Will a San Diego Criminal Case trigger an Immigration Hold on me?

When you have been arrested for a violation of the California Penal code, it is a good idea to consult with an Immigration attorney along with a Southern California Criminal lawyer. Some criminal cases will cause an immigration hold to be put on you if you are not in the United States legally, or have status that has expired or needs to be renewed.
If you are arrested for a criminal offense, and are not in the United States legally, you will be taken into custody by the Immigration Court after completion of your criminal case. The Immigration court will determine whether you qualify to stay in the United States or you will be deported due to the criminal conviction.

Certain kinds of offenses are grounds for immediate deportation. However, many criminal convictions are not and will not be grounds for immediate deportation, but instead, you will have the opportunity to be heard by the Judge.

Immigration Court is a completely different entity from the criminal court. The immigration Judge will not hear any of the facts, evidence or merits of your criminal case. They have no authority to reverse the criminal conviction or change the ruling a criminal judge has issued. In fact, they can only look at the final outcome of your case and do not have any authority to review the facts.

For example, let’s say that you have been wrongfully convicted. You were caught in a drug sale and had no knowledge or intent to be involved in the sale of drugs. However, the criminal Judge offers you a plea and you take it and plead guilty. That is a conviction that will go on your record, and a conviction the Immigration Judge must consider in hearing your immigration case. Despite the fact that you were not guilty, the Immigration Judge cannot hear your arguments.

Similarly, a Criminal Judge has no authority to hear any merits or facts about your immigration status. They can only hear and rule upon the evidence and facts they are presented regarding your criminal case. If you are not a United States Citizen, it is highly recommended that you consult not only a San Diego Criminal Defense attorney, but also an attorney who specializes in Immigration. We work closely with an Immigration attorney because it is a concern that comes up in many of our client’s cases and we want our clients to be adequately informed about not only the criminal charges they are facing, but also the potential immigration consequences.