How to Choose a (CrImmigration) Attorney (as a Non-U.S. Citizen)

How to Choose a (CrImmigration) Attorney (as a Non-U.S. Citizen)

If you are a non-U.S. citizen who has been arrested, you face a two-sided problem. The first is that there are penalties, fines, and potentially jail time associated with the crime you have been charged with. More importantly, non-U.S. citizens also have to consider the impact of a conviction on their immigration status.

Considering that we rely on our legal counselors to advise us of our rights and represent us, we must fully understand the ramifications of our decisions from the vantage point of the law. The non-U.S. citizen who has been arrested needs a trusted attorney who has a result-driven reputation of successfully helping non us-citizens get their criminal charges dismissed or lessened (criminal defense law) while preserving a path towards legal immigration status for them in the United States (immigration law).

These are two different areas of the law – but the overlap and impact on each other demands a master of both practices. Your situation demands that your attorney be r understands criminal law, immigration, and how the two interact. In other words, how does a criminal conviction impact your immigration process? Suppose your attorney doesn’t understand the relationship between these two practices. In that case, they may (unintentionally) recommend an outcome that resolves your criminal charge but also jeopardizes your chances of staying in the United States.

This is one of the reasons why crimmigration attorneys exist, and they understand both areas of the law at a mastery level.

Finding a True CrImmigration Attorney

If you or a non-U.S citizen who you love needs a crimmigration attorney, you are understandably concerned about your future, especially when your immigration status is in peril. Use the following points to ensure that you select a true crimmigration attorney:

  • Referrals: Do you know anyone who has worked with a crimmigration attorney? If someone you trust (like another lawyer or a family friend) has had a positive interaction with one, ask them about their experience. Because of your existing relationship with this person, you can ask the most important questions to you, and you can expect an honest and reliable response.
  • Attorney’s Background and Practice Areas: Is the attorney you’re looking at a true crimmigration lawyer? How long have they focused on crimmigration law? Check their website and online attorney profiles to confirm how many different practice areas they offer. If they dabble in multiple practice areas other than immigration and criminal defense, they are only dabbling with crimmigration. Crimmigration requires complete focus and study on the laws and rapidly-changing policies that impact non-U.S. citizens. Do you want an attorney who is dabbling with your life and future or do you want to ensure that you are in the hands of a crimmigration master?
  • Reviews: Online reviews can serve the same function as a referral, even if you don’t personally know the Reviewer. , Consider factors like: how many reviews does the attorney have? Do the reviews mention similar patterns or experiences? Do you see a similar situation to yours in these reviews where the lawyer’s client was in your shoes and describes a result that you want? Despite not knowing the people offering their opinions, there is safety in numbers. Dozens  (or possibly hundreds) of consistent, 5-star reviews speak to consistency.
  • Communication: Communication is the #1 complaint that lawyers receive and also the #1 reason for professional license violations. How will this attorney communicate with you? What do their client reviews say about communication? Ask if the firm uses technology to keep you updated regularly. Email and phone calls alone can get very hard to manage for a law firm, and the client, and can often create concern for miscommunication or lack of timely response. As technology evolves in the legal field, some law firms have invested in implementing a mobile app that you can access 24/7 to understand your Case Status.
  • Tracking Results: Some attorneys post their case results because it demonstrates their effectiveness and backs up the client reviews with successful statistics. When an attorney tracks results, it shows that they care about the improvement and making sure that their work is making an impact.

Why Choose A Crimmigration Lawyer?

Criminal records carry significant weight, even beyond what you can imagine or are aware of in this very moment. This is particularly important for anyone who is in the process of trying to live in the United States permanently. As a non-U.S. citizen who has been charged with a crime, your actions get evaluated by the criminal justice system and the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS). You want your attorney to be able to see ahead and protect you from all of the consequences that you are not yet aware of. The impact of the law goes much deeper than what the (untrained) eye can see.

For example, imagine that a criminal defense attorney explains that you can avoid jail time if you plead guilty. And after a specified time, your plea won’t show up on your record. However, how will USCIS or ICE view your actions? Your criminal record is fundamentally important because they look for violations of immigration law related to criminal offenses, threats to public safety while also ensuring you display good moral character. If your attorney only understands criminal law, then they are not in an ideal position to advise you. Success in a criminal court could still be catastrophic to your immigration process – and future in the U.S. overall.


STERN Law prides itself on being the first law firm in the country to be wholly dedicated to Crimmigration law. We have an intimate understanding of how criminal charges impact your immigration process. Overcoming a criminal charge at the expense of deportation is falling short. Our goal is to provide professional legal counseling that simultaneously caters to your criminal and immigration law needs. Please refer your non-us citizen friends to Contact STERN Law, LLC and schedule a consultation.


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