How can Criminal Charges Impact my Immigration Status?
By Nathaniel Pitoniak on July 2nd, 2020 in
Houston Criminal Lawyer for Non-Citizens
Criminal cases can result in the deportation of non-citizens or denial of naturalization. If you have been working hard to achieve U.S. resident status, you know just how complex and difficult the process can be. The last thing you would want to do is place another stumbling block in the way of your citizenship. Unfortunately, committing either a misdemeanor offense or a felony offense in the United States can result in a downgrade of your legal status or even deportation.
In 1988 Congress drafted a list of crimes and other non-criminal acts that could potentially result in an immigrant being removed from the country. At that time, some of the aggravated criminal felonies that could result in deportation included such crimes as murder, drug crimes, or trafficking of firearms. If you find yourself charged with a serious crime while you are in the midst of working on your immigration status, it is important that you speak to experienced Houston criminal defense attorney, Nathaniel Pitoniak.
Three decades after Congress drafted that original list of crimes and non-criminal acts that could result in deportation, there were more crimes added to the list, including consensual sex with a minor, contempt of court, theft, fraud, and battery, to name just a few. Criminal offenses that are considered to be crimes of “moral turpitude,” such as tax evasion, fraud, perjury, concealed weapons charges, child abuse, and tax evasion may not only result in deportation, they could conceivably keep the individual from ever reentering the United States.
Protect Your Immigration Status
Following charges of a criminal offense, attorney Nathaniel Pitoniak can help you determine your best course of action. If there is any way you can remain in the U.S. and continue your immigration path, Houston criminal defense lawyer Nathaniel Pitoniak can help you achieve the best outcome. As an example, a person who is working on permanent resident status could face detention for the criminal offense while removal proceedings are ongoing, deportation, and may be forever barred from seeking re-entry into the United States.
Those who ignore this dictate and attempt to re-enter the U.S. could face a 20-year sentence. On the flip side, an individual who has been granted asylum can only be deported if their crime is deemed to be particularly egregious, or some type of aggravated offense. That being said, if the person is allowed to remain in the United States, he or she may be forever prohibited from obtaining permanent residence in the U.S. Whatever your current immigration status, and whatever criminal offense you have been charged with, give Nathaniel Pitoniak a call.
How Do Immigration Officials Become Involved in Your Houston Criminal Case?
The manner in which immigration authorities become involved in a criminal case is typically very case-specific. ICE can often track people down simply by showing up a criminal hearing when a conviction is taking place. At that point, the person could be detained and deported. More often, immigration officials become aware of criminal offenses when a person is accused of a crime that jeopardizes their immigration status. ICE makes rounds, checking prisons and jails every 48 hours for new admissions, then checking immigration status to determine whether the charged crime violates that immigration status.
Can Immigration Consequences Be Harsher Than You Anticipated?
Unfortunately, a criminal offense such as a seemingly minor drug offense can have very harsh immigration consequences. Other Texas criminal offenses that involve firearm possession, fraud, or a number of other criminal acts fall under the aggravated felony provisions of the INA, making them have the same consequences as any other aggravated felony, such as rape or serious assault.
There have been many instances in which an individual believes his or her criminal charges are mild enough they will not affect immigration status. The individual fails to speak to a Houston criminal defense lawyer with knowledge of immigration consequences, ending up being deported. This is a scenario that does not have to happen! Nathaniel Pitoniak can help you through this difficult time, determining the best way to proceed to protect your immigration status.
Contact Nathaniel Pitoniak if you are Facing Criminal Charges and are not a Citizen
You should contact a criminal defense lawyer with knowledge of immigration consequences in order to protect your immigration status. Nathaniel Pitoniak has represented many non-citizens and protected their immigration status, working in conjunction with immigration lawyers.