If you are accused of a crime and are not a citizen of the United States a criminal conviction can have negative immigration repercussions. What type of immigration impact can be influenced by a number of factors. The following is a partial list of items that may play a role in the ultimate outcome when it comes to immigration:
- The conviction type. Certain types of immigration convictions can subject a person to deportation (removal from the United States) and/or inadmissibility (the inability to reenter the United States if the alien leaves and tries to return). It also may subject an alien to mandatory detention. There are certain crimes that are classified in certain manners for immigration purposes (for example: Crimes of Violence; Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude); Aggravated felonies; Prostitution, etc., etc.)
- The alien’s status in the country. The alien’s as undocumented, on a visa, or a lawful permanent resident (green card holder), can have a bearing on the immigration consequence and the forms of relief that may be available;
- The length of time the alien has held a green card may affect the types of relief that are available;
- The length of lawful residence in the United States may affect the availability of certain reliefs available;
- The home country that the alien is from can affect his or her deportability (removability). For example, the alien’s home country conditions or relationship with the United States may be an issue in the ability of the United States to send the alien back to their home country;
- The date of the offense may play a role in terms of potential reliefs available;
- The type of relationship that the alien has with a “qualified relative” United States citizen or lawful permanent residence may impact the eligibility for certain reliefs;
- The Court with jurisdiction may influence whether or not the conviction is reported to immigration;
- The length of the sentence received may allow for or bar certain types of relief;
- If the alien received punishment from the criminal conviction. If the Judge does not impose any form of punishment, immigration may (depending on the circumstances) consider that the alien was not actually convicted for immigration purposes;
- The type of any prior conviction(s);
- The alien’s background (moral character) may play a role if there are reliefs available;
- The alien’s youthful age may determine if a conviction occurred;
- The alien’s potential eligibility for forms of immigration relief may influence an Immigration Judge when it comes to setting a bond;
- An admission to a criminal offense may even subject an alien to deportability/inadmissibility depending upon a number of factors.
United States immigration law is very complicated and is always changing. An alien who is charged with a crime always should hire an experienced criminal lawyer such as Daniel Hilf of Hilf & Hilf, PLC.
Again it is important to hire an experienced criminal lawyer to defend you. The lawyer’s ability to vigorously defend the case and obtain an acquittal (depending upon the facts of the case) are exactly what you may need. The experienced criminal lawyer sometimes (when appropriate) can seek a plea bargain that will either remove the potential immigration consequence or to at least provide avenues for immigration relief. If a criminal conviction occurs, the lawyer may be able to influence the sentence that the Judge imposes which, in some cases, can make all the difference in terms of the immigration consequence and potential immigration reliefs available.
Court appointed, criminal lawyers, and Courts are only obligated to tell you that your case could have an immigration consequence. They do not have a duty to provide you with specific information as to the type of immigration consequence you may receive or how to put yourself in the best position to avoid immigration consequences when possible. It is important to know that any criminal lawyer will not do – experience matters.
It is important that you also receive solid immigration advice or immigration legal representation from an experienced immigration lawyer such as Attorney Sufen Hilf of Hilf & Hilf, PLC – especially if the criminal lawyer has a limited understanding of immigration law issues. The criminal defense lawyer and immigration lawyer can work hand in hand with one another to try and avoid, eliminate, or reduce potential immigration consequences. There are certain criminal case resolutions, (even resolutions that are for State law purposes not considered to be a criminal conviction) that are for federal Immigration law purposes are considered to be convictions. You and your lawyer’s ignorance of the immigration consequence may not have any relevance to an Immigration Judge’s decision, and the issue will likely be expensive to litigate.
It is important to remember that not all immigration lawyers are the same. Many immigration lawyers do not have experience when it comes to criminal offense related issues. Some immigration lawyers only specialize in business immigration and/or family immigration, and are not qualified to provide quality representation when it comes to criminal law issues.
The advantage of retaining Hilf & Hilf, PLC is that we have lawyers that are experts in both criminal law and immigration law. Having both types of lawyers under one roof is a great advantage when it comes to criminal law related immigration cases or immigration law related criminal cases.