While non-citizens seek to avoid any altercation with the law, we know “it” happens. Non-citizens who enter the country legally and are convicted of crimes in the United States are at risk of deportation and removal from the country whenever a crime occurs. The stakes are very high for Permanent Residents and non-immigrant visa holders.
Seeking separate U.S. Immigration counsel along with criminal counsel BEFORE pleading to a crime is advised and essential for ‘crim-immigration’ cases. The laws impacting U.S. Permanent Residents and non-immigrant visa holders are continuously changing and in flux. For instance,the 4th circuit recently ruled that credit card fraud is not an aggravated felony. Aggravated Felony is a Federal Immigration Classification that limits legal relief available to a non-citizen charged with a crime. This can result in mandatory detention and deportation. Also, in Virginia, possession of certain drug paraphernalia is now being distinguished on a case by case basis from drug possession charges for purposes of determining removability from the United States.
The above examples of recent changes in the law are illustrated to demonstrate the following points:
- A crime which makes a non-citizen deportable from the U.S. today, may change tomorrow. A change in the law can promptly remove the crime from the “deportation” list and eliminate risk of removal associated with committing a certain crime.
- A criminal lawyer will or should recommend you to speak with an immigration lawyer to find out what the ‘state of the law’ is on deportation related to the criminal charge, and/or whether there is a crime, which if plead to, would minimize or eliminate the risk of deportation.
If you or your family member are a foreign national and have committed a crime in the United States, it is important to understand that criminal laws and Federal U.S. immigration laws intersect in a complex manner which requires an experienced immigration and criminal counsel teamed together.
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