Collateral Consequences From Criminal Convictions

Top Rated Deportation Attorneys Representing Clients in Las Vegas, Reno, Los Angeles And Throughout The United States

Under American immigration law, a non-citizen can be deported based upon conviction of an aggravated felony or a crime involving moral turpitude.

For purposes of immigration law, a crime is considered an “aggravated felony” if it involves (1) fraud, possession of a weapon, possession of drugs or intent to commit serious injury to another and (2) the court imposed a sentence of incarceration of 1 year or more. Even a suspended sentence of incarceration will count towards qualifying as an aggravated felony as long as the underlying sentence itself is 1 year or more. There is no immigration waiver under federal law for non-citizens convicted of an aggravated felony.

A crime involving moral turpitude is a criminal offense whose elements involve fraud, larceny or the intent to harm another person. An offense accompanied by a conviction can be considered a crime involving moral turpitude even if the court did not impose a term of incarceration. There is no list of crimes involving moral turpitude because, for purposes of American immigration law, whether an offense qualifies as such turns on state law. An non-citizen convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude may be able to apply for a waiver in limited circumstances.

While many immigrants think they can only be deported if they are convicted of a felony, that is in fact not true. Imagine the following scenario: you’ve lived in the United States for 7 years and have had a Green Card for 5 years but last month you plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge of driving under the influence (“DUI”) because you got stopped by the police on the way home from an office “happy hour” where you had a few drinks.

Apart from this one mistake, you’ve been a productive member of society. Can you be deported for a misdemeanor DUI? Yes you can! Despite what your criminal attorney may have told you about a DUI being no big deal, you should be aware that under a November 20, 2014 policy promulgated by the Secretary of the United States Department of Homeland Security, aliens convicted of a DUI “represent the second-highest priority [after terrorists and those that threaten national security] for apprehension and removal” from the United States.

Yes, you read that correct. After terrorists, the government considers aliens with DUI convictions the second highest priority for removal from the United States.

At The Federal Defenders, By Paul Padda Law our attorneys have deep knowledge and experience in both criminal and immigration law and the manner in which criminal convictions can carry significant immigration consequences. In fact, we get calls all the time from criminal defense attorneys requesting guidance on immigration matters.

Even a mere DUI conviction can upend your life in America if you’re a non-citizen. Before pleading guilty, better to consult with The Federal Defenders to avoid major problems later. In fact, many criminal defense attorneys from across the United States regularly contact us to find out the immigration consequences for their clients before they have them plead guilty.

If you’re facing prosecution or deportation based upon a criminal conviction in Las Vegas, Reno, Los Angeles or anywhere else in the United States, The Federal Defenders, By Paul Padda Law can help.


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