Articles Posted in Immigration

Many of our clients are students who have traveled internationally to study in the United States. Unfortunately, while they are here they often find themselves in legal trouble. A criminal offense can be stressful and a hassle by itself, but when there are immigration issues, it can have additional unforeseen consequences. An international student is often here on a visa, and there may be complications to that visa when they are convicted of a DUI or other criminal charge.

Obtaining the best possible legal representation can help avoid immigration issues. It can help reduce or dismiss the charges against you so that your immigration status remains untouched. In order to better understand how a Los Angeles Criminal Offense lawyer can be useful, let’s consider an example.

Dimitri is an international student studying at a university in California. After finals, he and his friends go out to celebrate. Dimitri has quite a few drinks and is walking down the street with his friends trying to find a cab. Dimitri is stopped by officers and cited for a misdemeanor drunk and disorderly conduct. Dimitri is studying in the United States with a visa, and is not a United States Citizen. If he is convicted of a misdemeanor charge, it can remain on his record and affect his visa status, possible requiring him to return to his home country.

The practice of law includes many  different areas and fields. Many people believe that because a lawyer has gone through law school, that they are well versed in all areas of the law. This could not be further from the truth. Like many other fields of work, law is something that an attorney gets better at with experience.

Experience goes a long way to help the attorney fine tune his practice, but also develop a reputation within the field he practices. For example, a Los Angeles Criminal Defense attorney is going to be in criminal courts for a majority of the week. The attorney is going to be familiar with the Judges, the Prosecutors and the police officers that he or she comes into contact with quite frequently. An attorney who practices criminal law will attend criminal law education seminars,  networking events and will be a part of the criminal defense section of the local bar.

A criminal attorney will come across the same code sections in many of their cases, as well as defenses and strategies that work. In short, if you are facing criminal charges, you are in the best position possible if you retain the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney. It does not make sense to hire a estate planning attorney to handle your criminal case. The estate planning attorney will not be familiar with the courts, the procedures or the people involved, just like a criminal defense attorney will not be readily familiar with the practice of estate planning.

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.

Many of our clients who are detained on criminal allegations also have Immigration proceedings started at the time of their arrest. There are many questions regarding the differences between Criminal court and Immigration court.

Your criminal case is a separate entity from your immigration case. It involves two separate courthouses and two separate Judges. When you are detained on a Criminal case it is in regards to your criminal case only. Any time served in jail will go towards your criminal sentence only.

If you do not have citizenship status in the United States then an Immigration hold will be put on you once you are arrested on accused criminal charges. After you have been released from custody , if you are in custody, and have appeared before a criminal Judge and completed your criminal case, you will be transferred over to an Immigration detention center.

Many of my clients make the mistake in assuming that a Criminal Judge can make decisions regarding your Immigration status and vice versa. This however is not the case, as they are two very separate judicial entities.

The Immigration court is a federal court and uses federal rules and law. An Immigration judge does not have the discretion or jurisdiction to make decisions regarding your criminal case. The Judge will look at what the ruling or final judgment was on your criminal case and makes a decision based on that. He or she will not consider the merits, that is the facts, of your criminal case and decide whether you were wrongfully charged or convicted. The underlying facts are not important to the Immigration Judge, and he does not have the discretion to consider them in making a decision regarding your Immigration status.

The Criminal Court is a state court and uses state law. A Criminal judge will advise you that a criminal conviction can affect your immigration status but he has no authority to decide on any immigration matter. He or she will consider the merits of your criminal case and make a ruling. Immigration status will be decided by the immigration judge based on that ruling.

A criminal charge may have very serious consequences on your immigration status, if you are not a natural born citizen. In many situations your Legal Permanent Status may be revoked, and as a much more serious consequence, you may be deported.

The Immigration and Naturalization Act outlines certain categories of offenses that may warrant deportation. Certain crimes pertaining to crimes of moral turpitude may be grounds for deportation. Crimes of moral turpitude are those that would offend the average person. An attorney who has handled thousands of cases involving immigration issues is familiar with the consequences and understand the importance of your Immigration status. The California criminal law as it relates to Immigration law is complicated and subjective, thus leaving room for a powerfule argument and defense which allows for a persons immigration status to remain unchanged.

Additionally, certain offenses, such as drug offenses, domestic violence or aggravated assault may also be ground for revocation of immigration status. More often than not a felony will have much more serious consequences than a misdemeanor on your immigration status.