When someone is convicted of a crime, they experience both direct and collateral consequences. The direct consequences may be a fine or jail time, but the collateral consequences in some cases are arguably worse. If you are a non-citizen and are convicted of certain crimes, one of the collateral consequences may be that you become deportable under U.S. law. Having an attorney on your side who understands this is crucial if you want to avoid potentially avoidable life-changing events.
Two Types Of Deportable Offenses
Many people believe that receiving a U.S. visa or a long-term status like permanent resident essentially gives someone a free pass - that once they have achieved that status, it cannot be taken away. In reality, a visa holder or a green card holder can have their status revoked if they are convicted of certain crimes. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will take the conviction as proof that they are either a danger to the community, or have exhibited such poor moral character that they cannot be considered an asset to the country.
There are two types of criminal convictions that can render you either deportable or inadmissible (that is, your entry into the country was retroactively deemed invalid). The first category is called crimes of moral turpitude. Moral turpitude is a legal concept that has no real precise definition but is generally described as “an act of baseness, vileness, or depravity” that would shock the conscience of the public with its outrageousness. The second type of conviction is called an aggravated felony, which tends to encompass most violent crimes - but keep in mind that the offense you are convicted of does not actually have to be aggravated, nor a felony under criminal law, to qualify as deportable....