Non-Citizens and Criminal Cases

Many visa holders and permanent residents  do not realize that a criminal charge can lead to losing legal status in the United States. It is true that even Protection From Abuse violations and some misdemeanors can lead to deportation. It is extremely important that a non-citizen facing criminal charges educate themselves about the immigration consequences of the criminal charge.

Prior to March 2010, criminal defense attorneys were not required to inform a criminal defendant of the immigration consequences of a plea. In March 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Padilla v. Kentucky, which now requires all criminal defense attorneys to tell their clients the immigration consequences of a plea.

Given the recent change in the law, many criminal defense attorneys know very little about immigration. Additionally, immigration law changes fairly regularly. An experienced immigration attorney should be able to tell you whether a plea will definitely result in deportation, whether the plea will definitely not result in deportation, or whether the case is unclear under the law. There are many serious misdemeanor charges and non-violent felony charges for which there is presently no clear answer as to whether deportation will occur.

An experienced immigration attorney can also suggest a plea bargain that will avoid deportation. Sometimes, a minor change in the length of probation may be the difference between staying in the country and being deported.

I have had too many cases where a non-citizen has told me that their defense attorney did not tell them that they would be deported for pleading guilty to a crime. A non-citizen facing charges should ask their criminal defense attorney about the attorney’s training and experience in immigration. If the attorney does not have significant training, get a second opinion.

Undoing a guilty plea is a difficult task. It is better to understand everything in advance.

I am happy to advise you as to the immigration consequences of a guilty plea, and am also experienced in withdrawing guilty pleas.  Please contact Prince Law Offices for a consultation.

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