Conviction of Immigration Status

Moreover, the Immigration and Nationality Act allows for removal of people convicted of specific crimes not listed as a crime involving moral turpitude or aggravated felony. For instance, ICE may remove any non-citizen convicted of violating any law or regulation relating to a controlled dangerous substance such as narcotics or even marijuana. Furthermore, any non-citizen who at any time after admission abuses or becomes addicted to drugs is subject to removal. Therefore, unlike the general moral turpitude category, a non-citizen need not be sentenced in order to be removed for drug offenses. Likewise, a non-citizen convicted of practically any unlawful firearm violation is deportable. However, there are some ways to avoid these unanticipated consequences for criminal conduct by non-citizens. For instance, an experienced immigration criminal defense attorney can work with the prosecutor to explore different options and consider pleading a non-citizen to a lesser offense that does not involve a moral turpitude, has a maximum sentence of less than one year, and is not classified as an aggravated felony under immigration law. To learn more about how we may be able to help you with your particular situation, contact our office at (732) 450-8300 for a free consultation with an experienced defense lawyer today.

More Deportable Offenses

Aggravated Felony Crime Involving Moral Turpitude
Domestic Violence Crimes Child Abuse, Neglect & Abandonment
Drug Convictions Stalking
DWI Charges Violation of a Restraining Order
Marijuana Offenses Shoplifting