How can criminal charges affect my immigration status?
If you’re charged with a crime and you are not a United States citizen being charged with a crime and especially the disposition will affect your immigration status in a major, major way. If you are charged and/or convicted of certain crimes known as aggravated felonies under immigration law definitions, you can be deported from the United States. The immigration judges are very, very strict, especially believe it or not under the Obama administration. There have been more deportations under the Obama administration than the Bush administration.
Now, let’s talk about the reality. Many people enter pleas of no contest or guilty in state court in Florida for example and get what’s called withhold of adjudication of guilt. A lawyer who’s not familiar with immigration law will tell you no problem. You’re not convicted. The problem is you are convicted in the eyes of the federal authorities so a withhold of adjudication does not protect you.
If you are a non-US citizen, an alien, charged with a crime it is essential that you have a criminal defense lawyer who is knowledgeable and experienced and understands the immigration consequences of criminal cases.