For non-citizens, criminal charges can result in number of immigration consequences, particularly if it results in a conviction Convictions for even minor criminal offenses can not only jeopardize your own immigration status but that of your family.
Because immigration consequences can often be much more severe than criminal penalties, it is important to consult with an experienced criminal attorney to determine your best options.
A seasoned immigration attorney can explain how a criminal charge or conviction can impact your immigration status, build the best defense, and fight to minimize the likelihood and consequences of a conviction. To learn more about Ft. Lauderdale criminal charges affecting immigration status speak with an attorney today.
Immigration Consequences of Criminal Conduct
The ways in which Ft. Lauderdale criminal charges affecting immigration status depend on the type of offense and the person’s specific immigration status.
There are three primary ways a criminal conviction can impact a non-citizen’s immigration status are deportability, inadmissibility, and eligibility for citizenship.
A criminal conviction can also make a non-citizen ineligible for certain forms of relief and the ability to obtain certain immigration benefits.
The commission of certain crimes can serve as grounds for inadmissibility, which prevent a person from gaining admission to the U.S. or a lawful permanent resident (LPR) from reentering the country. Criminal convictions can also make a non-citizen deportable, which could result in his or her removal from the U.S. Deportability applies to lawfully admitted non-citizens, such as an LPR.
One of the requirements for naturalization (citizenship) is good moral character. Applicants must show good moral character for the five-year period immediately preceding their application for citizenship. A conviction for a disqualifying offense can preclude a finding of good moral character, making the person temporarily or permanently ineligible for citizenship.
Which Criminal Offenses Can Impact Immigration Status?
When it comes to immigration enforcement efforts, the DHS prioritizes non-citizens who have been accused of or convicted of a crime. Below are the types of offenses that can serve as grounds for inadmissibility and/or deportability:
- Crimes involving moral turpitude – vaguely defined as a depraved or immoral act, violation of the basic duties owed to fellow man, or a reprehensible act with at least reckless intent
- Aggravated felonies (e.g. homicide, sexual battery, drug trafficking)
- Controlled substance offense – This includes any drug offense, with the exception of a simple possession offense of 30 grams or less of marijuana.
- Domestic violence conviction (e.g. domestic violence battery, stalking, child abuse, violation of a no contact order)
- Firearm or destructive device conviction
- Convicted of two or more offenses
Criminal grounds of deportability and inadmissibility may or may not require a conviction. Under 8 U.S.C. § 1101, the term conviction means:
A formal judgment of guilt entered by a court or if adjudication of guilty has been withheld, and a judge or jury has found the non-citizen guilty or the non-citizen has pleaded guilty or nolo contendere or the non-citizen has admitted sufficient facts to warrant a finding of guilty and the judge has ordered some form of punishment, penalty, or restraint on the non-citizen’s liberty.
Work with a Ft. Lauderdale Criminal Lawyer Today
If you are a non-citizen facing criminal charges, an attorney can help. An experienced immigration lawyer has the resources, experience, and knowledge to defend you against criminal charges and advocate for the best outcome possible in your case. Contact an attorney today to learn more about Ft. Lauderdale criminal charges affecting immigration status.