Connecticut Criminal Charges Affecting Immigration Status
Federal law provides that every type of immigrant, even those granted green cards, will be subject to deportation for engaging in a wide array of criminal conduct. It is important for any individual arrested for criminal conduct to secure aggressive representation. If you are facing Connecticut criminal charges affecting immigration status, there is no room for delay in mounting a vigorous defense to deportation.
How Can Criminal Offenses Effect Immigration Status?
Non-citizens face the risk of deportation if they have been convicted of an aggravated felony or a crime of “moral turpitude.” Because the true meaning of these phrases may not be known to everyone, it is wise for all immigrants to familiarize themselves with the relevant definitions of crimes that can risk the initiation of deportation proceedings.
Though no single definition of a crime of moral turpitude exists for immigration purposes, the State Department has suggested that such offenses are often characterized by larceny, fraud or an intent to cause harm to other people or property. As such, typical moral turpitude crimes in the immigration context include:
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Weapons violations
- Drug possession
- Domestic violence
- Interfering with an arrest
Can I Be Deported If I am Arrested for A Crime?
Yes. Any time a person is arrested for a crime of moral turpitude, they risk deportation. It should be noted that two routes exist for individuals to be deported for committing an offense involving moral turpitude. The first comes into play when the crime is committed during the first five years of an individual’s admission to the U.S.
The second is triggered if an individual commits two more offenses in this category that were not part of the same scheme of misconduct at any time following admission to the country. By arguing that neither of these conditions were present in a given case, it may be possible to prevent a deportation proceeding from moving forward.
Can I Defend Deportation for Moral Turpitude Crimes?
Yes. Despite an arrest, there are defenses that can be made to fight deportation for crimes of moral turpitude. It is always a defense that a crime allegedly committed is not a crime of moral turpitude, making it sometimes possible to sidestep most serious immigration consequences. A “petty offense” exception may be granted if the penalty for such a crime was less than a year of incarceration and the convicted individual served no more than six months.
Offenses in this classification might include simple assault, shoplifting, or DUI that did not result in harm to others.
Are Aggravated Felonies Deportable?
In cases involving an aggravated felony, immigrants are likely to face a steep uphill battle when attempting to avoid deportation. Crimes assigned to this category for purposes of immigration enforcement are numerous, and encompass offenses such as:
- Trafficking of controlled substances
- Sexual assault of a minor
- Tax evasion involving an amount greater than $10,000
- Money laundering of more than $10,000
- Firearms trafficking
- Perjury resulting in a sentence of over one year
- Violent crimes producing sentences of more than a year
- Certain instances of obstruction of justice and witness bribery
There are a number of other criminal offenses which also serve as grounds for deportation, including illegal possession of firearms, terrorist activity, espionage, stalking, and abuse or neglect of children.
What Are the Long-Term Implications of Criminal Convictions for Immigrants?
While conviction for the crimes described above can result in the initiation of deportation/removal proceedings for those already in the country, there are also risks for non-citizens. Those who are convicted of such an offense and who leave the country and eventually attempt to return may find that they face a tough battle when it comes to being readmitted. The financial, familial and emotional consequences of deportation can be profoundly damaging to entire families, and that is why effective legal counsel is vital in all such situations.
Contact an Experienced Attorney Today to Protect Your Immigration Status
An unfavorable outcome in a deportation hearing or appeal can cause lasting harm by separating families and undermining financial as well as emotional support systems.
Though the prospect of any removal proceeding is always frightening, it pays to fully understand the types of Connecticut criminal charges affecting immigration status and how a skilled attorney can help secure your right to stay in the United States.