For those in the United States without the status of citizen, whether by birth or by naturalization, the threat of deportation is always there. This applies whether you have legal status in the country or are here as an undocumented immigrant. All too often, foreign nationals are reluctant to admit their status in the U.S., particularly if it is less than legal. While that may be a necessary protective measure when dealing with the majority of the population, the one person you do not want to lie to about your immigration status to is your criminal defense attorney.
A Criminal Conviction Can Lead to Deportation
Being arrested and charged with a criminal offense is a frightening enough experience if it occurs in your own country. If you are a foreign national, the entire experience is likely terrifying. Because of how arrests are handled in other countries, a foreign national is often tempted to take the quickest option that offers a resolution. Usually, that means accepting a guilty plea agreement. Although that guilty plea agreement may not require you to spend any additional time in jail, it may seal your fate where your immigration status is concerned. The following is a brief list of some of the most common offenses for which you may be deported:
- Aggravated Felonies
- Drug trafficking (including possession with intent to distribute)
- Money laundering involving over $10,000
- Trafficking in firearms or explosives
- Crime of violence with a sentence of at least 1 year
- Theft, receipt of stolen property or burglary with a sentence of at least 1 year
- Crimes involving ransom
- Rape or sexual abuse of a minor
- Child pornography
- Gambling where a sentence of at least 1 year may be imposed
- Racketeering where a sentence of at least 1 year may be imposed
- Engaging in the business of prostitution or slavery
- Fraud or deceit worth over $10,000 or tax evasion worth over $10,000
- Smuggling of undocumented people, except a first offense to assist your spouse, child or parent
- Illegal entry or reentry after a deportation based on an aggravated felony
- Document fraud with a sentence of at least 1 year
- Failure to appear to serve a sentence for a crime if the underlying offense is punishable by imprisonment for a term of 5 years or more
- Commercial bribery, counterfeiting, forgery or trafficking in vehicles with a sentence of at least 1 year
- Obstruction of justice, perjury or bribery of a witness with a sentence of at least 1 year
- Failure to appear in court under a court order for a felony charge for which a sentence of at least 2 years’ imprisonment may be imposed
- An attempt or conspiracy to commit any of the offenses described above.
- Drug Offenses
- Immigration can start a deportation case against you for any drug conviction unless the conviction is for simple possession for your own use of 30 grams or less of marijuana.
- Crimes of Moral Turpitude
- A conviction for a crime of “moral turpitude” committed within 5 years of admission into the U.S. if you could have received a sentence of one year or longer.
- Two crimes of moral turpitude at any time since your arrival
- Firearms Convictions
- Crimes of Domestic Violence – including violation of a protective order
Your Criminal Defense Attorney Needs to Know Your Status
Your criminal defense attorney cannot protect you if he or she does not know your true immigration status. Even if you are here as an undocumented immigrant right now, a conviction may destroy any chance you have of changing that status in the future. Your attorney cannot divulge that status to any authority because your attorney is bound by attorney-client confidentiality rules. Knowing your status, however, may change how your attorney approaches your case.
Contact a Nebraska Criminal Defense Attorney at Petersen Law Office
If you have been charged with a criminal offense in the State of Nebraska, consult with an experienced Omaha criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to ensure that your rights are protected. In Nebraska contact Petersen Criminal Defense Law 24 hours a day at 402-509-8070 to discuss your case.