If I Have A Criminal Conviction Can I Be Deported?
Immigrants living in the United States are subject to deportation if convicted
of a criminal offense, whether here legally or not. Under U.S. immigration
law, certain California crimes can trigger deportation from the United
States. It doesn't matter how long you have lived in the United States,
whether you have a child born in the United States, or your immigration
status. That is why it is critical for immigrants to seek a criminal defense
attorney, who is experienced and knowledgeable not only in criminal law,
but in immigration law as well.
Questions? Concerns? We’re here to help. Contact us today.
What California Crimes Make An Immigrant Deportable?
Five classifications of California crimes which trigger deportation:
- Crimes of moral turpitude;
- Aggravated felonies;
- Drug crimes;
- Firearm offenses; and
- Domestic violence crimes.
Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude (CIMT)
Crimes involving moral turpitude refer to acts inherently evil or wrong.
Moral turpitude crimes generally include more serious, intentional crimes
as distinguished from less serious, technical crimes. The Board of Immigration
Appeals (BIA) often considers moral turpitude crimes as conduct contrary
to justice, honesty, or morality. The following is a list of some of the
California crimes of moral turpitude:
- Aiding & Abetting (if the underlying crime involves moral turpitude)
- Assault with a Deadly Weapon
- Attempted Murder
- Child Abuse / Neglect/ Endangerment
- Conspiracy to Commit a Moral Turpitude Crime
- Convicted Felon with a Gun
- Criminal Threats
- DUI with Aggravating Factors
- Vandalism (felony)
- Grand Theft Auto (felony)
- Hit and Run (felony)
- Indecent Exposure
- Manslaughter (voluntary or reckless)
- Murder/ Attempted Murder
- Transportation and/or Sale of Drugs
- Receiving Stolen Property
A noncitizen is subject to deportation after being admitted into the United
States, if he or she is convicted of:
- Two distinct crimes of moral turpitude; or
- One crime involving moral turpitude when he or she committed the crime
within five (5) years after U.S. entry if the possible sentence was one
year or more.
The second category of deportable crimes is the aggravated felony. Any
conviction of an aggravated felony can result in deportation from the
United States. Alien smuggling, child pornography, kidnapping, murder,
rape, drug trafficking, weapons trafficking, sexual abuse of a minor,
prostitution-related crimes, and fraud crimes involving stolen property
exceeding $10,000 are all considered aggravated felonies. Some are also
considered crimes involving moral turpitude. Certain California misdemeanors
are now considered aggravated felonies by U.S. Immigration Courts. Immigrants
convicted of an aggravated felony are immediately deportable, so it is
essential to avoid a conviction at all costs to protect the accused person’s
right to remain in the United States.
Drug crimes have some of the most severe immigration consequences. Almost
drug crimes come with deportation, ineligibility to obtain unlawful residency, loss
of asylum, and a bar to citizenship. These crimes may result in deportation:
- Possession for personal use of a controlled substance,
- Possession of Drugs for Sale,
- Drug sale / trafficking / transport, and
- Drug manufacturing.
Drug offenses are among the most common reasons for deportation and have
resulted in tens of thousands of deportations every year. However, now
that California has legalized simple possession of small amounts of marijuana
(less than 30 grams) in California via Prop 64, there may be fewer deportations
for common marijuana offenses.
Deportation will result for anyone convicted of most
firearms offenses. This includes illegally purchasing, possessing, using, carrying, exchanging,
or selling of firearms. Even attempting or conspiring to buying a firearm
is enough to warrant deportation. Assault with a firearm is one of the
most common deportable firearms offenses.
Domestic Violence Crimes
Any state or federal conviction for
domestic violence, violation of a protective order, stalking, child abuse, child neglect
or child abandonment are grounds for deportation.
Contact a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer
Due to recent changes to immigration policy, ICE (Immigration and Customs
Enforcement) can now open deportation proceedings not only against those
in the U.S. illegally, but also against legal immigrants convicted –
or even just
accused – of a serious crime. Now that the definition of “criminal”
has been broadened in the context of immigration, our firm has received
numerous inquiries from worried people with questions about ICE warrants
and their risk of deportation. We understand how stressful it can be to
be accused of a crime to begin with, and how much more weight rests on
the outcome of a case when a person’s immigration status is also
If you are not a United States citizen and you have been charged or arrested
for a criminal offense in Los Angeles, contact us immediately to discuss
your legal situation and learn what options are available to you. You
may be at risk of being deported, especially under the current presidency.
Our attorneys may make the difference between staying in this country
or being deported. Call
Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners to schedule a confidential in-office consultation with a Los Angeles criminal attorney.