“Crimmigration” is sometimes used as shorthand for legal matters that involve both immigration and criminal law. When a non-citizen is charged with a crime, he or she can face a number of different consequences, including deportation. In these circumstances, it is a good idea for non-citizens to consult with an attorney that has both criminal law and immigration experience.
Who Might Need a Crimmigration Attorney?
While criminal law and immigration law are two separate disciplines, there is an important intersection between the two. A person who has been accused of a crime while in the U.S. on a visa or as an undocumented immigrant may have to consult with two lawyers—one for criminal defense and one for immigration matters. An attorney who regularly handles both types of cases can be most helpful to non-citizen defendants.
Here are just a few reasons non-citizens may need a crimmigration attorney:
- Arrest on suspicion of a crime. An undocumented immigrant may be arrested on very little evidence simply because he or she is not aware of proper police procedure. Just because a non-citizen is arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI), drug charges, theft, assault, or other felony does not automatically mean he or she can be deported. An attorney can explain your rights, evidence requirements, police actions, and provide answers to your legal questions.
- Pleading guilty. Some non-citizens are pressured to plead guilty to crimes they have not committed, even though they can be deported as a result. An attorney who handles criminal and immigration cases can challenge a plea agreement if the defendant was not aware of the consequences of pleading guilty, and can also prevent a deportation action based on the plea agreement.
- Removal defense appearances. Many non-citizens will make the mistake of appearing alone in court after they have received a Notice to Appear (NTA) document. If you have been asked to appear in immigration court due to a criminal offense, it is vital that you are aware of the consequences of a conviction. An attorney can examine the charges against you and help you build a strong deportation defense.
- Preserving immigration status. Criminal charges can affect a non-citizen’s ability to stay in the country, but can also impact his or her pending U.S. citizenship. An attorney should examine criminal charges carefully to judge how a non-citizen’s future in the U.S. will be affected.
- Avoiding criminal history. A non-citizen who has been charged with a crime may have limited options when it comes to visa renewal, adjustment of status, or naturalization. An attorney can explain the legal options when applying for adjustment of status with a criminal history.
Our Legal Team Can Help With All Criminal and Immigration Matters
Both criminal charges and immigration actions are complex areas of law, and a charge that involves both makes a case even more complex. You should not have to go into court alone—especially if you are not well-informed of your legal rights. We offer free case evaluations to assist non-citizens in criminal deportation proceedings, and can stand by your side if you have been asked to appear in court.
Our attorneys and paralegals have over 100 years of combined legal experience, and can advise non-citizens of their options in a variety of languages, including English, Spanish, Russian, Ukrainian, Korean, Cambodian, Hindi, and Gujarati. Call us today for a free evaluation of your case, or fill out our online contact form to have one of our associates get in touch with you.