Criminal defendants who are not United States citizens can suffer adverse immigration consequences as a result of the criminal case against them. Non-citizen criminal defendants can be subject to removal due to convictions for even the most minor criminal offenses. In addition, even mere admissions of certain types of criminal behavior can negatively affect the immigration status of non-citizens.
Criminal convictions can make a non-citizen, even a long-time permanent resident, removable from the United States — meaning that person can be expelled from the country. Criminal convictions or admissions of criminal activity can also make a person inadmissible to the United States. This means that a person can be denied the ability to re-enter the United States if the person ever leaves and attempts to re-enter the country. This also means that the non-citizen can be denied the ability to obtain a new visa or other benefits. Similarly, a criminal conviction can prevent a person from ever obtaining citizenship in this country.
Even those who are lawful permanent residents and have been hard-working and law-abiding persons can be subject to these consequences as a result of a criminal case against them. The immigration laws are very complex and frequently are interpreted in such a way that any resolution of the criminal case, even those resolutions which would normally deemed a successful outcome, can have a significant unwanted effect on the non-citizen’s immigration status. More importantly, many non-citizens will find that there are few avenues for relief from immigration consequences once there has been a conviction, or sometimes even just an admission of criminal activity.
Therefore, the front line in immigration defense is to try to resolve a criminal charge in a way that avoids immigration consequences. It is critical that non-citizens facing criminal charges are properly advised about potential immigration issues and that all avenues to avoid certain convictions or admissions be explored.
If you are facing an immigration consequence, you need aggressive, effective and efficient representation dedicated to protecting your rights and interests at every stage of your case. The experienced attorneys at Willey & Chamberlain will effectively support you and help you to maintain, regain or re-establish your legal residence in the United States.