Whether you are a citizen of the United States at the time you are charged with or convicted of a criminal offense, can be critical in determining if you will be faced with the collateral sentencing consequences of deportation; the denial of a green card extension; or, the potential for permanent exclusion from the United States. This sentencing consequence is the result of certain types of criminal conduct being labeled as an 'Aggravated Felony', a 'Crime Involving Moral Turpitude', or one of several other types of conduct that the federal government uses to restrict your ability to stay in the United States.
Obviously, the single most important consideration in deciding whether to accept a plea offer to resolve a criminal charge is whether a jail sentence is going to be imposed by the Court. For a non-citizen client, understanding how the criminal conduct they are charged with will impact their immigration issues, is often the second most important factor. Unfortunately, this is not the only consequence, as all of the direct and collateral sentencing consequences listed in our articles on these issues would apply, and must be considered in a discussion with an experienced criminal defense lawyer like those at Bailey & Orozco.
Discussing and understanding how to minimize these immigration consequences must occur before the conviction is finalized at sentencing. Trying to undo the effects of this collateral sentencing consequence after the sentence has been imposed, will result in large legal costs; and, often is unsuccessful as a basis to appeal or change the impact by post-conviction proceedings. Among the details that impact this consequence, you must discuss with your criminal defense lawyer:
- When you entered the United States.
- Whether the documents you used to enter the country were real or false.
- Whether you are here legally at this time. If you have overstayed, how long have you overstayed.
- When your permit to be in the country did, or will expire.
- Prior criminal charges, or other pending criminal charges here in the United States.
- The country in which you are a citizen, and whether you have any criminal matters pending there.
- Whether a basis exists for you to claim asylum, either as an affirmative claim or as a defensive claim.
- The immigration status of your immediate family (wife and children)
A criminal defense lawyer like those at Bailey & Orozco can assist you in understanding how to defend yourself from the criminal charges; and, we can work with you to develop a basis for a sentencing judge to impose the minimum sentence. It is critical, that when deportation is one of the consequences you are facing, that this consequence in particular; and, each of the other sentencing consequences that apply to your case be examined at the start of the representation, not just before you are about to be sentenced.