Criminal convictions can have very serious, long term consequences for US immigrants. While many criminal convictions can make someone ineligible to apply for work visas or a green card, immigrants who are already in the United States and convicted of a crime may face deportation and may be barred from re-entering the United States for years.
Because of these serious potential consequences, if you or a loved one are facing a criminal conviction, it’s important that you or your loved one’s rights are protected. An experienced immigration lawyer can help.
How Decisions Are Made for Immigration Consequences of Criminal Convictions
Some people do not have a right to a hearing before an immigration judge and can be ordered for removal from the country by immigration enforcement officers. However, most immigrants have the right to a legal hearing before an immigration judge. The right to a hearing before an immigration judge is determined by the category of crime that an immigrant is convicted of.
These crime categories each have their own related immigration consequences. These crime categories include:
- Aggravated Felonies
- Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude (CIMT)
- Controlled Substance Offenses
- Crimes Against Children
- Crime of Domestic Violence
- Firearm Offense
- Prostitution and commercialized vice
In situations where an immigrant’s case can be decided by an immigration judge, the immigration judge can rule to protect the person accused of a crime from being removed from the country.
Different types of crimes result in different consequences, with some types of crimes being more serious than others.
Immigration Consequences of Multiple Convictions or Lengthy Prison Sentences
While there are different types of crimes that have their own immigration consequences, repeat offenders can face additional immigration limitations. Being convicted of two or more crimes that come with a total prison sentence of 5 years can prevent a convicted immigrant from becoming a US citizen for up to 5 years.
Similarly, two convictions for any gambling related crimes can also prevent noncitizens from becoming a US citizen for 5 years.
Serving time in prison for any amount of time beyond 180 days can also ban someone from becoming a US citizen for 5 years. The 180 days in prison do not need to be served all at once for a single crime for this ban on citizenship to take effect. For example, serving 30 days in jail for one crime then 150 days in jail for a separate crime would disqualify someone from being able to become a US citizen for 5 years after their release.
Aggravated Felony Immigration Consequences
What is an aggravated felony? Aggravated felonies are a category for certain crimes that result in certain immigration consequences. Some crimes can be both an aggravated felony as well as another type of crime with its own immigration consequences. For example, drug trafficking crimes could be both an aggravated felony and a controlled substance offense. If convicted of an aggravated felony, an immigrant may face a prison sentence and deportation. Those convicted of an aggravated felony can also face a 20 year prison sentence if they enter the US illegally.
Crimes that are considered aggravated felonies include, but may not be limited to:
- Sexual abuse of a minor (including statutory rape)
- Drug trafficking
- Firearms trafficking
- Other firearm related crimes
- Money laundering exceeding $10,000
- Fraud or tax evasion exceeding $10,000
- Theft with a jail sentence of at least 1 year
- Violent crimes with a jail sentence of at least 1 year
- Perjury with a jail sentence of at least 1 year
- Child porn
- Human trafficking (including prostitution)
- Spying, Sabotage or Treason
- Vehicle trafficking
- Failure to appear in court for a felony charge with a 2 year prison sentence
- Obstruction of justice or bribery of a witness with a jail sentence of at least 1 year
What Can Happen From an Aggravated Felony Conviction?
An immigrant who is convicted of an aggravated felony could face one or more of the following immigration consequences:
- The convicted immigrant cannot enter the US without first being pardoned or paroled
- Removal orders for the convicted immigrant cannot be cancelled unless the Attorney General provides his or her’s specific consent
- The convicted immigrant cannot receive asylum in the US. There is an exception to this depending on the situation in the immigrant’s country of origin
- The convicted immigrant cannot become a US citizen
In addition to the above immigration consequences, any immigrant convicted of an aggravated felony may be required to serve a prison sentence appropriate for the crime they’ve committed. After serving the prison sentence for the crime, the immigrant may face expedited removal, which can result in deportation immediately after their release from prison.
Accused of an Aggravated Felony? Protect Your Rights
Being convicted or pleading guilty to an aggravated felony can have serious, long term effects on someone’s immigration status. Because of this, it’s very important that those accused of an aggravated felony protect their rights.
Contact us today for an initial consultation.
Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude (CIMT) Immigration Consequences
Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude are a separate category for crimes that carry their own unique immigration and criminal consequences. While there isn’t a definitive list of what crimes are considered Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude, courts have defined Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude as “conduct that shocks the public conscience.” Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude have also been defined as immoral acts.
Immigration judges can consider several factors to decide if a noncitizen charged with a crime should be convicted of a Crime Involving Moral Turpitude. Some examples of crimes that may be considered Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude may include, but are certainly not limited to:
- Assaulting a child or police officer
- Aggravated manslaughter in the 1st or 2nd degree
- 4th degree aggravated sexual abuse
- Petit larceny
- Grand larceny
- 1st degree & 2nd degree perjury
It is very important to note that a conviction for any of the above crimes is likely to be considered a Crime Involving Moral Turpitude. However, evidence such as police reports and testimony, among other things, may result in a conviction not being considered a Crime Involving Moral Turpitude.
What Can Happen From a Conviction for Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude?
Those without US citizenship may face deportation or may be refused entry to the United States if convicted of a Crime Involving Moral Turpitude. However, this is not always the case.
Any of the following conditions may make someone subject to deportation from a conviction of a Crime Involving Moral Turpitude:
- Two or more convictions of Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude
- A single conviction of a Crime Involving Moral Turpitude within 5 years of entering the US that results in a sentence greater than 1 year.
Undocumented immigrants may be subject to harsher immigration consequences if convicted of a Crime Involving Moral Turpitude.
Being Convicted of a Crime Involving Moral Turpitude Can Have Serious Consequences. Protect Your Rights
A conviction of a Crime Involving Moral Turpitude can have long term effects on you or a loved one’s immigration status. In some cases, this type of conviction can make it nearly impossible to enter or remain in the U.S.
To schedule an initial consultation, contact us today.
Immigration Consequences of Controlled Substance Offenses
Being convicted of Controlled Substance Offenses could result in deportation or being inadmissible to the United States. Controlled Substance Offenses include drug related crimes, such as:
- Drug possession crimes
- Drug trafficking crimes
In some cases, a Controlled Substance Offense conviction may also be considered an aggravated felony or Crime Involving Moral Turpitude. This means that Controlled Substance Offenses may result in immigration consequences associated with aggravated felony or Crime Involving Moral Turpitude convictions.
What Can Happen if Convicted of a Controlled Substance Offense?
Some possible immigration consequences of a Controlled Substance Offense may include, but are not necessarily limited to:
- Mandatory deportation
- Mandatory prison sentence
- Being ineligible for legal residency in the US
- Loss of asylum status
- Short term or long term bans on obtaining US citizenship
What Controlled Substance Offenses May Result in Deportation?
A conviction for possession or trafficking of any drug that is illegal according to federal law carries the risk of deportation. This includes paraphernalia convictions. However, first time offenses for simple possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana for personal use may be the only exception for controlled substance offenses that are subject to deportation.
Controlled Substance Offenses Can Have Serious Immigration Consequences. Protect Your Rights
Being convicted of a controlled substance offense can cause problems that don’t go away after a prison sentence has been served. Controlled substance offense convictions can force you or a loved one to leave the United States. In some cases, people who’ve been convicted of a controlled substance offense may be banned from becoming a US citizen.
Everybody makes mistakes. A dedicated, experienced immigration lawyer knows the law and can helped hundreds of clients with their unique case. To schedule an initial consultation…
Immigration Consequences of Crimes Against Children
Crimes against children is a category of crimes that involve child abandonment, child neglect or child abuse. In addition to potentially having to serve a prison sentence if convicted of a crime against a child, there may be long term immigration consequences that can make it extremely difficult to continue to pursue your professional and personal plans in the United States.
What Are Crimes Against Children?
There are no specific laws that define specific crimes as crimes against children. Rather, certain crimes that are committed against children are associated as crimes against children and come with their own unique consequences.
Examples of crimes that may be considered crimes against children when the victim is less than 18 years old include, but are not limited to:
- Reckless endangerment
- Obstruction of breathing
- Unlawful imprisonment
- Endangering the Welfare of a Child
- Domestic violence (such as physical or sexual child abuse)
What Can Happen if Convicted of Crimes Against Children?
If someone who is not a US citizen is convicted of a Crime Against a Child, the convicted person could be deported and be forced to leave the United States. Additionally, some Crimes Against Children may also be considered another type of crime as well, resulting in additional immigration consequences. For example, assaulting a child may be considered both a Crime Against a Child and a Crime Involving Moral Turpitude, resulting in immigration consequences associated with both types of crimes.
Immigration Consequences of Firearms Offenses
Firearms offenses are crimes that relate to certain types of weapons, such as guns or explosives. Some firearms offenses are also aggravated felonies. Firearms offenses that are also aggravated felonies can have additional immigration and criminal consequences associated with aggravated felonies.
What Crimes Are Firearms Offenses?
Firearms offenses include, but are not necessarily limited to:
- Buying illegal firearms (such as guns)
- Selling illegal firearms
- Trading illegal firearms
- Unlawful gun possession (such as having an unlicensed firearm, having a firearm that was purchased illegally or having a firearm that’s not legal to possess in the United States [such as fully-automatic assault rifles]
What Can Happen if Convicted of a Firearms Offense?
If a noncitizen is convicted of a firearms offense, there are several possible immigration consequences. Depending on the type of firearm offense, a noncitizen may be deported from the United States.
Additionally, if a firearms offense also is considered a Crime Involving Moral Turpitude, a noncitizen may be considered inadmissible to the United States. If a noncitizen is labeled as inadmissible, they are unable to enter the United States.
Firearms Offenses Have Serious Consequences. Talk To A Lawyer Today
Someone who is convicted of a firearm offense may be deported from the United States and could be restricted from being able to return to the country.
To protect your rights and your future, contact to schedule an initial consultation.
Immigration Consequences for Prostitution and Commercialized Vice
Prostitution and commercialized vice crimes include crimes where sexual acts are exchanged for payment. These types of convictions can target the person offering sex for payment (prostitutes) or the person who is paying for sex (sometimes informally known as “johns”).
What Can Happen if Convicted of Prostitution or Commercialized Vice Crimes?
If convicted of a prostitution or commercialized vice crime, a noncitizen may become inadmissible to the United States. This inadmissibility status can ban the noncitizen from entering the United States.
Immigration Consequences of a Criminal Conviction Can Last Longer Than a Jail Sentence. Contact Us
Regardless of the category of a crime that a noncitizen faces, the punishments can be very harsh. This is especially true because many of the above categories can overlap, resulting in multiple problems for you someone’s immigration status.
A criminal conviction can bring jail time, but the consequences don’t stop once a sentence is served. If someone is convicted of a crime and they’re not a US citizen, they could face deportation and be banned from entering the US. Because of this, it’s very important to know everything that could happen from a guilty plea.
Protect your rights, protect your future—contact for an initial consultation.
There Could Still Be A Way. Contact An Experienced Immigration Lawyer For Help
When facing complex immigration problems, it’s critical that you or your loved one fully understand the potential consequences of your decisions. To help prevent lengthy delays for your plans, contact an experienced immigration lawyer for an initial consultation. We'll take the time to get to know the specifics of your case, and provide meaningful guidance on what to do next.