The intersection of criminal and immigration law bores a new paradigm that many people find challenging, especially if you are an immigrant facing criminal charges in the USA. In brief, please don’t make the mistake of playing a legal representation role when it comes to criminal defense of immigrants, especially when you have no legal training in a broader spectrum of legal matters. In that instance, it is imperative that you retain experienced Rockville Maryland criminal lawyers to defend you. A lawyer’s effort can save you a great deal from doing time in prison or facing deportation.
So, what are some of the basic things that you need to know about criminal and immigration law in the United States of America? Well, they include but aren’t limited to the following:
- Deportation due to criminal convictions
Any non-citizen resident may be deported in line with the federal Immigration and Nationality Act; in any case, they are tried and convicted of certain criminal offenses. Such an action does not have limitations, even if you are in the country legally. Having a child or spouse who is an American citizen or whether you have significant business and job ties doesn’t give you special privileges. Criminal offenses that can attract deportation of a non-citizen include moral turpitude crimes such as forgery, kidnapping, or even arson.
Other crimes that can result in deportation action are aggravated felonies, firearms offenses, and controlled substance offenses. Domestic crimes that can lead to deportation include violating a restraining order, child abuse, and domestic battery.
- Inadmissibility due to criminal convictions
Inadmissibility does not equate deportation because it is more like a lesser punishment for a criminal immigrant. If any non-USA citizen is rendered inadmissible, he/she will be cut from any kind of benefit that the USA may offer to immigrants through the immigration department. Inadmissibility will apply if you are an illegal immigrant who is in the quest for obtaining legal immigrant recognition or a legal immigrant seeking USA citizenship. Criminal offenses that can lead to inadmissibility include crimes of moral turpitude, drug crimes, and any multiple convictions.
- Removal hearing in immigration court
Before you are either deported or rendered inadmissible, authorities will likely put you through removal hearing where you can indemnify yourself. That is why it is imperative to retain qualified lawyers who have experience in criminal and immigration laws intersection. At this stage, you have the right to retain an attorney, and you can also challenge all the evidence presented against you. The immigration judge will read to you the reasons that lead to you being targeted for removal, allow your attorney to represent your evidence, and examine the witnesses lined up against you.
- What about post-conviction relief?
Being convicted for an inadmissible or deportable crime doesn’t mean that you’ve exhausted the options of living in the USA as a legal immigrant. Retaining an experienced attorney can significantly help you secure post-conviction relief, meaning that all your past convictions will not be taken into account during the immigration process. For instance, if a lawyer helps you secure a felony reduction to a misdemeanor, then that conviction can be lifted.