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.
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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:
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 all California 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 in jeopardy.
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.
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