Criminal Law and Immigration
Anyone who is not a U.S. citizen of the United States must be very careful before pleading guilty to a crime. Some criminal convictions can result in the removal or deportation of an immigrant who is not a U.S. citizen, even someone who is living legally in the United States as a Lawful Permanent Resident. In order to understand the immigration consequences of a criminal conviction, it is necessary to first understand what a criminal conviction is.
A criminal conviction is a formal judgment of guilt of the non-citizen entered by a court, or if adjudication of guilt or when a judge or jury has found the non –citizen guilty. Or the non – citizen has entered a plea of guilty or no contest or has admitted sufficient facts to warrant a finding of guilt, AND the judge has ordered some form of punishment, penalty, or restraint on the non-citizen liberty to be imposed. Even if you plead guilty and undergo court–ordered drug treatment or domestic violence counseling as an alternative to incarceration, this is still a criminal conviction as far as the Immigration courts are concerned.
Criminal convictions that will most likely result in deportation are convictions for Aggravated Felonies. Criminal Convictions for the following Aggravated Felonies will likely result in Deportation of a non-U.S. citizen from the United States:
The list above is not exhaustive. Criminal convictions for violations of the Pennsylvania Controlled Substance Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act will also result in deportation of the non–citizen unless the violation is for Possession of a Small Amount of Marijuana (30grams or less).
In addition, the non–citizen may be deported for a criminal conviction of Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude. A crime involving moral turpitude is a crime committed within 5 years of admission into the United States and for which a sentence of 1 year or longer may be imposed. There are also other criminal convictions which can result in deportation, even when the sentence imposed is less than a year, such as crimes of Domestic Violence, Child Abuse and Violations of Protection from Abuse orders.
For the non–citizen a criminal conviction can mean removal from the United States. If you are charged with a crime and you are NOT a United States citizen then you should contact Chester County attorney John P. Winicov. Unlike other criminal defense lawyers, Mr. Winicov knows what immigration consequences may result from certain criminal convictions.