If you’re a legal noncitizen or undocumented resident of Nevada facing criminal charges, you may be concerned about the impact this will have on your immigration status. Even if the charges are eventually dismissed, they may still cause damage to your immigration status. If they result in deportation, you face separation from your family and friends and leaving behind everything you’ve built in this country, which could be incredibly traumatic.
While not all criminal charges will result in deportation, you must be mindful of the potential outcomes and take steps to protect yourself. Read below as our team at De Castroverde Criminal & Immigration Lawyers in Las Vegas, Nevada, looks at the potential consequences of criminal charges for noncitizens and undocumented residents. We’ll also discuss what constitutes deportation and what steps you can take to protect your rights and ensure the best possible outcome for your case, including how to find a qualified immigration attorney to assist you in navigating the complex legal system.
What Effect Could Criminal Charges Have on Your Immigration Status?
If you’re a noncitizen, whether you’re in the United States legally or illegally, and commit a crime during the immigration process, you jeopardize your immigration status, regardless of the type of crime. Criminal convictions can affect your immigration status primarily in two ways: inadmissibility and deportability. Both scenarios can have severe repercussions.
What Is Inadmissibility?
Inadmissible individuals can’t legally enter or remain in the U.S. There are many grounds for inadmissibility, but criminal activity, including a criminal conviction, is in the top three. If you’re inadmissible, you’ll face several consequences, including the following:
- Being denied a green card while residing within the U.S.
- Being unable to change your immigration status while in the country.
- Being denied re-entry into the U.S. from a foreign country.
- Being denied the opportunity to go through the naturalization process to become a U.S. citizen.
Did you know? Under Nevada law, sealing a record doesn’t make a conviction disappear for immigration law.
What Is Deportability?
Deportability, also known as removability, refers to being removed from the country after admission and applies in the following circumstances:
- You were lawfully admitted at some point but subsequently fell out of legal status.
- You’re in the U.S. legally but are rendered deportable or removable because of a criminal conviction or another reason.
Did you know? In most cases, as a noncitizen, you won’t be deported until you’ve served the minimum required sentence for the offense or offenses you’ve committed.
What Happens If You Enter the Country Legally and Later Commit a Crime?
You’ll likely face deportation if you have a green card or visa and commit a crime within the first five years of residing in the U.S.
What Happens If You’re an Undocumented Resident?
If you’re an undocumented resident, even being arrested can jeopardize your immigration status. A state criminal arrest may draw the attention of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or Customs and Border Protection. An ICE hold or an immigration detainer may be placed on you, depending on the charges.
Did you know? If you’re a noncitizen, you may be unable to become a U.S. citizen for up to five years if you’re convicted of two or more crimes that carry a maximum five-year prison sentence.
What Types of Criminal Charges Warrant Deportation?
If you’re a noncitizen and found guilty of certain types of crimes in either federal or state court, you’ll be subject to deportation under the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act, a federal law passed in 1996. Some deportable crimes include a conviction of any of the following:
- Aggravated felonies, including murder, excessive violence, and sexual, fraud, and theft offenses.
- Crimes involving moral turpitude.
- State and federal drugs and controlled substance offenses.
- Crimes of domestic violence, stalking, violation of protection orders, and crimes against children.
- Offenses involving human trafficking.
- Failure to register as a sex offender.
- Certain firearms offenses.
- Marriage fraud.
- Fleeing from an immigration checkpoint or a point of entry.
Did you know? Crimes involving moral turpitude have no statutory definition, but according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services generally refer to “conduct that shocks the public conscience as being inherently base, vile, or depraved, contrary to the rules of morality and the duties owed between man and man, either one’s fellow man or society in general.”
Do You Need to Hire an Immigration Defense Attorney?
Absolutely. If you’ve established a life in the U.S. and have ties to family, employment, and the community, facing criminal charges while having an uncertain immigration status can be particularly difficult. It can be stressful and overwhelming to navigate the legal system and face possible deportation.
The success of your case depends on your representation. A skilled and knowledgeable immigration defense lawyer with experience navigating the complex intersection of criminal and immigration law is necessary for the complexity of immigration law alone. While creating a solid defense for you and working to keep you in the country, a lawyer will assist you in understanding your rights and options.
Did you know? Your criminal conviction can impact your family’s immigration status if they depend on your immigration status for theirs.
Let De Castroverde’s Immigration Team Defend Your Rights
The team at De Castroverde Criminal & Immigration Lawyers is highly knowledgeable in many facets of immigration law. We recognize that dealing with these issues can be difficult, demanding, and draining. So we’ll be by your side at every stage, from defending you at your criminal arraignment and advocating for you at your deportation hearing to appealing removal orders.
Since 2005, we’ve represented residents of Las Vegas, Reno, and the surrounding areas with immigration law needs, from adjusting immigration status to applying for a visa. Contact us today at 702-620-9897 or fill out our online contact form. Our bilingual staff is here to help you. Hablamos Español.
If you have questions about the immigration process in Nevada, be sure also to check out our Immigration Law FAQ page.