Avoiding criminal convictions critical to maintaining immigration status

jail cellEarlier this month, Immigration and Customs Enforcement reported arresting 25 people with criminal convictions. All of them may be removed from the country, the agency said. This is commonly called “deportation.” Their convictions ranged from sexual assault to drunk driving, according to news reports.

Immigration and criminal law are two separate areas of practice. However, they often have an impact upon one another. Many criminal offenses automatically make a person removable. Some Nevada crimes that could lead to a person being deported include:

  • Any controlled substance offense in Chapter 453 of the Nevada Revised Statutes, including possession, sale and trafficking;
  • Sexual assault (NRS 200.366);
  • Sexual abuse of a child (NRS 200.508)
  • Felony assault (NRS 200.471)
  • Felony battery (NRS 200.481)
  • Grand larceny (NRS 205.220)
  • Burglary (NRS 205.060)
  • Pandering or sex trafficking (NRS 201.300)
  • Any type of felony fraud;
  • Murder;
  • Any crime involving “moral turpitude,” a broad term not defined in federal law but generally interpreted to be “inherently dishonest, base, vile, or depraved, and contrary to the accepted rules of morality and the duties owed between persons or to society in general.” This can include any number of offenses if the circumstances are judged to meet that description.

This is not an exhaustive list. There are also many federal offenses that can lead to a person being deported.

If you are convicted, you may afterward receive a Notice to Appear before an Immigration Court, or you may be detained. If you are in either situation, you should immediately seek the services of an immigration attorney.

However, if you are not a citizen and have been arrested in the Las Vegas area, it is important to know that you have the same right to a trial where prosecutors must prove every element of the crime beyond reasonable doubt. This right applies whether you are a legal permanent resident, a visa holder or you are in Clark County without legal status because your visa expired or you entered the United States without permission.

If you are not a citizen, it is absolutely critical to fight criminal charges to keep them from becoming a conviction. Pleading guilty could mean losing the life you’ve built here. A criminal defense attorney can help you avoid conviction by fighting the charge or negotiating deferred adjudication. Your lawyer may also be able to convince prosecutors to charge you with a lesser offense that will not make you removable.

If you are a noncitizen facing criminal charges, you may also be facing being sent back to your home country, where you may have few connections, if you are convicted. The best way to avoid that is to avoid conviction now with the help of a Las Vegas criminal defense attorney.

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