The Consequences of Criminal Charges for Immigrants

Immigrants need to be aware of the consequences of their criminal actions because those repercussions could be quite drastic.

Over the last decade or so, there has been a significant increase in the severity of immigration paybacks if an immigrant has been convicted of a criminal offense. The problem is, it’s not just the fact that the immigrant may have been convicted, the consequences may happen anyway even if they were NOT arrested or convicted, but perhaps charged for criminal conduct.

Due to the severe nature of the immigration fallout on the other side of this equation, criminal defense attorneys need to not just reduce time in custody, but work to avoid deportation when any sentence is completed. Although attorneys in California are required to tell their immigration clients about the real aftermath of certain defense strategies, this often doesn’t happen. This of course winds up putting the immigrant behind the proverbial eight ball.

The interesting question is why immigrants don’t get a deportation defense along with their criminal defense. This most often relates to the attorney not considering that type of work to be included in criminal defense proceedings. On the other side of the coin, there are zealous criminal defense lawyers who have a special skill in attempting to mitigate possible deportation and also reducing time in custody.

If you happen to have a record of criminal conduct, make sure you are aware of the precise immigration spin-off of that record before filing an application with USCIC or traveling. By traveling or applying to USCIC, you will bring your record to the attention of the government and this could result in a rather drastic outcome.

There are a variety of areas affected by a history of criminal conduct, including your inability to now be able to say you have “good moral character,” a requirement for obtaining permission to immigrate to the US. Criminal conduct will also prevent you from being approved for naturalization, and bar you from being able to qualify for certain relief forms from deportation in immigration court.

The above sanctions may not seem too great, and admittedly, are on the lesser end of the range of consequences for criminal conduct. Be aware however that things like being charged or even accused of an aggravated felony may result in quick expulsion.

If you think you can just come back into the US after expulsion (without authorization) for this type of felony, think again, as you may face up to 20-years in federal prison if prosecuted. Lately, state attorneys are paying more attention to dealing with and prosecuting cases of this nature.

In all instances, if you have a history of criminal conduct, consult with a highly skilled immigration lawyer to find out where you stand with regard to the immigration process. Better to know that now, than find out the hard way later.

Sally Odell – Rifkin & Fox-Isicoff, PA is an immigration lawyer in Miami with immigration law offices in Orlando and Miami Florida. To learn more about immigration lawyer in miami, immigration lawyer in orlando, immigration lawyer in florida, visit