Criminal Charges and Immigration
A criminal conviction can have a devastating impact on the legal status of legal immigrants or people seeking legal citizen status. Pleading guilty to or being convicted of certain offenses may result in deportation.
Immigration law is extremely complicated, and matters can become even more confusing when this area intersects with criminal law. If you or your loved one has been charged with any sort of crime and you are concerned about the effect that your case might have on your immigration status, you will want to immediately seek legal representation.
Las Vegas Criminal Charges and Immigration Lawyer
Michael Pariente helps immigrants all over Nevada who have been accused of criminal activity. As a former prosecutor as well as federal public defender for U.S. District Courts in Texas, he has a wealth of experience in handling all types of criminal cases.
Pariente Law Firm, P.C. represents clients all over Clark County, including Nellis Air Force Base, North Las Vegas, Paradise, Enterprise, Spring Valley, and Mesquite. We can review your case and help you understand all of your legal options when you call (702) 966-5310 to schedule a free, confidential consultation.
Clark County Criminal Charges and Immigration Overview
- What are the different immigration statuses?
- Which criminal charges can lead to deportation?
- What is a crime involving moral turpitude?
- Do I have any options if my attorney failed to warn me about the deportation risks of a guilty plea?
These are the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) definitions for the following immigration terms:
- Alien — Any person who is not a citizen or national of the United States.
- Lawful Permanent Resident — Also known as “Permanent Resident Alien,” “Resident Alien Permit Holder,” and “Green Card Holder,” this is any person not a citizen of the United States who is residing the in the U.S. under legally recognized and lawfully recorded permanent residence as an immigrant.
- Nonimmigrant — An alien who is admitted to the United States for a specific temporary period of time with clear conditions on his or her stay.
Title 8 U.S. Code § 1227 further notes that there are several classes of deportable aliens, but it is important to understand which type of removable immigrant you would be considered as there are different removal proceedings for different statuses. Deportability applies to removal proceedings for immigrants who have been legally admitted into the U.S., and the term refers to the power of USCIS to expel an alien from the United States. Inadmissibility applies to persons who have not been legally admitted into the U.S., and the term refers to the power USCIS to refrain anyone from entering the United States.
Some of the general criminal categories that may result in deportation include:
- Aggravated Felonies — Under Immigration and Nationality Act § 101(a)(43), the definition of an aggravated felony includes, but is not limited to murder, rape, sexual abuse of a minor, drug trafficking, illicit trafficking in firearms or destructive devices or in explosive materials, theft offenses or burglary offenses for which the term of imprisonment is at least one year, child pornography, prostitution offenses, fraud, bribery, forgery, obstruction of justice, perjury, and conspiracy to commit any aggravated felony offense.
- Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude — Also known as a CIMT, a crime involving moral turpitude is an offense in which the United States Department of State says one or more of the elements of that offense are determined to involve moral turpitude. According to the State Department, the most common elements involving moral turpitude are fraud, larceny, and intent to harm persons or things.
- Domestic Violence — This may include child abuse, child endangerment, child neglect, domestic assault, domestic battery, domestic battery with strangulation, elder abuse, sexual assault or battery, and stalking.
- Drug Crimes — With the exception of possessing 30 grams or less of marijuana, deportable drug offenses can include virtually any criminal charge relating to the possession, use, transport, trafficking, or possession with intent to sell a controlled substance. Drug charges are some of the most common reasons for deportation, especially the more broadly applied offense of drug trafficking.
- Gun and Weapons Charges — Certain enhanced firearms offenses such as illegal trafficking, discharging a weapon into a building, or concealed carry without a license may be grounds for deportation.
- Violent Crimes — Crimes involving the use or threatened use of physical force upon another, such as assault and battery, robbery, or manslaughter can also lead to deportation.
The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) does not specifically define what constitutes a CIMT, but some of the offenses that can generally be classified as CIMTs in Nevada include:
- Accessory before or after the fact, if underlying crime is a CIMT
- Carrying a concealed weapon with intent to use
- Lewdness with a minor under 14
- Statutory Sexual Seduction
As a result of the United States Supreme Court’s March 2010 decision in Padilla v. Commonwealth of Kentucky, criminal defense attorneys are required to advise non-citizen clients about any deportation risks of a guilty plea. This landmark ruling has allowed several immigrants who were convicted of certain offenses without understanding the deportation risks to file appeals, petition for habeas corpus, or submit motions to withdraw their pleas.
In order for convicted immigrants to utilize one of these three legal avenues, their cases need to satisfy these three terms:
- Conviction was finalized after March 31, 2010 — The Court’s ruling in Padilla v. Commonwealth of Kentucky only applies to cases that were decided after Hector Padilla’s case was decided
- Convicted immigrant received ineffective assistance of counsel — This means that the immigrant’s lawyer failed to advise his or her client of the deportation risks of a guilty plea
- Defendant prejudiced by counsel’s ineffectiveness — This is the argument that if not for the insufficient advice of counsel, the immigrant would have elected to exercise his or her right to a trial instead of pleading guilty
Find the Best Criminal Charges and Immigration Lawyer in Las Vegas
Do not let your fear and uncertainty about your immigration status prevent you from seeking skilled and knowledgeable legal representation. Pariente Law Firm, P.C. fights to defend the rights of aliens, lawful permanent residents, and nonimmigrants all over the city of Las Vegas and such surrounding areas as Sunrise Manor, Boulder City, Henderson, and Laughlin.
Michael Pariente has a firm understanding of your rights in matters of criminal law and immigration law, and he will pursue the most favorable outcome to your case that helps you avoid deportation. Call our firm today at (702) 966-5310 to have him review your case during a free consultation.