Criminal Law and Immigration Consequences in Connecticut
Normally, when a person is convicted of a criminal offense, they serve their sentence and that is that. However, if a non-U.S. citizen is convicted of a criminal offense in Connecticut, they may face far more severe consequences than fines or a period in jail. Criminal convictions for immigrants can be very severe, with the most extreme being deportation. If you are facing criminal charges in Connecticut, you need an attorney who understands the potential consequences.
Two Types of Crimes
U.S. immigration law recognizes two types of crimes. A crime involving moral turpitude (CIMT) is not something that one will find in a law book; it is a sort of catch-all title designed to categorize any crime that is said to have a component involving ‘moral turpitude’ like dishonesty or fraud. An aggravated felony is another category title that is used for crimes of violence or nonviolent crimes like money laundering or obstruction of justice on a grand scale. That said, it can be very difficult to determine whether the crime you have been convicted of fits either of these categories.
Not every crime falls under one of these categories - there is a petty offense exception, which can remove the possibility of deportation from a CIMT conviction if you can show that your offense was “petty” - that is, that its maximum penalty was one year or less, and that you personally were sentenced to six months or less. It does not necessarily follow that a misdemeanor will be a petty offense and a felony will not - the amount of time at issue is the crucial criterion. However, any conviction that is not for a petty offense will trigger serious immigration consequences.
Deportation and Permanent Bars
If you are convicted of an aggravated felony or of more than one CIMT, you will face immigration consequences, starting with deportation. In addition, you may be barred from re-entering the country for a period of years - depending on the nature of your alleged crime, you may be barred for anywhere between three and 20 years. In extreme situations, you may be permanently barred from the United States, though the permanent bar is most often reserved for those with repeated immigration violations.
All of this information should be common knowledge to the person who is assisting you with your criminal case, because very often, an attorney who does not know better will take a plea-bargain, thinking they are assisting their client when in reality they are admitting to deportable offenses. Your attorney should have all the information they need to be able to properly represent you and ensure that both your criminal and immigration needs are met.
Can a Stamford Attorney Help You?
It is not a good idea for a criminal defense attorney to handle your immigration case - but you do need your skilled Stamford criminal defense attorney to understand the interplay between the two. The Law Offices of Daniel P. Weiner has handled cases for non-U.S. citizens before and Attorney Weiner is ready to try and assist you with yours. Contact our offices today at 203-348-5846 for a free consultation.