Anyone accused of committing a criminal violation is going to need to deal with the criminal justice system. But immigrants in America will encounter unique and additional troubles after being connected to or implicated in a crime. Beyond other sentencing methods, like jail time and fines, a conviction can lead to problems with an immigrant’s ability to legally stay within, or enter, the United States. If you are an immigrant and have found yourself in a similar situation, understanding what can happen is the first step in stopping it from happening.
The following processes could occur or begin due to a criminal conviction:
- Deportation: Perhaps the most dramatic of immigration-related consequences, the deportation or removal process could be initiated as part of sentencing, ultimately sending an immigrant back to his or her country of origin. An immigrant’s visas or green card are likely to also be revoked or suspended.
- Exclusion: If an immigrant has been convicted of a crime, leaves the country, and attempts to reenter, he or she may find that an immigration judge has ruled to exclude them; this is often called “denied entry” in legal forums. An immigrant that has been excluded can get more or less stuck in customs, with or without a green card or visa, until the matter is sorted or he or she exits to another country.
- Denial of naturalization: Immigrants in the process of naturalization can have that process halted temporarily while undergoing a criminal investigation. If convicted, naturalization may be stopped permanently.
While the aforementioned three immigration-related consequences are usually saved for serious crimes, the decision is ultimately up to an immigration judge. Depending on a person’s criminal record, personal life, and the implications of the crime in question, any sort of conviction – felony or misdemeanor, federal or state – could impact immigration status.
Criminal Defense Immigrants Can Depend On
If you are an immigrant who has been charged with a criminal violation, the first step to protecting your right to stay within the United States is finding a strong criminal defense attorney. Northampton Criminal Defense Attorney Jesse Adams of The Law Offices of Jesse Adams is a true career defense attorney with more than a decade of courtroom experience paired with impressive case results. If you live in Massachusetts and need help right away with a criminal case, do not hesitate to contact our law firm to set up a free consultation.