Containing a Mistake
A non-citizen, including a green-card holder, can be thrown out of the U.S. – sometimes forever – based on a criminal conviction.
Clients want a practical understanding of how and when a criminal case affects their immigration status.
This can be an incomprehensible and vindictive system.
A criminal “conviction,” under the immigration law, has a unique definition for non-citizens. It includes a “no-contest” plea that was dismissed after successful probation. It includes “second chance” outcomes that were designed, under the criminal laws, to give you a break.
The impact on your immigration status may occur upon arrest, or not until weeks, months or years later.
Your particular conviction will determine whether the government tries to impose one or more of these consequences:
- Imprisonment without bond
- 10-year or permanent U.S. exile
- Loss of your green card
- Denial of a visa or U.S. citizenship
- Inability to re-enter the U.S. after traveling abroad
Immigration penalties are conviction-specific. Obtain your criminal record.
- Conviction descriptions like “family violence,” “drugs” “assault” or “shoplifting” can be misleading, and have no legal significance.
- Serious immigration penalties arise from convictions that are “aggravated felonies,” “crimes involving moral turpitude,” and “controlled substance” offenses.
- Each jurisdiction writes its laws differently. To determine whether your conviction falls within one of those categories, an immigration attorney must see your conviction record and analyze the conviction statute.
- Every week there are court cases about crimes and their immigration fallout which may affect your case. The importance of having a knowledgeable immigration lawyer review your files cannot be overstated.
- Even if your conviction has no immigration penalty, you will be denied any immigration benefit unless you provide the immigration agency a certified copy of your start-to-finish criminal records.
- For obvious reasons an immigration lawyer needs to see these records first. Before you turn over your criminal records to immigration, please CONTACT US. We can help you understand any consequences, and how you can protect yourself.