Consequences of Criminal Convictions on Immigration Status

If there are criminal issues in addition to immigration problems, the immigration lawyer can coordinate with criminal counsel to advise them of the immigration consequences of criminal charges or convictions. There are certain crimes that are considered so severe that they render an alien removable from the United States. There are times when an immigration lawyer’s input is critical to a criminal lawyer’s approach so that certain charges or convictions are negotiated or altered so that the alien will not be negatively impacted from an immigration standpoint.

How can The Shulman Law Group help you?

Our immigration lawyers at the Shulman Law Group routinely consult with criminal lawyers to advise them about the immigration consequences of certain pleas and convictions. We coordinate with our clients’ criminal attorneys to assess the best strategies so that there are no negative immigration consequences and so that deportation relief will be available.

In particular, there are two types of criminal interventions that have helped our immigration clients with criminal convictions. The first is called Pre-Trial Interventions (PTI).  PTI is essentially a rehabilitation statute which permits an individual, prior to pleading guilty or non-guilty, to be entered into a diversionary program so that, if they satisfactorily follow the terms of their probation period, their case will be dismissed. In the State of New Jersey, there are no negative consequences to PTI because the individual has not pled guilty and their case is considered dismissed once the probationary period has ended.

In cases where PTI was not granted, there are certain opportunities where it is possible to obtain Post-Conviction Relief (PCR).  This is when a person has pled guilty or has been found guilty of a crime and the criminal lawyer tries to re-open the case in order to modify or amend the conviction.

It is important to note that a person may not obtain PCR for the sole purpose of obtaining an immigration benefit.  Appropriate reasons include determining irregularities in the criminal case, issues related to having been wrongfully convicted, or that your constitutional rights were violated. The violation could have occurred at any phase of the criminal proceeding against you, including during the investigation, arrest, pre-trial, plea hearing, trial or sentencing.

Other grounds include that the court lacked the jurisdiction to sentence you, your sentence exceeded the legal limits, prosecutorial misconduct, juror misconduct, failure by your attorney to advise you of a significant conflict of interest, ineffective assistance by your attorney, including allegations that your attorney failed to properly investigate your case, or acted in an incompetent manner at your trial. Further examples of ineffective assistance of counsel include when, in the course of entering a plea agreement, your attorney failed to advise you of the deportation consequences of a guilty plea.