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Criminal Charges Can Threaten Your Immigration Status

Theft, drunk driving and domestic assault may not be considered serious crimes. But they are taken very seriously by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). Minor criminal offenses can become a major problem for immigrants. A conviction can lead to deportation proceedings and removal from the United States.

Many immigrants do not realize the immigration consequences of criminal charges or make the mistake of pleading guilty to a deportable crime. Our immigration attorneys at KB Law PLLC have experience with these “crimmigration” cases. We can defend you in immigration court to fight for your right to remain in the United States.

Do not wait! Get help today.

Are you or your family member a noncitizen accused of a crime? Call KB Law PLLC immediately at 612-474-5649. We practice in Minneapolis and the west metro area.

You Need A “Crimmigration” Lawyer

Bad things happen when criminal law overlaps with immigration law.

  • A criminal charge that would be a misdemeanor for a U.S. citizen may be considered a deportable crime for a noncitizen.
  • You could be moved from a local jail to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention facility, perhaps far from home.
  • The same immigration system that moves so slowly when immigrants want to enter this country can move very fast to deport them.

These situations are scary and stressful. We may be able to help you navigate these challenges with our deportation defense services. We will advise you (and your defense attorney) on how your immigration status would be impacted with a conviction or guilty plea. We will help you assert your constitutional rights and defenses. In some cases, we can reopen an old conviction or guilty plea if you were not advised that it could get you deported. In other cases, we may be able to secure an immigration waiver to cancel an order for removal.

What Crimes Are Deportable Offenses?

Major crimes like robbery, rape or drug trafficking trigger automatic removal and a permanent bar from the United States. However, many lesser offenses can also result in deportation, such as:

  • Driving while intoxicated (DWI)
  • Drug possession
  • Domestic violence or assault charges
  • Shoplifting, theft or burglary
  • Fraud or identity theft
  • Fake ID or fake immigration documents
  • Tax evasion
  • Multiple convictions for minor crimes

It is critical for immigrants to know where they stand if they are arrested for any crime. Our lawyers can determine if your immigration status is in danger and, if so, what steps you should take.

Do You Qualify For An Immigration Bond?

When a noncitizen is detained by ICE for potential removal from the United States, they may sit in jail for many weeks or months before their immigration case is called. This is an anxious time for immigrants and their loved ones, fearful that their families will be torn apart.

We will request an immigration bond hearing to get the person released from ICE custody while their case is pending. (Some crimes are not eligible for bond.) The immigration bond is a promise to appear at a future court date. Meanwhile, our legal team will pursue waivers and defense strategies to prevent deportation if at all possible or allow the deportee to reenter the U.S. in the future.

Does my criminal charge make me removable?

Under federal law, the following criminal offenses could lead to removal proceedings:

  • Charges that contain deceit, fraud, criminal intent, reckless disregard to safety, or charges defined as morally reprehensible by state statutes. These are also known as crimes of moral turpitude.
  • Drug charges other than simple possession of up to 30 grams of marijuana.
  • Charges related to domestic violence, including stalking.
  • Charges involving crimes against children.
  • Charges involving the unlawful use of a firearm.
  • Aggravated felony charges.

Even if the state charges you with a removable offense, you might still have the option of accepting a plea bargain for a lesser charge.

What sentence should I ask for?

If charged with a crime that could trigger deportation, your best option is often to plead guilty to a lesser charge that does not make you eligible for removal. It is crucial that you do not attempt to negotiate a plea bargain without the assistance of an attorney who has experience with immigration law and criminal defense.

What crime can I plead to that doesn’t involve moral turpitude?

Many crimes involving moral turpitude are divisible, meaning the court can choose to charge them in more than one way. The following are a few of the most common charges that courts choose not to charge as crimes of moral turpitude:

  • First-time charges of driving under the influence
  • Assault
  • False imprisonment
  • Possession of marijuana
  • Child endangerment
  • Involuntary manslaughter

You have a spectrum of options when it comes to pleading to a lesser charge. The most important thing, however, is to have an attorney to uphold your rights and help you make wise decisions.

What crime can I plead to that doesn’t constitute an aggravated felony for immigration purposes?

Crimes that are aggravated felonies include:

  • Murder
  • Rape
  • Sexual abuse of a minor
  • Drug trafficking

Don’t Let A Criminal Matter Shatter Your American Dream

Find out how we at KB Law PLLC can help you. Arrange a free consultation with our caring and capable lawyers by calling our Minnetonka office at 612-474-5649, or reach out by email.

Members of our legal team speak several languages, including Spanish, Somalian, Swahili, Romanian, Turkish and Russian.