The rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution to people accused of criminal offenses—for example, the rights to remain silent, have a jury trial, and have legal representation—apply equally to everyone within U.S. territory, regardless of whether they are citizens or not. However, if you are not a U.S. citizen, being convicted of a criminal offense could still have uniquely severe consequences compared to what might happen to someone with citizenship.
When it comes to cases that fall at the intersection of criminal and immigration law, there is no substitute for guidance from a seasoned defense attorney with experience handling similar cases successfully in the past. Whether you are a Legal Permanent Resident, awaiting an answer to an immigration petition, or do not have any lawful status in the United States, a Mesa criminal defense lawyer for noncitizens could be a vital ally throughout any criminal proceedings you face.
For individuals without lawful status in the U.S., virtually any criminal offense can theoretically be a deportable offense if it leads to state or federal law enforcement authorities discovering the defendant’s lack of status. However, several categories of criminal offenses could make someone with LPR status deportable upon conviction, even if it is their first criminal conviction in the U.S.
According to immigration law, any non-citizen of the United States convicted of any of the following crimes may be subject to deportation:
Notably, deportation based on a criminal conviction will often lead to the government categorizing the defendant as inadmissible, meaning they would have a more difficult time getting permission from USCIS to reenter the U.S. lawfully in the future. For this reason, among many others, contacting a defense attorney should be a top priority for anyone without status facing any criminal allegation in Mesa.
If someone has lawful status in the U.S. but is not a citizen, a first-time conviction for an offense not considered deportable will generally not have any direct negative effect on their immigration status. Importantly, though, having any criminal record while living in the U.S. as a Legal Permanent Resident can substantially impact any plans to pursue naturalized citizenship.
One of the prerequisite conditions required by the government before granting naturalized U.S. citizenship is a demonstration of good moral character for several years before applying. As a criminal defense lawyer in Mesa could affirm, this means even a misdemeanor or traffic offense could inhibit a noncitizen’s ability to gain citizenship even long after their criminal case concludes.
Fighting criminal charges effectively and proactively is never simple under any circumstances. However, if you are a non-citizen living in the U.S. when you are accused of a crime, your path toward a favorable case result may be exponentially more challenging than it would be for a citizen in the same situation.
Guidance from a seasoned Mesa criminal defense without status lawyer can be invaluable to any immigrant facing criminal accusations in Arizona. Call today for a consultation about this intersection of criminal and immigration law and your case.