If you are a documented or undocumented non-citizen living in the United States, criminal charges can have severe consequences, including deportation.
While facing deportation can be a daunting and stressful experience, there are still strategies available to defend yourself even with criminal charges on your record.
Understanding the risks
Under U.S. immigration law, non-citizens can face deportation for criminal convictions. The law considers certain offenses as aggravated felonies, crimes of moral turpitude or drug offenses, each of which can trigger deportation proceedings. Even a relatively minor offense can have serious immigration consequences.
Protecting your rights
Some possible strategies to protect yourself from deportation include:
- Negotiating a plea bargain: Negotiating with the prosecutor for reduced charges or alternative dispositions can help you avoid a conviction that could trigger deportation.
- Contesting the charges: Fighting the charges and seeking an acquittal or dismissal could minimize the risk of deportation.
- Seeking asylum: If you qualify as a refugee, you may receive asylum based on your inability to return to your home country due to fear of persecution.
- Pursuing adjustment of status: You may be able to change your immigration status while living in the United States through a petition by a spouse, immediate family member or employer.
These are just a few of the strategies available that could help you from being deported. It is important to consider your options and choose the best strategy for your circumstance.
Appealing a decision
If your deportation defense strategy is successful, there is no need to consider an appeal. However, if you lose your case, you have the legal right to file an administrative appeal. If the Board of Immigration Appeals rules against you, you may be still able to appeal to the federal court.
It is true that non-citizens facing criminal charges in the United States are at risk of deportation. However, with the right defensive strategy, you can protect your rights and may be able to remain in the country.