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Criminal Convictions & Immigration Consequences


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Non-U.S. citizens who are convicted of misdemeanor or felony crimes may be deported from the United States as a result of the criminal conviction. In addition, defendants who are not citizens of the United States at the time of conviction may be denied United States citizenship status even if he or she is not deported from the United States.

A criminal defense attorney should review all criminal charges with a defendant in light of the defendant's citizenship status so that a conviction will have the least amount of impact on the defendant with respect to his or her immigration concerns.

Defendants who are charged with a crime in the United States should take special precaution to not plea guilty to a criminal charge that is considered a moral turpitude crime, a crime of violence, or an aggravated felony. These types of crimes result in harsh consequences for immigrant defendants.

In addition, if the defendant already has a criminal history he or she will have additional immigration problems upon any new criminal conviction or violation of probation.

A crime of moral turpitude is a 'bad though' crime such as drug dealing, murder, theft, robbery, burglary, sex offenses, gang offenses, etc. These cases are committed while the defendant had an evil thought or design while carrying out the offense. On the other hand, crimes like drunk driving, simple battery, and possession of a deadly weapon are not generally considered crimes of moral turpitude.

A crime of violence is any crime that is committed by violence such as robbery, rape, domestic violence, kidnapping, murder, etc. However, crimes like burglary or involuntary manslaughter do not necessarily involve violence.

An aggravated felony is any felony conviction where the jail or prison sentence is longer than one year.

Remember, immigration issues are in addition to any penalties imposed for the criminal conviction. For example, a defendant may be found guilty for robbery and be ordered to serve a prison sentence; thereafter, upon the defendant's release from custody he or she may be deported because of the robbery conviction.

In many cases a criminal defense attorney can negotiate a criminal conviction in such a way as to avoid deportation for the immigrant. This is done by either changing the name of the criminal charge, changing the sentence associated with the charge, or by changing the language in the criminal conviction. If a guilty plea will likely lead to immigration consequences for the defendant then the criminal defense attorney will need to explain this to the defendant.

In some cases an immigration attorney will work closely with the criminal defense attorney to assure that any consequence of a criminal conviction will have the least negative impact on the immigrant's citizenship status.

When available, an immigration attorney and a criminal defense attorney can work together to ascertain the immigrant's exceptions to deportation (Waiver, Asylum, Amnesty) in light of the chances of a victory at trial.

In addition, a non-U.S. citizen criminal defendant will likely have an immigration hold placed on him by the Department of Homeland Security's immigration section known as Immigration Customs & Enforcement (I.C.E.); this immigration hold does not allow the immigrant to bail out of jail due to his or her immigration status. This makes the criminal case more difficult on the defendant and the defendant's family.

If you or a loved one is charged with a crime in the United States and the person charged with a criminal act is not a United States citizen it is absolutely vital that you retain a criminal defense attorney who is familiar with United States immigration law as it pertains to criminal convictions and guilty pleas.

In cases where a plea is not optional you must retain a criminal defense attorney who is competent and experienced and can handle all types of misdemeanor and felony cases through trial.

Important: Only U.S. citizens are protected from deportation or denial of re-entry into the county. Both legal and illegal immigrants may be deported upon a criminal conviction. Green card holders, permanent resident aliens, immigrants with work permits or travel visas, and other are not completely protected from deportation upon a criminal conviction. 

Criminal Defense attorney Christopher Dorado dedicates his cases to criminal defense and there is no fee for a consultation. Our office is available 24/7 to answer all of your criminal defense questions and your immigration questions as they apply to criminal convictions.

Call today!! 909.913.3138 


New: The law described in this article is subject to change. Immigration law is set by the U.S. Federal government. President Donald Trump has announced that his office will make changes to immigration law in the near future. These changes may have a dramatic and negative impact on an immigrant's right to remain in the Unitied States, especially if the immigrant is not already on the path to citizenship and the immigrant has a criminal history. For further information on how best protect your rights as a non-citizen, contact our criminal defense attorneys at 909.913.3138


Important: Only U.S. citizens are protected against deportation or denial of re-entry in this county. Permanent Resident Aliens, Green Card holders, immigrants with work permits, travel visas, and even immigrants who are in the United States awaiting marriage may be deported by Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE). Currently, illegal aliens without a criminal history are not usually deported; however, President Donald Trump has announced that the law in this area may change. For more information on the current state of the law regarding immigrants, deportation, ICE, DHS, illegal aliens, obtaining citizenship, and immigration consequences for criminal convictions, please contact our criminal defense attorneys for a free consultation. Se habla Espanol


Warning: President Donald Trump has announced that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its agency which deals with immigration, Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE), will make changes in the near future, which may have a negative impact on an illegal immigrant's ability to remain in the United States. Immigrants with any criminal history, including misdemeanor and felonies, may be grounds for deporting illegal immigrants in the future. To learn more about deportation, becoming a U.S. citizen, ICE, DHS, and immigration consequences for criminal history, contact our criminal defense attorneys today.


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