How Will an Arrest or Conviction Affect Your Immigration Status?

If you are an immigrant and you have been arrested and charged with a crime, it is in your best interest to retain legal representation as early as possible, to defend you against the serious consequences you are encountering. While criminal charges can have serious effects in general, this is especially true for you as an immigrant, as you face the possibility of deportation.

Why Do You Need an Immigration Attorney for Your Criminal Case?

It is common for an immigrant to hire a criminal defense attorney (whose experience with immigration law is usually limited) and to be advised to enter a guilty plea in a bargain to avoid being sent to jail or prison. This can be a serious mistake, as it can make the immigrant inadmissible or even deportable. You must understand that a conviction for immigration purposes is not the same as a conviction for criminal purposes, and by choosing a lawyer who does not understand this distinction you could be led into making a wrong decision in your case.
Most criminal defense attorneys simply do not know the complexities of immigration law, and only an attorney who actually focuses his practice on criminal and immigration law can determine the consequences of a criminal conviction on your immigration case.

Driving Without a License and Your Immigration Status?

Depending on the circumstances of your situation, being pulled over and given a traffic ticket could carry severe consequences extending beyond the cost of paying the fine on the ticket. Under the Secure Communities program maintained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, local law enforcement agencies have access to federal records which may alert the police officer to the driver’s status as an unlawful alien. It is also possible that conviction for an offense such as driving without a license or reckless driving could lead to a detainer being placed on you, possibly leading to removal proceedings.