An allegation of a controlled substance offense against an alien can have severe immigration consequences. Depending on the circumstances, it can result in: ineligibility to enter or re enter the United States; ineligibility to obtain a green card; inability to become a naturalized United States citizen; deportation; mandatory detention. When such an allegation arises, it is important that the alien has an experienced criminal defense attorney that can work hand in hand with an experienced immigration lawyer.
Aliens, even those living in the United States as a lawful permanent resident, is considered to be applying for admission whenever returning from abroad to the United States. An alien that is applying for adjustment of status is also considered applying for admission. When applying for for admission, even the mere acknowledgment of criminal activity can deny the alien residency and permission to enter or re enter the United States.
For deportation, the Immigration Court looks as to whether the alien was convicted, and the nature of the offense. The criminal defense lawyer’s ability to reach a plea bargain that does not impact the alien, or which makes the alien eligible for a waiver, is often the only solution. If the alien was convicted, the criminal defense lawyer may attempt to set aside the conviction by reaching a resolution with the Prosecution, seeking relief from judgment from the criminal sentencing Court, or appealing the conviction. One recent avenue of relief is for the alien to challenge the conviction because he or she was not adequately informed with the immigration consequences of the plea. For these types of situations, you should hire a law firm that has experience and expertise in both criminal defense and immigration law, such as Hilf & Hilf, PLC.