What Are Consequences For Noncitizens?
If you are not a United States citizen and you are charged with a crime, the immigration consequences of a conviction could prove to be far more severe than the immediate court consequences. Unfortunately, many criminal attorneys do not know the immigration consequences that even minor criminal convictions can have for a noncitizen. Because of the serious immigration consequences of many criminal convictions or even pleas resulting in dismissal, most jurisdictions recognize that effective criminal defense of a noncitizen often goes well beyond the typical criminal defense. At Corey Cohen and Associates, we provide the effective criminal defense a noncitizen requires.
Immigration Holds While the Case Is Pending
If you are not a United States citizen and you are arrested on suspicion of a crime, the Office of Homeland Security may put an immigration hold on you, which is sometimes known as an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) hold. This means that you will not be able to bond out of jail while your case is pending. You need a lawyer who can talk with Homeland Security and negotiate a way to have this hold removed pending resolution of your case. Immigration can put a hold on you for any charge, even a misdemeanor.
Potential for Deportation
Remarkably, even misdemeanor convictions with no jail time can result in the deportation and permanent exclusion of a noncitizen. If you take a plea or are found guilty at trial, even if the criminal court does not convict you of the charge, for immigration purposes it is a criminal conviction. This same result is possible even with permanent residents who 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 normally have surprising immigration consequences regardless of the seriousness of the crime. If you are not a citizen and you are charged with a crime, you attorney’s first task is to determine the exact immigration consequences of a conviction. This is where any plea deal regardless of adjudication will count as a conviction for immigration purposes. Your only option in these cases is a dismissal to avoid any immigration consequences.
If you are charged with a crime and are not a United States citizen or have any immigration issues or concerns, you need to tell your attorney at the very first meeting. A lawyer’s approach to the case may change with this information. A plea offer that may seem good for the average person may have dire consequences for someone who is not a United States citizen.