For the average U.S. citizen, an attorney is needed when facing criminal allegations. After an arrest, most are worried about jail or losing future job opportunities, but for a non-U.S. citizen, there is so much more to worry about. Of course, you’re worried about going to jail, but will you go into an immigration or ICE jail for deportation? Will you lose your green card? Can you still become a U.S. citizen?
It’s important to obtain experienced legal counsel so all of your concerns about your future in the United States are addressed and understood.
It isn’t fair that immigrants receive a much lower standard of legal counsel than U.S. citizens. This difference is unacceptable. STERN Law started defending clients in criminal courts across the State more than 12 years ago, and we will defend you, proudly, with expertise like no other.
A non-citizen with criminal charges has more, and many different consequences than a United States citizen. If you are not a citizen, any criminal conviction will likely affect your lawful status and may even cause you to be deported. You need a lawyer who fully understands both the criminal and immigration process throughout your entire criminal case before any conviction is entered.
Instead of going back and forth between a criminal and immigration lawyer, seriously consider STERN Law as counsel for your criminal case. You will receive consistent and accurate advice regarding the impact on your immigration status from the very start.
WARNING: Sometimes even dismissed charges – like “First Offender” and “Conditional Discharge” sentences – are considered convictions under federal immigration law. Here’s the federal definition of conviction: “a formal judgment of guilt of the alien entered by the court” or, “if adjudication of guilt has been withheld, where…a judge has found the alien guilty, or the alien has entered a plea of guilty or nolo contendere, or has admitted sufficient facts to warrant a finding of guilt, and…the judge has ordered some form of punishment, penalty, or restraint on the alien’s liberty to be imposed.” INA § 101(a)(48)(A), 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(48)(A).
Under certain conditions, any non-U.S. citizen, even with lawful status, can become deportable. Deportability is a determination of whether specific immigration laws were violated.
There are different ways a person may become deportable. Conviction(s) for certain crimes or types of conduct are considered “deportable offenses.” These offenses trigger removal proceedings in Immigration Court. It’s important to note that most non-citizens have the constitutional right to challenge allegations of deportability in Immigration Court. However, a conviction for certain categories of deportable offenses may disqualify a person from stopping their removal.
The most important thing is to prevent the conviction in the first place. Remember that a”conviction” means something different under immigration law, and your criminal defense lawyer may not understand the distinction.
Under certain conditions, any non-U.S. citizen, even with lawful status, can become inadmissible to re-enter the U.S.
Inadmissibility is a determination of whether specific immigration laws were violated, preventing the lawful admission at U.S. port of entry and/or the Adjustment of Status to lawful permanent residency.
An inadmissible offense could also prevent one with legal status from re-entering the U.S. after a trip abroad. Admission into the U.S. is never guaranteed, even with an approved entry document or legal permanent residency.
Inadmissible offenses could prevent your admission, such as a previous stay in the U.S. without lawful status for 180 days or more; a prior arrest, conviction, or deportation (even if since resolved), and known issues of fraud.
The concept of admission to the United States is critical to U.S. immigration law. Admissibility, or a prior legal admission into the country, determines eligibility for most immigration status, including Adjustment of Status, the procedural rules that may apply during removal proceedings, and the availability to fight removal to stay in the U.S.
WARNING: A finding of inadmissibility can have a tremendous impact on your immigration status now and in the future. Even if you’re already here or since gained legal status, a criminal conviction that is considered an inadmissible offense will jeopardize your immigration benefits, as well as re-entry into the country you call home. As a non-U.S. citizen, it is crucial that you seek CrImmigration advice during a criminal proceeding, no matter how minor you might think your charges are. You might be charged with an inadmissible offense, and only an experienced CrImmigration legal team can strategically avoid immigration consequences.
Lesser offenses that are subject to removal under CrImmigration law now include:
To determine whether a criminal offense may be punishable through deportation, a non-U.S. citizen should seek out a criminal defense lawyer who understands the intricacies of the CrImmigration field. Hiring a criminal law attorney who is not versed in immigration law, or vice versa, may result in the client being ill-prepared to face the full breadth of consequences for their crime. Criminal charges can affect a non-citizen’s ability to stay in the country or their right to reenter, and can also impact their pending U.S. citizenship. The status of their spouse and dependents may also be in jeopardy.
Don’t assume a traffic offense is something minor. You can get arrested for them, and some have mandatory sentence conditions. There are potential immigration consequences with any offense that lands you in jail or even just starts as a ticket.
All Georgia traffic offenses are considered a criminal misdemeanor offense
Traffic offense arrests are the #1 most common reason for ICE detention.
Before you pay the bond for release from jail or rush to pay a traffic citation, talk with a CrImmigration Attorney. Here’s why:
Don’t just pay for your ticket! There are other ways to defend and protect you from mandatory jail time and deportation.
Every conviction for driving without a license or with a suspended license has a consequence for your future. Even if you have driven without a license or with a suspended license, there are important strategies possible to prevent a conviction or ending up in ICE custody.
A DUI is considered a dangerous offense by immigration authorities and has serious consequences.
Non-U.S. citizens with employment-based visas are at risk for visa cancellation with an arrest for a DUI.
Undocumented folks with DUI arrests or convictions will have significant issues getting released from immigration custody with an immigration court bond.
If you are undocumented and make the split-second decision to leave the scene of the accident out of fear, you are at risk.
A warrant will be issued for Hit and Run (a criminal misdemeanor) if you leave the scene of an accident.
This offense has serious consequences and must be handled carefully by an experienced CrImmigration attorney to avoid jail and deportation.