Immigration Consequences of Criminal Convictions in Connecticut
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.
Your Criminal Defense Attorney Must Know What to Do
If you are facing charges for an offense that is either a crime of moral turpitude or an aggravated felony, by far the most important person to talk to about it is your criminal defense attorney. Obviously, a criminal defense attorney is the best person to talk to about criminal charges, but it is imperative to make sure that they know about the potential immigration consequences of a conviction or a plea-bargain. Very often, an attorney will have a defendant plead to a lesser offense, but they may not be aware that the lesser offense is also a crime of moral turpitude or aggravated felony.
In extreme circumstances, a criminal conviction for an aggravated felony can trigger a permanent bar to admissibility for you, meaning that you are permanently prevented from returning to the United States unless you obtain a waiver, which is extremely difficult to do given that the standard of evidence is the highest possible. An immigration attorney can only do so much if your criminal defense attorney allows you to plead guilty or loses your case - ensure that your criminal case is in the best hands possible.
Call a Fairfield Criminal Defense Attorney Today
If you are a non-citizen facing criminal charges, you need a skilled Stamford criminal defense attorney on your side who understands the potential immigration consequences and who can work with your immigration attorney to ensure that everyone is on the same proverbial page. Attorney Daniel P. Weiner has been handling criminal defense cases for many years and will make sure that you are as well protected as possible as you navigate the legal process. Call the Law Offices of Daniel P. Weiner today at 203-348-5846 for a free consultation.